• Small in size, but with a powerful punch, Idries Shah’s Reflections is a collection of fables, aphorisms, and statements that challenge the conditioned mind. The book confronts the reader with unaccustomed perspectives and ideas, in an attempt to set the mind free, to see how things really are. As the book’s foreword states, ‘Do you imagine that fables exist only to amuse or to instruct, and are based upon fiction? The best ones are delineations of what happens in real life, in the community and in the individual’s mental processes’.
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  • In Idries Shah’s Wisdom of the Idiots, the ‘idiots’ are Sufis, called this because their wisdom penetrates to a depth which renders it inaccessible to the merely intelligent or academically-knowledgeable. The exercise-stories of the Sufis are tools prepared for a specific purpose. On this level the movements of the characters in a story portray psychological processes, and the story becomes a working blueprint of those processes. Wisdom of the Idiots has been awarded many prizes, including two gold medals, one for being ‘Best Book’, in conjunction with UNESCO’s World Book Year.
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  • A serious, yet entertaining, look at the impediments in current thought which prevent certain forms of understanding between people. The title story was made into an award-winning film with script by Idries Shah, and chosen as an Outstanding Film of the Year. The Dermis Probe comprises a collection of extracts from the written and oral tradition of Eastern thinkers. In his preface, Shah notes, ‘In this book you can find illustrated some of the peculiarities of thought in the country which is today’s world, seen by its inhabitants and by those who call themselves visitors.’
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  • Thinkers of the East is a collection of anecdotes and ‘parables in action’ illustrating the eminently practical and lucid approach of Eastern Dervish teachers. Distilled from the teachings of more than one hundred sages in three continents, this material stresses the experimental rather than the theoretical – and it is that characteristic of Sufi study which provides its impact and vitality. The emphasis of Thinkers of the East contrasts sharply with the Western concept of the East as a place of theory without practice, or thought without action. The book’s author, Idries Shah, says ‘Without direct experience of such teaching, or at least a direct recording of it, I cannot see how Eastern thought can ever be understood’.
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  • Used for more than seven hundred years as a teaching story, The Book of the Book is one of the most compelling and astonishing texts ever to emerge from the Orient. Its central premise is the simple phrase: ‘When you realize the difference between the container and the content, you will have knowledge.’ When the book first appeared in English thirty-five years ago, its printers questioned how it could be a book, as did reviewers, scholars, and people who paid money to buy it. The Book of the Book is now in its seventh impression, and is studied at university level, appreciated by all for its simple brilliance.
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  • Many of Idries Shah’s books are comprised of tales and teaching stories taken from both written and oral sources, which illustrate the instructional methods employed by Eastern wise men for thousands of years. The Magic Monastery differs from its predecessors in that it contains not only traditional tales, mostly unpublished – but also stories specially written by Shah to complete the book as a ‘course in non-linear thinking’. As with all of his works, The Magic Monastery is rich in thought-provoking material, and can be read and enjoyed at many levels.
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  • 100 Conversations with Idries Shah Condensed from over three million words, these conversations involve housewives and cabinet ministers, professors and assembly-line workers, on the subject of how traditional psychology can illuminate current human, social and spiritual problems. More than a hundred tales and extracts from Sufi lore, ranging from the eighth century Hasan of Basra, to the modern Afghan poet Khalilullah Khalili, are woven into Shah’s narratives of how and why the Sufis learn, what they learn: and how spiritual understanding develops and deteriorates in all societies.
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  • A treasure house of teaching materials, assembled in the Sufi manner. Seeker after Truth contains both traditional tales and stories gleaned from contemporary sources, and snippets of table talk, discussions and teachings, letters and lectures by Idries Shah. Taken together, it constitutes a handbook of materials designed to provoke a different kind of thought.
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  • The Commanding Self, in Sufic terminology, is that mixture of the primitive and conditioned responses, common to everyone, which inhibits and distorts human progress and understanding. This book was described by Shah as the key to understanding his entire corpus of work. While complete in itself as an anthology of hitherto unpublished work, it serves to illustrate and amplify Idries Shah’s preceding books on the Sufi Way. In its introduction, he writes, ‘Thousands of books and monographs have been written on Sufism and the Sufis, almost all of them from the point of view of other ways of thinking. The result has been chaos in the literature, and confusion in the reader. Over the centuries, some of the world’s most eminent scholars have fallen into the trap of trying to examine, access or consider the Sufi phenomenon through a set of culture-bound preconceptions.’

    Release date: April 2019

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  • In his best-selling Darkest England, Idries Shah asserts that the English hail from a little-known place called ‘Hathaby’, but their roots go back much farther, perhaps to the distant Asian realm of Sakasina. Once a nomadic tribe of warriors, the English fled westward, bringing with them epic tales, traditions, and an Oriental way of thought. Shah charts the genius of the English in adopting and adapting ‘almost anything spiritual, moral or material’ for their own use – a faculty that has transformed them from warrior nomads into successful diplomats, businessmen, thinkers and scientists.

    Release date: June 2019

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  • The Natives Are Restless chronicles some of the amazing, amusing, and thought-provoking adventures of the Afghan traveller and writer, Idries Shah, among members of what he calls the ‘English tribe’. It is an enthralling sequel to his bestselling Darkest England, the narrative illustrating his practised eye as an anthropologist. Shah observes how the English see themselves, and contrasts it with how the rest of the world views this eccentric island race. He also speculates on the likely continuing effect of Englishness on the future development of global society, offering unsuspecting parallels between English attitudes and Oriental wisdom.

    Release date: August 2019

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  • Contemporary esoteric systems almost always play on the desire of mankind to seek or acquire knowledge. All but universally neglected in such systems are the – often unrecognized – barriers which prevent knowledge and understanding. Before learning can take place, certain conditions and basic factors must be in place; in the individual or the group. Building on the foundations laid in Learning How to Learn and The Commanding Self, Idries Shah in Knowing How to Know illuminates those factors. Like an ultra-violet light shone onto the petals of flowers, it reveals concealed patterns, normally invisible to our customary modes of thought.

    Release date: October 2019

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  • A ‘Veiled Gazelle’, as the great mystic Ibn Arabi explains in his Interpreter of Desires, is a subtlety, an organ of higher perception. Sufi experientialists refer to the activation of these centres of awareness as the awakening of real knowledge of Truth beyond form. A Veiled Gazelle considers the symbolic and instrumental employment of its literature in Sufi studies. Seldom didactic, and never meant only as entertainment, such works are regarded as some of the world’s greatest and most important writing.

    Release date: December 2019

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  • The Englishman’s Handbook is the third book in Idries Shah’s best-selling trilogy on why the English are as strange as they are. He examines the ‘baffling phenomena of the British and Britishness’, presenting a manual of handy tips on how to muddle through while visiting English shores. An illuminating and often hilarious read, the book is just as valuable to the British as it is to foreigners. It contains all sorts of extraordinary information on how to confuse foreigners with sheer Englishness, if any do manage to break through the barriers.

    Release date: April 2020

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