Thinkers of the East by Idries Shah

‘Perhaps the most explicit book on the nature and function of Sufi teaching’

Psychology Today

Available worldwide in all formats – including ebook and audio – on Amazon worldwide. In the USA go to, in the UK, in India You can also order Learning How to Learn in paperback and hardback from your local bookstore — and in the UK and USA we also recommend; and in Australia and New Zealand Booktopia. ISF also publishes an edition in Limited, Spanish, Dari and Farsi.

A collection of entertaining Sufi anecdotes and ‘parables in action’ from the Middle East and Central Asia illustrating the practical and lucid approach of Eastern dervish teachers.

Thinkers of the East is a collection of short but potent teaching-stories distilled from the guidance of more than one hundred sages in three continents. The recorded narratives ranging from dialogues, to fables, to conversations, to legends, stresses the experiential impact of Sufi knowledge in living situations.

As the book’s subtitle Studies in Experientialism suggests, these tales illustrate Sufi thinking in action, rather than in abstract theory. The stories were arranged partly with this in mind by the author to counteract the Western idea of the East as a place of convoluted spiritual and philosophical theory without tangible practice.

As Idries Shah writes, ‘Without direct experience of such teaching, or at least a direct recording of it, I cannot see how Eastern thought can ever be understood.’

Thinkers of the East is a book of enormous breadth and depth, the impact and vitality of which reflect the Sufi emphasis on the human illuminate’s action upon the world.

‘In its claims and statements about the role of contemporary Sufism it is more open than any of Shah's books.’

New York Times

‘[Will] appeal to the modern man who finds current materialistic outlooks and attitudes insufficient to his needs.’

The Times Literary Supplement

‘An intensely contemporary application of specialised knowledge.’

New Society

‘Even at cursory reading, a deep and subtle psychology is apparent.’

Evening News

‘Perhaps the most explicit book on the nature and function of Sufi teaching—and perhaps the most remedial.’

Professor Robert Ornstein, Psychology Today