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The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  1,009 Ratings  ·  275 Reviews
The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness is an altogether original true story about a storyteller who loses his voice and believes he's lost everything. An encounter with his old teacher shows him that, in fact, he's been given a great gift. Their meetings lead him on a journey into the timeless wisdom of ancient tales - a world of beggars and kings, monks and tigers, l ...more
Paperback, 228 pages
Published September 2nd 2005 by Algonquin Books (first published November 1st 2003)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jan Rice
This is a book that uses tales and parables in a memoir. More than that, the author used his tales in the service of living his life and creating the raw material for the memoir.

The idea is you need stories to live, and stories need reasons. Otherwise things are just happening to you pell mell--or maybe you're unmindfully living out prefab paradigms.

There's a theological concept here. God brings order out of darkness and chaos, so imitatio dei: build your story--which appears most needed whenev
...more
Moujan Taghavi
Sep 05, 2016 Moujan Taghavi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: are-the-best
داستان کتاب: داستان زندگی مردی است که پیشه اش قصه گویی ست، زمانی متوجه شد در قصه گویی مهارت دارد که توانست با آن مادرش را از غم رها کند و پدرش را چند لحظه ای از فکر بیماری اش بیرون آورد. یک روز متوجه میشود که سرطان تیروئید دارد و باید غده را بردارد، با برداشتن غده صدای او می رود و او ...

نظر من: به شدت خواندنش را پیشنهاد میکنم، من که کیفور شدم از خواندنش.

بخشی از متن کتاب:

آرام گفت: "رها کردن ... زندگی فقط یعنی همین. همه مون با مشت های گره کرده و محکم به دنیا می آییم . اما با دست های باز می میریم."
...more
Jodi
Oct 01, 2010 Jodi rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-group
This book turned out to be fascinating. Storyteller Joel ben Izzy tells his own story much of which is understanding that blessings can be curses and curses blessings. To say much more would be to spoil the story of how Joel learned what happiness is really all about. In between chapters he places different cultural stories designed to teach us something. I certainly learned something. I really hope I get to hear him in person because as a writer he was very entertaining. (
Mohy_p
Jan 04, 2017 Mohy_p rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: دارمشان
خدای من اینهمه داستان؟!؟! ؟ ^_^

تا حالا به قصه گویی به عنوان ی شغل نگا نکرده بودم
بعد ک یکم فک کردم دیدم چ کار باحالیه : )

ی حس قشنگی داشت خوندنش که باعث میشه پیشنهاد کنم بخونینش: ))

کلی نکته های قشنگی داشت که وسط خوندن یهو توقف میکردی یکم ریز
فک میکردی و بعد باز ادامه = )
کتاب خوبی بود برای شروع چلنج سال :)

...more
Lori
Feb 01, 2013 Lori rated it really liked it
This was a very quick book to read, and if you love storytelling you'll love it. Most chapters open with a fable or story from some part of the world that relates to the coming chapter. It's a memoir of sorts, telling the tale of a storyteller who lost his voice. What could be worse? (Well, lots of things actually, but it's pretty bad for him.)

He turns and returns to his storyteller mentor, who challenges him with hard-edged questions, pushing him in ways that seem too mysterious, and occasional
...more
نوار | لذت گوش دادن به کتاب
کتاب پادشاه گدا و راز شادمانی؛

"داستانِ این کتاب واقعیست:
شغل من این بود که به همه جای جهان سفر کنم و برای مردم قصه بگویم. بعد سرطان گرفتم و تارهای صوتی ام از بین رفت و دیگر نتوانستم حرف بزنم؛ آن هم درست در لحظه ای که خیال می کردم زندگیم از این بهتر نمی شود. پدرم همیشه می گفت:«مردم برنامه می ریزند و خدا می خندد» .
حالا باید از طریق قصه های خودم و قصه ی زندگی خودم، بفهمم چرا خدا به من خندید؟"

"بگذارید قصه ای قدیمی از شهر کهن بیت المقدس برایتان تعریف کنم..."، کتاب اینجوری شروع میشه و جوئل میگه که من
...more
Naomi Bayer
Oct 28, 2011 Naomi Bayer rated it really liked it
I was in the Enterprise San Francisco office on October 14th and stopped into the conference room where several of our folks were talking with two guys I did not know. Rich Gross who leads our team in SF, introduced me to Joel Ben Izzy, saying he was one of his heroes and how his son, now in college, grew up on the Beggar King and other stories. Soon, we were telling tales and making connections--totally engaged. Since I was off to Santa Cruz the next week to see my wonderful granddaughters, Sad ...more
Cleo
Dec 05, 2009 Cleo rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-love
I really liked this book - mostly because I LOVE story telling. I am a real fan of Timpanogos StoryTelling Festival - I am wondering if Joel ben Izzy has ever been here - or will be in the future.

This is an auto-biography BUT it is really just a collection of wonderful stories. Since he is a story teller he uses stories to indicate how they affect his attitude toward the experiences of his life. Really a lot of good quotes.

I highly recommend it - especially if you love stories.
Amy
Sep 05, 2012 Amy rated it liked it
Shelves: book-group-2012
I loved the author's story and I loved his use of stories to tell his own. I kind of want to memorize the folktales at the beginning of each chapter to use as parlor entertainment or to teach my kids life lessons. Professional storytellers have always been very fascinating to me.
Ramy
Aug 17, 2009 Ramy rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ramy by: Nadine (wife)
Very interesting story written by a Jewish storyteller (I didn't know this job existed) who lives in Berkley. A story by a storyteller about his own story but also full of folk stories. A painful part of his life....
H Gibson
Apr 04, 2015 H Gibson rated it liked it
I enjoyed the Beggar King; it reads like grown up Mitch Albom. There are a lot of good lessons to learn from the author's story and those he tells throughout the book. A little new age-y in a couple of places but nothing overly offensive.
Aprille
Apr 13, 2010 Aprille rated it really liked it
Joel ben Izzy explores the power and meaning of story. As a travelling storyteller who loses his voice, ben Izzy takes us along on his journey of discovery. A wonderful, quick read - interspersed with classic tales that have a direct relationship to his path.
Kita
Jan 28, 2013 Kita rated it liked it
The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness is the true story of Joel Ben Izzy, a storyteller who lost his voice. His stories are better than his writing, but I did enjoy the fables/tales peppered throughout the book and his thoughts on what storytelling means.
Correen
Jul 21, 2015 Correen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A beautiful story of courage and passion. I loved the use of Jewish humor to talk about his life. It has moments of despair without not cynicism. I found it touching.
Barbara Lovejoy
Feb 23, 2011 Barbara Lovejoy rated it it was amazing
A friend recommended this book. Loved it!--need to read again.
Thomas DeWolf
Dec 13, 2016 Thomas DeWolf rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
I can't recall who recommended this book to me. Whoever you are... thank you. I'm deeply grateful. I listened to this one over the course of a couple flights. I was mesmerized... such a lovely blending of memoir and classic fables; and what a voice. I finished listening and decided I'm going to get the hardbound book and read it again... to see the words I've listened to. It's that good.
Spike Anderson
Jan 09, 2017 Spike Anderson rated it liked it
The premise is very close to home. I like the original style of the book intersecting folk tales with his story. My one problem that I could not get past is that the author's Yoda is actually a drink fool, and I could not see his advice as worthwhile or his insights. However, it's not my story...
Marlys
Dec 22, 2016 Marlys rated it it was amazing
This is a great book! I enjoyed hearing Joel's journey when he lost his voice. He learned how important it is to listen to others. I liked the stories that he used to introduce each chapter. I would recommend this book to everyone.
Ira
Oct 17, 2016 Ira rated it liked it
Like Sundays with Morrie but with a younger Jewish guy who loses his voice. Short and sweet. The guy's wife is the real hero of the story, providing him with the means to live his professional life telling stories at bar mitzvahs and at senior citizen centers what appears to be a lovely family and middle class life style, medical insurance which saves him and sticking with him without complaint while he wallows a bit in understandable self-pity after undergoing some serious medical issues. Ben I ...more
Alex
Jan 05, 2017 Alex rated it liked it
I found myself more interested in the stories that were shared at the beginning of each chapter than anything else... Bummer.
Maryanne
The Beggar King 11092005 and the secret of Happiness by Joel ben Izzy

The Beggar King
Soloman(king with ring and Ashmodai(demon king) and worm that cuts stone. Takes ring off and is transported far away and lives the life of a beggar, cook and fisherman. Catches fish and inside is another fish and inside that is his ring with the secret name of god inscribed and he returns to his palace and Ashmodai asks him "have you learned something about illusion?" Gone was his arrogance etc. He told Ashmodai
...more
SpottedLeaf
Dec 07, 2016 SpottedLeaf rated it it was amazing
I LOVED IT THE STORYS THE BOOK ALL GREAT!!!
Marti
Jan 10, 2017 Marti rated it liked it
It was ok - meh
Sherry
Oct 18, 2016 Sherry rated it really liked it
Joel ben Izzy is a very creative writer and storyteller. I had taken a class with him, and immediately went out and bought this book. Learned lots of new tips.
Jill Furedy
Jul 18, 2012 Jill Furedy rated it really liked it
I didn't learn any secret to happiness from this book, but then again, I wasn't expecting to. I read a review of it in a Bookmarks magazine a few years ago and it has floated around on my to-read list since then (my collected clippings and post it notes list, as I don't want an endless to-read list here). I really liked the short stories that lead into each memior chapter, and would have liked to hear even more of those. They point you in the direction of the coming anecdote, but many aren't fu ...more
Kapila
Jul 24, 2013 Kapila rated it liked it
This is the story of a storyteller who loses his voice - literally and otherwise - and then finds it again, literally and otherwise. It's also the story of a man and his teacher, of a man as a person, partner, father, and of a man as a living being that's a part of his mother, his father, and history.

What is this book? What is this life? Not quite a biography - but somewhat. Not quite a storyteller's guide - but somewhat. Not quite an instruction manual - but somewhat. Little bits of wisdom, re
...more
Kevin Hanks
Jun 20, 2008 Kevin Hanks rated it really liked it
What a treat! Going into this book, I had no idea what it was about, who the author was, or anything else about it, so I had no idea what to expect. Now that I have read it though, I'm excited to find more books by Mr. Joel Ben Izzy.

He is a master storyteller (I didn't even know that you could BE a professional storyteller!) and I found myself rivited everytime his narrative broke out into a new story about some far off king, or a funny Jewish Rabbi. All his stories were highly symbolic and taug
...more
Denise Oyler
Feb 23, 2013 Denise Oyler rated it really liked it
I really liked this book because it made me consider the meaning of life and the purpose of trials. Why are we here and what can we learn from our experiences? He pauses the questions but allows you, as the reader, to consider the answers for your own life. I also enjoyed his analogies through the folktales.

My favorite parts:

(Paraphrasing) Life is the sum total of all we've lost, divided by what we learn from it. And you'll go on suffering until you've learned your lesson. The future has slippe
...more
Sandy
Apr 24, 2012 Sandy rated it it was amazing
You can’t begin to think you know a story just because you’ve heard it before. You can’t begin to think you’re done with a story, either. Stories live and move, seemingly of their own accord. They are the teachers who show up when you are ready to learn.

Stories honor life.

The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness by Joel ben Izzy is the story of a man who learns to honor life by entering the mystery of the stories he and others live and tell.
Ben Izzy is a storyteller whose life is turned upsi
...more
Richard Owen
Sep 11, 2014 Richard Owen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stunning book. I love the way the storyteller's story unfolds. I love the interplay of stories the teller tells with the story of the teller. I love the insight of the storyteller and the growing knowledge and awareness of life that emerges in the storyteller. What is the secret of happiness? Wrap yourself in the fabric of this true story and listen very carefully to sound of the voice, the shape of the words, and the comforting silence.

I don't know where I found the book or what brought it to
...more
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