The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay: An American Family in Iran
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The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay: An American Family in Iran

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  386 ratings  ·  84 reviews
With U.S.–Iran relations at a thirty-year low, Iranian-American writer Hooman Majd dared to take his young family on a year-long sojourn in Tehran. The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay traces their domestic adventures and closely tracks the political drama of a terrible year for Iran's government.

It was an annus horribilis for Iran's Supreme Leader. The Green...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2013)
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Joseph
The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay: An American Family in Iran by Hooman Majd is the author's return to live in Iran for a year with his American wife and child. He was born in Iran and educated in England and the United States and currently resides in New York, as an American citizen. He is the grandson of an ayatollah and the son of an Iranian diplomat. Majd has served as a translator for President Mohammad Khatamiand and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejadt on their trips to the Unite...more
Amy
Nice scenes of buying bread in their neighborhood, and strangers fussing over their eight-month-old son. "The big sulk" is a political strategy both in families and at the top levels of government. Chilling descriptions of Basij gathering before a protest and of an acquaintance's time in prison.

But this book was still more about politics than about daily life. I wanted to read more about daily life. I wish he and his wife had written alternating chapters about their year in Tehran. She was a new...more
Jim
There seems to be a change in relations between the United States and Iran on the horizon, and nothing could be more welcomed. Despite the fractious nature of the relationship, the two peoples are really natural friends. I have always believed a more open and peaceful future awaits, especially because Iranians, especially women, are well educated and often very in-tune with Western ways. Will a new day come to pass? Who knows, but it would be a nice change. In the meantime we must rely on writer...more
Jon Letman
This is Hooman Majd's third book on Iran and his most personal. If you've read his first two books, you will thoroughly enjoy this one. Majd's tale of his own family's life in Iran during a period of rising tensions is filled with keen insights, surprising encounters and no shortage of humor in a way only Majd could convey. If Majd's first book (The Ayatollah Begs to Differ) hooked you, and his second book (The Ayatollahs' Democracy) challenged you, this one is the reward. And if you've never be...more
Janet Biehl
I was privileged to copy edit this manuscript. Majd, a fine storyteller, shares his impressions of Iran with his fellow Americans in an illuminating way.
S
I read Mr. Majd last book "The Ayatollah Begs to differ; the modern paradox of Iran" and found his insight as an Iranian born but Western raised and educated man as both humorous and insightful so when I heard him being interviewed on NPR about his most recent book; "The Ministry of Guidance Invites you to Not Stay; An American Family in Iran", I knew I had to read this book. Since his last book, Mr. Majd has gotten married to an American woman and with his infant son in tow, he and his wife mov...more
Tuck
Feb 26, 2014 Tuck rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: ill
fun and fast read of majd returning to iran, he a 50 year old new dad, with blond wife and baby live a year recently in tehran. i wish they would have traveled and more, but they do a few road trips to esfahan, yzad (his family/clan home base) and caspian and to ski slopes. most takes place in tehran. a good blend of history, politics, family life, city life, geopolitics, and what it is like to live in the greatest country around still under oppressive dictatorship and goons running things. i wi...more
Emily
This bummed me out, which can be blamed on my high expectations - though I'm not even sure what I was expecting. Oy!

I think my disappointment is around Majd's writing style and the editing process. Majd is a jack-of-all-trades but definitely a journalist and in that way his writing was dry; his approach was, too, which I think was intentional so as to make this a more scientific approach to living in Iran. But it's almost memoir, and I would've preferred a more emotional recounting of events.

I...more
Bridget
Author Hooman Majd took his American wife and toddler son to live in Iran for a year. Even though I've never been to Iran, so much of this book resonated with me, particularly re: the year my husband and I spent in Syria. Many of his family's experiences in Iran are exactly what we went through in Syria - crappy internet at home, paying a year's rent up front, assuming you're being spied on at all times, having your small children ambushed by adoring strangers, etc. Majd (the author, not my daug...more
Sally
Majd, having married and had a child, decides to take his family to his own birthplace, to live there for a year and see what life is like. In reading this account of everyday life in Iran, I was reminded of the graphic novel "Persepolis", about a young woman living in Iran during the Islamic revolution. My awareness of Iran is not very deep, and has been shaped by short news items on TV or in magazines, so it was fascinating to read a firsthand account of the current situation.

Ahmadinejad is p...more
Kristi
This book details the year the author, born in Iran and now a US citizen, and his family spent in Tehran - but "details" is a broad term. In this case, he details a lot of the Persian mind set that seems to have put them in a difficult place between world power, world threat or third world struggling country. Some of this is insightful, a lot of it is fairly dry and academic. The scenes of every day life and insights into the Persians as people are more promising but less detailed or addressed....more
Jessica Leight
This volume has some interesting tidbits, but is overall rather thin in content. The funniest part of the book - particularly considered in conjunction with his previous work - his how relentlessly Majd name-drops his connection with the Khatami family. They pop up in almost every chapter. Still, there are some interesting vignettes of everyday life for middle-class Iranians in Tehran.
pianogal
I really enjoyed this book. Being an American, I just had a picture in my head that everyone in Iran hates America and spends all day running around burning flags and building nukes to blow us up.

Guess what? That's not true. While I'm sure there are some Iranians who do feel that way, most are more accepting - some even to the point of buying knock-off American goods.

It still wasn't the clearest picture because the author has some pretty high connections in the government and a lot of his frien...more
Sonja Bedford
I really appreciate an inside look at Iran's society. Previously read "The Ayatollah Begs to Differ" by Hooman Majd and found it enlightening. He presents very complex cultural and political systems, often at odds with each other. It doesn't matter that I don't know all the players he describes in those systems; I am allowed inside Iran with Majd's family and see through his eyes and hear through his ears what it is like to live in Iran today, at least in part during his one year stay 2011. The...more
Judy Gehman
I found this book very interesting. An insider's glimpse of what it is like to live in Iran in 2011, a very bad year for the Iranian government. The author was born in Tehran, but was brought up in England, Tokyo, the US. His father was a diplomat. But it is surprising, having left Iran as an infant, how much he identifies with Iran. He takes his wife and infant son to Tehran for a year. A journalist, he is not allowed to write while he is there. But this book is an outpouring of love he has for...more
Heather
I’m always interested in learning more about Iran because I have an uncle who is from there, in fact he came to the US in the late ’70′s for college and ended up staying here, building a career, becoming a citizen, marrying my aunt, etc. However, if I’m being honest, books that are solidly in the history section of nonfiction are sometimes intimidating and oftentimes can bore me. So a book like this, a memoir of a family’s time spent in Iran, with snippets of history peppered throughout, is a pe...more
Alicia Maul
I'll admit it, I chose to read this book after seeing Hooman Majd's promotion of it on The Daily Show. I found the book to be enthralling, a picture into a world that most Americans will never have the privilege of visiting. Expats and people who have traveled abroad will relate to many of the author's struggles related to settling in to a new country as home, yet for only a time. I'm glad Majd has given us all a picture into Iran as both a national and an expat. I'd recommend this book to anyon...more
Leanna
I did get a sense of living in the country of Iran and it had some interesting moments, but I thought it could have been so much more. It was too much about politics and not enough about everyday life for me. I almost felt like several of the chapters could have been written by someone who had been there temporarily without an extended stay in the country. The other thing I noticed - and I have a tendency to do it too- is to start a sentence, then introduce some sub-text and then go back to fini...more
Trena
What a disappointment. I absolutely loved Azadeh Moaveni's Honeymoon in Tehran, recounting a thoroughly Americanized Persian woman's sojourn in Iran as a journalist, wife, and mother. She provided rich context for how Iranians live under, with, and despite the regime in writing about daily life proving the old adage that all politics is local. I was hoping for the same from this book, and particularly to hear how things changed after the protests if they did at all.

Subtle political and cultural...more
Sonia
El periodista Homman Majd(iraní criado en Gran Bretaña y EEUU), y su esposa americana deciden pasar junto a su bebé de 8 meses, un año en Teheran (ciudad donde nació pero en la que no ha vivido desde que tenía la misma edad de su hijo). Su perspectiva occidental pero con fuertes raíces iraníes le da un tono peculiar a su recuento del día a dia de la población de Teherán. Contactos con los antiguos líderes de la revolución (algunos son familia) y la oposición política actual se mezclan con paseos...more
Peter Goodman


“The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay: an American Family in Iran,” by Hooman Majd (Doubleday, 2013). Majd is the scion of a powerful Iranian family, which includes former prime ministers, high-level ayatollahs, etc. His father was a diplomat, and he himself was only in the country as an infant. Nevertheless, he has plenty of family and friends, and has visited many times. He remembers it as home, although he is also an American. He has an American wife, named Karri, from Wisconsin,...more
Sally
The 50-year-old son of an Iranian diplomat, raised abroad, lives for a year in Iran with his wife and infant despite the suspicions of the government about his intentions. The book gives an inside look at life in Iran, especially among the Westernized elites, secular and pious. I wish there had been more about the less wealthy citizens, but of course he moved in his own social circle. He shows the security state and its impact, but also compares it to the repression under the shah. Speaking of a...more
Sue
Curious. Yes, I think it was curiosity that compelled me to select and read this account of Hooman Majd's ( a NY journalist) personal account of his journey to experience his roots and share his native land of Iran with his American wife and 1 yr old son. You are probably concluding from the title that it maybe was not such a good idea. No spoilers. Suffice it to say I was expecting a more intimate discovery of the average Iranian but instead this was really one man's personal journey; something...more
Douglas Lord
How is one “invited not to stay”? I’m actually pretty familiar with the concept as I’ve been invited not to stay at a lot of parties, a few jobs, and at least one long-term relationship. But for Majd, the stakes were a little higher and the essential question became: How do you cope when you’re going to be thrown out of your own country? The author’s TV and print reporting skills help him to provide clearly and thoughtfully an insider’s perspective of how difficult it is to straddle both America...more
Resalo
I really liked this book. A fascinating tale of life in Tehran
written by a New Yorker who was born in Iran and left at the age
of 8 mos to live in America. As a child he visited Iran on several occasions
but never spent much time there. in 2011 he decided to take his American wife
and 8 mos son to experience lif in Iran;s capital. As a writer he knew that he
ha to be careful of who he saw, what he did and most certainly what he wrote.
His perceptions and insight into the Iranian people and lifestyle...more
Cheryl
I found the premise of this book - an Irani born now American journalist and author taking his American wife and year old son to live in Iran for a year - completely fascinating. This book tells the story of the family's time in Iran as well as discussing some of the history to explain how Iran came to the place where it is today. It was interesting to get a different perspective inside a country that has been portrayed very strongly by the media a certain way and gain a more rounded picture of...more
Eve
The author, an Iranian American, moves to Iran for one year with his American wife and new baby to get a sense of daily life in Iran. The book conveys some elements what life in Iran is life but ultimately fails to paint a full picture. Still, worth reading if you (like me) could not at all picture what life in contemporary Tehran is like and are curious. My biggest complaints are that the book seems written through the blinders of his perspective. For instance, Majd talks about what his wife ap...more
Sonja
Loved, loved, loved this depiction of life in Iran and Iranians. This book is an excellent complement to Majd's previous book 'The Ayatollah begs to differ' and I would recommend that if you are not familiar with Iranians and Iranian culture to start with that book before reading this one.
Theresa
It probably says more about me than it does about the book that I thought it got bogged down in politics - history and current - to a degree that made parts of it hard to stay with. However, I did enjoy the author's general style, and he has an interesting tale to tell.
Barry Dorgan
An interesting insight into life in a country we know very little about, it dispels a lot of the propaganda that we are fed by western media.
However I found some chapters a little repetitive and was rushing my way to the end. Still worth a read if interested I the Middle East.
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Born in Tehran but educated in the West, Hooman Majd is the author of The Ayatollah Begs to Differ (an Economist and Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2008) and The Ayatollahs' Democracy: An Iranian Challenge, as well as his most recent book, The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay. He lives in New York City.

Hooman Majd has also written for GQ, Newsweek, The New York Times, The New Yorker, T...more
More about Hooman Majd...
The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran The Ayatollahs' Democracy: An Iranian Challenge

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