Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay: An American Family in Iran” as Want to Read:
The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay: An American Family in Iran
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  625 ratings  ·  118 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
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2013)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar NafisiRooftops of Tehran by Mahbod SerajiNot Without My Daughter by Betty MahmoodyRubaiyat of Omar Khayyam by Omar KhayyámThe Epic of Gilgamesh by Anonymous
Iran and Iraq, Ancient and Modern
183rd out of 269 books — 99 voters
I Am Malala by Malala YousafzaiIs Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy KalingLean In by Sheryl SandbergThe Reason I Jump by Naoki HigashidaDrift by Rachel Maddow
Books Rec'd By The Daily Show
267th out of 343 books — 189 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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
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.

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
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
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.
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
Jul 08, 2014 C. rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: me
I'm Hooman Majd. Have I told you about all the swanky parties I attended with important diplomats? Some of them knew who I was. And my hot blonde yoga instructor wife. We live in Brooklyn. When I'm not hanging out with former President Khatami. You know, cause we're related. Have I mentioned I come from an important political family? Fancy cigars.

The Ayatollah begs to differ was so good because it was written by someone fascinated with Iran. This book is awful because it was written by someone f
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
An accurate account of Iran's social and political state in 2011.It's a post-travel log of Hooman Majd of a year hespent in Iran withhis American wife and their toddler.The book flows nicely in between descriptions of everyday life in Iran, and its political dynamics. Life in Iran is complex and Hooman Majd does a great job of illustrating that; he gives you snap shots of people from various classes and social status. Hishumorousremarks and smart observations make facing an otherwise dark and bi ...more
Chris Chester
Based on the dust jacket, what I was hoping to glean from this book was some sense of what it is like to live in Iran, mixed with some larger historic context for the current political climate in the country, colored by the words of Iranians themselves.

Instead, this was more of a droll travel diary of a man who can never really have any insightful or interesting conversations with anybody for fear that doing so will have repercussions for his family, which he brought with him.

And speaking of his
Vikas Datta
Possibly Mr Majd's best work (and the competition is pretty fierce) - a personal experience of the Islamic Republic and its manifold contradictions, both in the personal and political sphere... Some valuable insights about Iran and its future (and the Western intrasigence that is blighting the future of some brilliant young people)...
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
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
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
I had high hopes for this book, but thought it was pretty flat. Majd's book is a travelogue of sorts, documenting the year he went back to live in Iran with his American wife and baby boy. We hear so much in the news about the conflict between the U.S. and Iran over Iran's nuclear program and sanctions (particularly true today after Netanyahu's speech), but I know almost nothing about Iranian culture or the day-to-day life of regular people living in Iran. I hoped this book could fill in some ga ...more
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
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
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.
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
I loved reading this author's slice of life anecdotes and impressions of modern day Iran. As an American, I know little of what Iran is like, and the main images I have of the country come from American and Western media. Thus, I'm glad to have gotten Hooman Majd's stories of the Iran he currently knows, and the Iran of his parent's (and other family members') remembrances. Yes, there is some bias to Majd's book, as he has spent decades living in the West and that has perhaps colored his views o ...more
Stuart Hill
The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay: An American Family in Iran combines several genres, mixing together autobiography, journalism, history and travelogue. The tone is fairly light which makes for a very accessible book which would suit anyone unfamiliar with Iran. Much of the book concerns recounting the minutiae of everyday life in the country (mostly in Tehran) which disproves a few stereotypes about it. Iran comes across as being very much like the latter days of the Soviet Unio ...more
Colleen Clark
This is the account of a year (2011), more or less, that Hooman Majd spent with his wife, from Wisconsin) and infant son in Tehran. Majd is an American citizen (b 1957 in Tehran) whose father was an Iranian diplomat. He has his own deep experience in Iran and has written two other books about it. Majd is related to the Ayatollah Khatami. The year they lived in Tehran Mahmoud Ahmedinijad was president.
The Majd family rented an apartment in Tehran and lived an ordinary life - his wife had to confo
Dariusz Płochocki
To opowieść o Iranie widzianym z perspektywy dziennikarza i tłumacza, syna dyplomaty z czasów rządów szacha. Człowieka, który chce pokazać swój kraj dziecku, jeszcze niemowlakowi i żonie. Możemy zobaczyć Iran wyższej klasy średniej, Iran osób którzy znaczą wiele w świcie porewolucyjnym. Iran zielonej opozycji, której ostoją jest jak zawsze klasa średnia i młodzież. Poznać najnowszą historię, odwiedzić Esfahan i Czak Czak, dowiedzieć się jakie problemy ma żona dziennikarza, wegetarianka, bezglute ...more
Stephen King
I had very good reviews of this book when it was published as a hardback and was tempted to buy it then. I'm rather glad I didn't. Majd is a good writer and has thoughtful insights into Iran, and great access via his family (although unsurprisingly he's rather uncritical of Khatami's rule) which other 'travel' writers and non-Farsi speakers won't have. His decision to spend a year in Tehran with his American wife and his baby son gives him the luxury of time to assess the changes the country is ...more
Erin Frost
Hmmm... Hard book to write a review about, The Iranian-American author, who left Iran when he was 8 months old, returns to live for a year with his wife and baby boy. Not a lot about their day to day life, just small mentions of the difficulty of buying gluten free products, terrible traffic and being spied on. I guess the author just scratched the surface on what could have been a book about life for an expat in Iran, or a critique about Iran and its government or a book about how life has chan ...more
Tragic, honest and well written, a glorious meditation on home, freedom and a picture of normality behind a dark curtain of religious repression
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: nonexistent book 2 33 Nov 06, 2013 08:52AM  
  • A Thousand Hills to Heaven: Love, Hope, and a Restaurant in Rwanda
  • Even After All This Time: A Story of Love, Revolution, and Leaving Iran
  • Passenger to Teheran
  • Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran
  • Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran
  • Mirrors of the Unseen: Journeys in Iran
  • Karma Gone Bad: How I Learned to Love Mangos, Bollywood and Water Buffalo
  • Neither East Nor West: One Woman's Journey Through the Islamic Republic of Iran
  • City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death, and the Search for Truth in Tehran
  • Breathless: An American Girl in Paris
  • Searching for Hassan: A Journey to the Heart of Iran
  • Let Me Stand Alone: The Journals of Rachel Corrie
  • Honeymoon in Tehran: Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran
  • Hidden Iran: Paradox and Power in the Islamic Republic
  • The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America
  • Jasmine and Stars: Reading More Than Lolita in Tehran
  • An American Bride in Kabul
  • The Media Relations Department of Hizbollah Wishes You a Happy Birthday: Unexpected Encounters in the Changing Middle East
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 about Hooman Majd...
The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran The Ayatollahs' Democracy: An Iranian Challenge

Share This Book