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4.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  62 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 148 pages
Published December 1st 1978 by Octagon Press, Limited (first published February 28th 1972)
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Aubrey Davis
May 01, 2012 Aubrey Davis rated it it was amazing
Bracing, dazzling, often funny literary tools for reflection; reflecting who we are and what we could be. Mental exercise for those who take a bit of time and trouble..Begs to be re-read...

e.g. The Laziness of adolescence is a rehearsal for the incapacity of old age.

When you visit a sheep, do not wear a lambskin cap and claim to be a friend.

Sometimes a pessimist is only an optimist with more information.

Jun 26, 2015 Holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely love this book. This is one of those collections of very short stories and phrases that you can either dip into at random, or read straight through. This book will challenge your perspective and your ways of thinking. Whether you're new to Idries Shah's work, or you're a longtime fan, this book belongs on your shelf.
Apr 26, 2014 Robs rated it it was amazing
This book has a much larger reach than its small size indicates. It is full of short phrases and stories, told in a contemporary style, that annoy, please, agitate, placate, and generally provide fuel for reflecting on the nature of living.
Dan Sperling
Sep 17, 2015 Dan Sperling rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In its own quiet way, this pocket-size gem of a book offers something that's often claimed but rarely found: a true means of rousing the sluggish brain from its customary, comfortable state of automatic-pilot torpor. Comprised of bite-size sayings and stories, it avoids the emotional, the obvious and the sententious in favor of an entirely different approach that nudges the attentive reader in new and unexpected directions, chipping away at assumptions and habitual thought-patterns that screen u ...more
May 27, 2015 Qasim rated it really liked it
What I loved most about this book is that, even though it is full of succinct parables, they provide nothing immediate in the spiritual sense. The reader is supposed to think about the parable and more often than not what is most apparent is only the surface of a bigger mountain the reader will have to tunnel through for deeper truths; and the manner in which these parables are written... they do not have one size fits all answers. This book follows the aspect of Shah's philosophy which essentia ...more
Kevan Bowkett
Jun 03, 2015 Kevan Bowkett rated it really liked it
A small blue book that can fit easily into a pocket, Reflections contains more wisdom and practical sense than many much larger tomes. Here is one piece:


Try to remember, as a corrective against automatic assumptions, the story of the wise dervish and the mother.

A woman was carrying her baby down a hill when she saw what looked like a reverend dervish, and she asked him to bless her child.

He immediately started to curse it.

This made her weep bitterly, and regard the man as utterly evil.
Oct 20, 2015 WJ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A new, 2015 edition of Reflections. These are, of course, observations by Shah and they provide ‘mirrors’ to those who are interested enough to read. Some statements, you imagine, will become proverbial in a few years and no-one will remember where they came from – the book, and the observations are that good. That controversial Sufi specialty, “the path of blame”, may also be here, because that is one meaning of “reflection” – censure or blame.
Jul 09, 2015 Agustin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book that is actually the opposite of its size: monumental. A book written with love for the same humanity that it so perfectly depicts. A magnifying glass of the human ego, our mind processes, our basic psychology: like a Shakespearan work for the modern reader. If you want to know more about yourself, read this little though gigantic book.
Sep 21, 2015 Toni rated it it was amazing
This is a most handy book. Put it into your handbag or into your back pant's pocket or your inside jacket pocket: as with pockets, so this book for the folded pockets of the mind. Reading and re-reading, clichéd attitudes of thought and expression begin to loosen their hold.
‘Shut Doors.'
'People often say that a door to something is or has been shut. Do they however, go so far as to investigate whether it has been locked as well?
When you really face a problem and see it clearly, you realise that
John Handforth
Nov 30, 2015 John Handforth rated it really liked it
Pithy and punchy short stories, commentaries, proverbs, aphorisms as well as tall tales and true accounts. An example of the 'action philosophy of the Sufis it functions as exercise for the mind as much as entertainment. A book that can be read and re-read many times without giving up all its secrets.
Carol M
Sep 07, 2015 Carol M rated it it was amazing
I've carried a copy of this small book in my vehicle and pack. The short statements continue to surprise. They feel to widen my humanity.
Michael David
Sep 08, 2013 Michael David rated it it was amazing
This is a book of great, short vignettes that prompt one to rethink a lot of the things that one has been accustomed to. Some are absolutely redolent with wisdom. I loved that one on attention: one could go on so much less attention than one feels one needs. I'm going to have to re-read this someday just to remind myself of my shortcomings, and to teach myself to be more mature.
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Idries Shah (Persian: ادریس شاه), also known as Idris Shah, né Sayed Idries el-Hashimi (Arabic: سيد إدريس هاشمي), was an author and teacher in the Sufi tradition who wrote over three dozen critically acclaimed books on topics ranging from psychology and spirituality to travelogues and culture studies.

Born in India, the descendant of a family of Afghan nobles, Shah grew up mainly in England. His ea
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“Right time, right place, right people equals success.
Wrong time, wrong place, wrong people equals most of the real human history.”
“Sometimes a pessimist is only an optimist with extra information.” 47 likes
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