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The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness: A True Story
     

The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness: A True Story

4.4 15
by Joel ben Izzy
 

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When a storyteller loses his voice, he believes he's lost everything. In fact, he's been given a great gift.

Once upon a time, a successful storyteller lost his voice to throat cancer. Deprived of the instrument of his art and his livelihood, he retreated into dark, sullen silence and depression. While searching for a spiritual explanation, he encountered his

Overview


When a storyteller loses his voice, he believes he's lost everything. In fact, he's been given a great gift.

Once upon a time, a successful storyteller lost his voice to throat cancer. Deprived of the instrument of his art and his livelihood, he retreated into dark, sullen silence and depression. While searching for a spiritual explanation, he encountered his former mentor, a cantankerous and often drunk old man. Their meetings began a journey into the timeless wisdom of ancient tales: of beggars and kings, monks and tigers, lost horses, buried treasures, and ultimately the secret of happiness.

In this altogether original book, Joel ben Izzy shares his personal account of surviving loss, gaining wisdom, and rediscovering one's true purpose. Weaving in tales he's collected over the years from Sufi, Muslim, Chinese, Jewish, Iraqi, Zen Buddhist, Italian, and Indian cultures, he passes along the lessons he has learned. As we travel with ben Izzy from tragedy back into light and sound, we are encouraged to see our own lives as stories, and to open our own hearts to happiness.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
His story is a poignant one, filled with sadness, laughter, and joy. Hearing ben Izzy's warm voice takes some of the surprise out of the story of his voice loss; after all, once you hear his voice, it's no secret that he eventually regains it. But it's not so much the destination as it is the sites along the way that make The Beggar King an unforgettable listening experience. - Audiofile
Jewish Book World
"Timeless"—Jewish Book World
Dallas Morning News
"Heartfelt…speaks to people in trouble. It provides edifying advice, intimately given, like the best-selling Tuesdays with Morrie."—The Dallas Morning News
Audiofile
His story is a poignant one, filled with sadness, laughter, and joy. Hearing ben Izzy's warm voice takes some of the surprise out of the story of his voice loss; after all, once you hear his voice, it's no secret that he eventually regains it. But it's not so much the destination as it is the sites along the way that make The Beggar King an unforgettable listening experience. - Audiofile
Publishers Weekly

Joel ben Izzy has a peaceful, almost mesmerizing voice-a fine storyteller's voice-altered only when he becomes the characters in his tales. He does a perfect Yiddish accent, but he doesn't spoil other stories by struggling for genuine accents. Parables have morals: as he narrates the agonizing loss of his voice and ultimate recovery, he seeks lessons from his misery. One of his Chinese tales reminds us: "What seems like a blessing may be a curse, and what seems like a curse may be a blessing." Izzy begins each chapter with a fairy tale from some corner of the globe, then relates it to a segment of his life. The book is a blend of fiction and nonfiction genres much in fashion now: memoir, the journey toward healing, the spiritual awakening, the search for wisdom and meaning through pain and loss. Izzy's book will find a happy home next to those of Paulo Coelho, Mitch Albom, Sue Monk Kidd, Alice Seabold et al., and will be particularly popular in audio format. An Algonquin paperback (Reviews, July 28, 2003). (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781598875140
Publisher:
HighBridge Company
Publication date:
06/28/2007
Edition description:
Unabridged; 4.5 hours on 4 CDs
Pages:
1
Product dimensions:
5.08(w) x 5.92(h) x 0.64(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"It's really the only important story there is….What a gift, what a blessing, funny, brilliant, wise."—ANNE LAMOTT

"This is a beautiful book full of old tales– from China, India, Persia, Jerusalem– that help storyteller Joel ben Izzy through dark times of silence and back into light and sound once more. Wonderful!" –GRACE PALEY

Meet the Author


JOEL BEN IZZY tells stories at festivals throughout the world and has written and produced six CDs, which have won awards from the American Library Association and the Parents’ Choice Foundation. He’s been a storytelling consultant to various companies, including Hewlett-Packard, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and Pixar Animation Studios. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and two children.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
JennyNoelle239 More than 1 year ago
Loved this book and I recommend it to everyone. Very insirational story. I really wish they had it for the Nook so I could add it to my collection.
EY More than 1 year ago
Really amazing book that I have read in one day and reread subsequently. Gave to my friends as gifts and they loved it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an easy read, but you may find yourself wanting to go back and reread it many times. It is cleverly written, with the author's own story interspersed with the wisdom of stories from around the globe. It's the best book I've read this year. My copy was a Christmas gift, but I'll be buying more copies to give away.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I picked up this book I'd never heard of one afternoon, and could not put it down until I had finally finished it at 2:00 a.m., I had to tell others. And I have. And, let me tell you: This is a rich book full of mystery and wisdom, and of course, best of all, the 'secret of happiness.' But, that I won't tell you. You'll have to read the book. Besides, it wouldn't do you any good if I did tell you, as ben Izzy does a much better job than I ever could.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RMStP More than 1 year ago
It's not lengthy enough for me! didn't want to put it down. Wish everyone would read it-marvellous
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good tales and its personal story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too much focus on him being jewish
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sat down on a cold, rainy Saturday and read the entire book in one sitting...could not put it down. I would definitely recommend to anyone who often thinks about the whys of this world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ibeatthyroidcancer More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very original, creative, and emotional story. It has many short stories throughout the book which help shape the next events in the novel. A philosophical, inspirational, and motivational tale. It's Tuesdays with Morrie, but with a more in depth story and plot. I loved it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I started reading 'The Beggar King' on a flight from San Diego to San Francisco. When the pilot announced that we were about to land, I found myself reading faster and faster. I just didn't want to put this book down! Ben Izzy is a masterful storyteller and the way he weaves ancient tales from around the world into his own personal (and authentic) story is fascinating. I found myself going from laughing out loud to getting choked up and teary-eyed, and then back to laughing out loud again. For me, that's one of the best gifts from a book like this -- bringing out our emotions and leaving us on a high. I know what I'm giving to my clients as holiday gifts this year! Definitely a great read with powerful lessons that I'll reflect upon for a long, long time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The Beggar King' is like no other book I've ever read. It grips you as the best suspense novels do, inspires you as only true stories can, and moves you as every story from the heart does. It is a story about what Joel ben Izzy found in his heart when he lost his voice. I have been a fan of ben Izzy's stories for many years--his tapes and CDs have traveled thousands of miles with my family and me and have entertained kids and adults in our home. This book pulls it all together. It is autobiographical, but it also is a story about stories. It is a medical suspense tale and a meditative journey. The book is unresistably easy to read. I wholeheartedly recommend it.