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Rumi's Secret: The Life Of The Sufi Poet Of Love

The first popular biography of Rumi, the thirteenth-century Persian poet revered by contemporary Western readers.

"Gooch's biography brings the political and intellectual tumult of the early medieval era to life, producing vivid characters and memorable portraits of urban experience….a sensitive and passionate introduction."

The New York Times Book Review


"Extraordinary… Brad Gooch's fine, searching biography, "Rumi's Secret," will fascinate his subject's many admirers. We will never fully know Rumi, but thanks to Mr. Gooch, we know him better."

— The Wall Street Journal


"A dazzling feat of scholarship…"

— The Washington Post


"Their friendship transformed Rumi's life, and transports this biography into an exquisite, joyous realm."

— The New Yorker


"Brad Gooch holds the key to Rumi's Secret"

— Vanity Fair: Hot Type


"Profound, important… Rumi's Secret offers an expanded view of the 13th – century poet."

— Christian Science Monitor


"In this vivid, fascinating biography, Gooch recovers the life of 13th century Persian mystic and poet Rumi…. illuminates an array of important influences to move beyond the clichés surrounding Rumi and reveal a more complex and interesting figure."

— The National Book Review


"Exceptional… Gooch's account adds a human touch to a man who appears larger than life."

— Paste Magazine


"Drawing deeply on Rumi's own writing, Gooch clearly recreates the life and times of this 13th-century mystic."

— Publishers Weekly


"A vivid depiction of the powerful religious forces that Rumi transcended to reveal 'the sound of one soul speaking.'"


"Passionate and compelling….[Rumi's Secret] provides a richness of context through which one can understand the life of the Sufi mystic from new and colorful angles."

— Library Journal


"Brad Gooch brilliantly pins both the life of the spirit and the magic of the poet to the page in this intimate, entrancing, sumptuous biography. Flutes play, goldsmiths hammer, silver bells jingle in camel ears -- and Rumi's lush music washes over the reader. "Everyone is born once. I have been born many times," wrote the Persian poet. Never before like this."

— Stacy Schiff, author of The Witches and Cleopatra

"An excellent and accessible introduction to the profound and generous mystical vision of Rumi that will give Western readers a much needed insight into the true spirituality of Islam. "

— Karen Armstrong, author of A History of God

"The poetic words of Rumi have long been an inspiration, though few know much about his life. Brad Gooch has undertaken a meticulously researched labor of love to place Rumi back into his tumultuous time and place in the medieval Islamic world, marking his journey from mystical poet to Sufi saint, and articulating his "religion for lovers" with an interfaith message that speaks across the centuries. Rumi's life in this telling is as compelling as his poetry. Rumi's Secret is a beautiful and relevant book."

— Reza Aslan, author of No God but God and Zealot

"Translating many of Rumi's poems with irresistible grace, Brad Gooch has written an unforgettable biography of the thirteenth-century Persian mystic, preacher, sheikh, father, seer and above all ecstatic poet whose verses, in Gooch's hands, sing a religion of love through time and place. Compassionate, learned, and lyrical, Brad Gooch's Rumi's Secret is a book to be savored, its secrets long treasured. It helps teach us, now, how to live."

— Brenda Wineapple, author of Estatic Nation and White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickenson and Thomas Higginson

"Brad Gooch is the foremost biographer of flamingly original artists who preach the gospel of love, whether fleshly or divine. To his magnificent lives of Frank O'Hara and Flannery O'Connor, he now adds that of the 13th century Sufi poet Rumi. Gooch tells the heart-breaking story of Rumi's encounter with the irascible wanderer Shams of Tabriz, and how their brief impassioned communion of souls transformed Rumi-then a middle-aged pillar of the Anatolian religious establishment--into a Whitmanesque poet of radical intimacy and ecstatic oneness. Deftly situating Rumi in the crosscurrents of Persian, Arab, Turkic, and Mongol history, Gooch gives us an indelible portrait of this mystic so crucial to Christians, Muslims, Jews, and modern-day searchers after meaning."

Fernanda Eberstadt, Author of The Furies and Little Money Street

"Brad Gooch unfolds the secret of Rumi's art, mapping the transformation of Rumi's life-experiences into his poems. Friendship, poetry, and spirituality intertwine into a felt experience for readers. Before we know it, Rumi has caught us up in his own experience and we are changed."

— Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, founder of Thr Cordoba Initiative

"This is a monumental book, an illumination, an achievement worthy of Rumi's remarkable journey and lasting influence. May it dance its way to a wide audience, changing lives and bridging cultures, as Mevlana himself did."

— Eboo Patel, author of Acts of Faith