A Jewish version of Chinese fortune cookies. When poor baker Jacob accidentally drops a scrap of paper—with a pithy saying written on it—into some bread dough, his secret wisdom is revealed to the townsfolk, who come to him for more guidance. The meat of this little (113 pp.) book consists of tiny tales of Jacob dispensing his wisdom like bonbons. Jacob’s teachings themselves, however, won’t give the Old or New Testament or any other source of venerable wisdom a run for their money—they’re a mix of the hackneyed, the commonsensical, and the sentimental: “ ‘All my life I have searched for meaning,’ he said. ‘The meaning is in the search,’ said Jacob”; “If you don’t have words,” says Jacob to a couple with communication problems, “then share what you do have. Share the silence.” Still, benShea, a former assistant dean of students at UCLA and now owner of the New York Bagel Factory, invests Jacob’s ersatz pearls with sufficient gloss to tap—perhaps deeply—into the readership that’s buying up Robert Fulghum’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.