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Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
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Ishmael (1992)

by Daniel Quinn

Series: Ishmael (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,452771,100 (3.92)41
20th century (12) American (24) animals (16) anthropology (49) civilization (26) culture (56) ecology (75) environment (84) environmentalism (50) ethics (13) fantasy (17) fiction (512) gorillas (51) history (16) literature (30) nature (13) non-fiction (16) novel (65) own (20) paperback (16) philosophy (280) read (69) religion (43) society (13) sociology (18) spiritual (21) spirituality (85) sustainability (25) to-read (48) unread (20)
  1. 50
    My Ishmael by Daniel Quinn (teelgee)
    teelgee: Sequel, every bit as good.
  2. 20
    Endgame, Vol. 1: The Problem of Civilization by Derrick Jensen (owen1218)
  3. 21
    The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure by James Redfield (amyblue)
  4. 00
    Civilized Man's Eight Deadly Sins by Konrad Lorenz (Lucy_Skywalker)
    Lucy_Skywalker: but without being didactic and irritating
  5. 00
    Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder (weeksj10)
    weeksj10: Their both lecture style novels which use fiction to present a variety of different thoughts and philosophies.
  6. 00
    We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (KatyBee)
  7. 23
    Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (fyrefly98)
    fyrefly98: Another perspective on the spread of our culture and civilization.
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» See also 41 mentions

English (76)  German (1)  All languages (77)
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
Amazing book! This book is full of thought-provoking ideas but is so easy to read! The main character in the book answers an ad that reads "Teacher seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person." Since I could see myself answering the same ad, I was very curious to discover what he would learn. The teacher's insights are eye-opening and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I was a bit shocked at the ending but there are 2 more books in this series so I can't wait to read them! I recommend this book to everyone! ( )
  SuzReads | Apr 24, 2014 |
I excitedly read this book a very long time ago during an impressionable time when my mind was a thirsty sponge for ideas outside the mainstream. I suppose it was one that informed many of my current beliefs, although it's not the type of book that I would probably choose to read today. ( )
  S.D. | Apr 4, 2014 |
Definitely a hippie book, at first I thought the philosophy behind it was all about saving nature, the rainforests, blah blah.. :> But it's really about something deeper, challenging human 'nature' as we know it. Truly an amazing book. ( )
  steadfastreader | Mar 18, 2014 |
It begins with the line, “The first time I read the ad I choked and cursed and spat and threw the paper on the floor.” The narrator is referring to an advertisement in the personal column of his newspaper: “Teacher seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person.”

We quickly follow our narrator to a nondescript office building, where he finds himself in a room with nothing but an armchair, a few bookcases, and a sign that reads, “With man gone, will there be hope for a gorilla?” He notices a window looking into an adjoining room, where he sees a gorilla calmly sitting in the dark, nibbling on a small tree branch.

The man can’t believe it, but the gorilla speaks to him telepathically, and we, the readers, are off on an incredible spiritual and scientific journey with Ishmael, the gorilla, as our unlikely guru/instructor, and the narrator as his student and our alter ego.

I was totally hooked by the idea of the gorilla guru and the human seeker student. It’s such a preposterous thought, and yet the book is so well written, with so many imaginative details to make it logical, that it was easy to suspend my disbelief and go on the journey. Its lessons are brilliant, and the author has such an elegant, persuasive way of writing that I was instantly seduced into accepting his points of view as natural and truthful.

Ishmael’s teachings give us his view of the history of how we got where we are and a means of thinking that can help us get to where we need to be: at peace with Nature instead of trying to bend it to our will with the unintended consequence of potential catastrophe to the balance of Nature and the ecosystem.

As you can tell, I highly recommend Ishmael to you as a great read!
  StevenJayFogel | Feb 26, 2014 |
You cannot read this one time and call it crap! There are many aspects that spoke to me, many did not. I think people didn't like it's dim view on modern life. Perhaps there is something to the idea of leavers and takers? ( )
  AKMamma | Nov 25, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
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The first time I read the ad, I choked and cursed and spat and threw the paper to the floor.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Five years ago the world was introduced to Ishmael - a gorilla with a revolutionary story to tell, a story no human had ever heard before. A book of resounding truth and hope, and one that is arguably more important now than when it was first published, Ishmael offers readers an entirely new perspective on humanity's relationship to the world. Now, once again, Ishmael is available in hardcover in this very special Fifth Anniversary Edition, containing many revisions and additions to the original. This edition also includes a fascinating preface in which Daniel Quinn offers his own explanation as to why Ishmael has become such a beloved and controversial book.… (more)

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