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Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
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Ishmael (1992)

by Daniel Quinn

Series: Ishmael (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,03592896 (3.95)48
Recently added byIRCKhartoum, Lumas.Helaire, A-JCHS, private library, daaawx, georgeek, MohMoh, pinax, pdsmooth1
  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. 10
    Civilized Man's Eight Deadly Sins by Konrad Lorenz (Lucy_Skywalker)
    Lucy_Skywalker: but without being didactic and irritating
  4. 21
    The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure by James Redfield (amyblue)
  5. 00
    The Nature of Economies by Jane Jacobs (aneurysm1985)
    aneurysm1985: Both are about similar social-ecological issues. And both are the result of the authors (Quinn and Jacobs) enlightening readers about non-fiction topics through the use of fictional characters and Platonic dialogue. Both novels are written with the overarching purpose of educating their readers about unfamiliar topics.… (more)
  6. 00
    We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (KatyBee)
  7. 01
    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.
  8. 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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English (91)  German (1)  All (92)
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
Ishmael is a novel mostly focusing on philosophical ideas about the way we’re currently living and how we could create a more sustainable society. While it’s an interesting concept, I don’t really think this story should have been presented in novel format; it mostly consists of presenting ideas and historical worldviews. There’s a little plot by the way of these ideas coming from an ape who learned telepathy, but other than that side note, it really is mostly an essay on the idea of how our current lifestyle is unsustainable and how we might be able to fix it in order to keep the world healthy and keep surviving. I understand that he probably doesn’t have enough notoriety to publish this as a non-fiction essay, so it was easier to be published as a novel, but it just didn’t fit with the idea of a “novel” for me.

With that said, however, this book presents interesting ideas about humanity’s mentality regarding the world and our place in it; our relationship with other species; and our relationship with nature itself. It certainly gave food for thought and makes me want to explore the history surrounding the agricultural revolution a bit further, as well as thinking of ways to still keep our technology and industry while also being more in tune with nature and making sure to be kind to other species and the world itself. I recommend this for anyone who is interested in exploring new ideas of what humanity’s role is in the world and how we should strive to become more attuned to nature.

Also posted on Purple People Readers. ( )
  sedelia | Sep 18, 2017 |
Buddy read with Cristal.
  lapiccolina | Jun 23, 2017 |
Well, I've dwelled far too long on calling this read officially "finished" here. I read this when it came out, again some ten years later, and most recently (now, obviously) when we assigned it to our two teen homeschooled sons. The first time annoyed the hell out of me - despite the core message, the didactic, heavy-handed, abusive approach was too off-putting. For the first re-read, I decided to ignore everything that annoyed me and try to glean the true substance of Quinn's point, so that I could relate if necessary. I had moderate success with the former objective, and more so with the latter. Then, there is this re-read...

It's still annoying. Probably more so now that I'm older and have less patience for the didactic. And frankly, the core message is lost in the presentation. I determined this when trying to discuss it with my very intuitive sons. "Why did he say [this or that]?" too often ended with me searching the net for some kind of answer that was not colored by my biases. I realized that no one else had much value to add...leastwise, all the study guides were (okay, I'll qualify this with in MY opinion) nonsense.

Here's the rub for all the negative reviews: "Philosophy 101"? Um, okay...but philosophy itself is subjective rot, and few people take a course anyway. "Didatctic"? No argument there. But if something is so obvious, yet completely ignored, perhaps that's the only way to get through to the reader. Now, I seriously doubt that anyone not familiar with the core message would actually read the book...they're busy watching "reality" television and listening to "conservative" media.

There are two very good points in this book wrapped in the obfuscation, and without spoilers, I'll just say that one involves the word "finally" and the other, and little more maudlin, involves the word "hope".

I do recommend this, if only to see a different perspective. ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
Extraordinarily wonderful! ( )
  bigzach1984 | Apr 30, 2017 |
I read this in one sitting, because it's amazing. Few books I would recommend this enthusiastically to such a wide array of people, but "Ishmael" is one of them. All I will say about it is that it is the sort of book — collection of ideas, really — that make your mind explode. An explosion that is thoroughly worth it, if you enjoy thinking about anything. ( )
  csoki637 | Nov 27, 2016 |
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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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