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Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
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Ishmael (original 1992; edition 1993)

by Daniel Quinn

Series: Ishmael (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,89588941 (3.94)48
Member:thewakebehindyou
Title:Ishmael
Authors:Daniel Quinn
Info:Bantam Books (1993), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Fiction, Philosophy, History, Anarchism, Culture

Work details

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn (1992)

  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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» See also 48 mentions

English (87)  German (1)  English (88)
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
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 |
Surprisingly enough, I only recently heard of Ishmael, and came by it very strongly recommended.

It's actually a monologue in the shell of a novel. I find this cumbersome. As it's a philosophical text, I feel the author would have done better to either just lay out his thesis, or weave an actual myth around his beliefs. Instead, he accomplished an awkward in-between.

Maybe the book was ground-breaking in 1992, but at this point, it feels somewhat irrelevant and outdated. For example, one tenant of the book is that civilization has taken people down the wrong road. But this polarizing dichotomy [indigenous people got it right and everyone else is just wasting their time] isn't very compelling. Try on Charles Eisenstein's perspectives instead: what if our journey of separation has been necessary for the next chapter? Regardless of what's accurate, the second is a more useful and will-generating belief.

I find Ishmael's attitude tiresome. Much of the book has to do with our protagonist not "trying" hard enough. All of this dialogue feels unnecessary, and doesn't really relate to the message.

Certainly, humans need to learn to work within the laws of nature, but this was part of my upbringing, and feels naive in this setting. I feel as though the discourse has developed much since this book was written. That said, it's not as though America has internalized the message yet.

I think the most fascinating part of the book was the perspective that Adam & Eve is the origin story of civilization told by indigenous groups [in a negative light]. ( )
  willszal | Nov 20, 2016 |
In this utterly captivating work, Daniel Quinn thrusts his protagonist into dialogue with a telepathic gorilla. What follows is, by all accounts, an interesting and developed philosophical position on the human condition and our relation to the ecosystem. Quinn animates his characters with clever, meaningful dialogue, rendering his ideas at once thought-provoking and readable. I disagree with a majority of Quinn's positions on narratology, ecology, human ethics, and interpretation of scripture, yet it will remain on my bookshelf forever as a beautifully written example of unpretentious philosophizing. ( )
  charlescf | Sep 30, 2016 |
My cousin told me about this book and I'm so glad that I read it. ( )
  JennysBookBag.com | Sep 28, 2016 |
Food for thought. Give it a go. My professor of Conservation Biology brought this book up and a few points mentioned. I can understand the criticism but I say read it for the ideas and honestly... forget the characters this isn't really a "story" ( )
  wolfeyluvr | Jun 22, 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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