Book Reviews of Ishmael

Author: Daniel Quinn
ISBN-13: 9780553561661
ISBN-10: 0553561669
Pages: 272
Edition: Reprint
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.

4.5 stars, based on 25 ratings
Publisher: Bantam
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

40 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Ishmael on + 162 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
This book will give you a whole new way to look at your life and the life our culture tells us is good. You will end up with more questions than answers, but the questions are a place to start. Let Ishmael be your teacher and come along on the journey.
reviewed Ishmael on + 85 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Fascinating book! The premise is off-beat, to say the least, but the wisdom imparted by the unusual scholar was insightful. I couldn't put this one down.
reviewed Ishmael on + 39 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
if you believe a miracle is a change in perception, than this book is a miracle. I used to think the world will be wonderful when we have all blended into one color... now I see how diveristy makes strenght and in a way, keeping diversity is a way heal our challenged earth.
reviewed Ishmael on + 21 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is my favorite book of all time. I read it in college and it changed the way I look at everything. Ishmael is a Gorilla who has something important to teach the world. Quinn uses him as a guide to help convey his view of the world today. It covers ideas from religion to sustainable development. The book can be quite deep in parts, I sometimes read passages several times, however it is well worth it.It leaves you thinking, wondering and inspired to do better. I have read the book more times than I can count and I continue to learn from it. Well worth the read.
reviewed Ishmael on
Helpful Score: 2
A very interesting thought experiment. Great if you like philosophy or history.
reviewed Ishmael on
Helpful Score: 2
This book a quick read with subtle political commentary.
reviewed Ishmael on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Ishmael should be required reading for every high school student. Phenominal book if you take the time to delve between the layers. An easy and fun read, that attempts to help the reader look at life from a completely different angle. As new age, intellectual, religious or spiritual one may believe they are, this is a completely different reflection. I look forward to reading the authors other works. This book moves to the top of my favorites along with Atlas Shrugged and The Celestine Prophecy.
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Helpful Score: 1
From Publishers Weekly
Quinn won the Turner Tomorrow Award's half-million-dollar first prize for this fascinating and odd book- not a novel by any conventional definition...

The unnamed narrator is a disillusioned modern writer who answers a personal ad ("Teacher seeks pupil...Apply in person.") and thereby meets a wise, learned gorilla named Ishmael that can communicate telepathically. The bulk of the book consists entirely of philosophical dialogues between gorilla and man, on the model of Plato's Republic.
reviewed Ishmael on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Amazing book about our humanity's relationship to the rest of creation. It will change how you think.
reviewed Ishmael on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
thought provoking spiritual ideas
reviewed Ishmael on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I know I shouldn't rate a book that I didn't finish, but I just couldn't do it. I am an environmentalist, and I do believe that overpopulation will be bad for the people and the wildlife, but this book is just too extremist. The "dialog" is completely unnecessary, because the conversation is mostly Ishmael lecturing and our main character saying "yes" "I suppose" "go on" "right" which adds absolutely nothing to the story. It also takes the author a quarter of the book to get to his first point which is "man believes that the gods created the universe for humans" and another quarter of the book to get to his second point which is "We living by trial-and-error, and we're plummeting towards destruction, but we think it's okay, because we haven't destroyed ourselves yet." At that point, I'm done with the book. It's over the top, and poorly written and I don't care how it ends. This book convinced some crazy guy to take the Discovery Channel hostage because they weren't doing enough to curb population growth, so I wanted to at least check it out.
reviewed Ishmael on + 57 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Excellent. I went on to read every book I could find by this author.
reviewed Ishmael on + 246 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I love books that make you think- and this one does!!!!!
reviewed Ishmael on + 560 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I had a general idea of what this book was about before I read it. Also for that reason, I put off reading it because it seemed to me that it was a thinker book. That the subject matter might be too deep, too intellectual or too boring. By page 19 this book had me hooked and knew that this book was a keeper, one I will not post, because I would like my teenage and adult kids to read it.

Another reason I put off reading this book was I feared it would be a BASHER. Bashing religion or eating meat, or bashing the whole western ideology. This book was not a basher. It doesnt offend or even really accuse. It explains.

The way the author writes, is simple enough for those in high school to understand, so you dont need a big college degree to understand this book, it isnt full of debates about philosophy. (another fear). I was impressed at how step upon step the author explained the story of life as we know it, and maybe why it isnt working out so well for We Humans and the Planet.

I think my only frustration, is Now what? What do I do with this information? I didnt see how I could change my behavior in any way that would make a difference, I only saw how I could change how I see the world, but I am not sure that is enough to really change our destruction. I gathered from the end that the only thing I could do is encourage others to understand where we went wrong.

Keep in mind the book never suggests you give up your life and move to a hut in desert. It doesnt teach you to recycle or reduce your carbon footprint, or eat less meat. It does humble you though, but without any lashes to your back, as expected.

Give it a read. See if you see what I saw, and feel free to send me a personal message if you can see more into how change the world together.
reviewed Ishmael on + 3 more book reviews
Very powerful read. I still think about it often. However I think it could have all been said it half the text.
reviewed Ishmael on
I've read all of Daniel Quinn's books. Read this when it came out years ago have owned many copies, always find someone to give them to. Love the story the movie did not really do justice to book but it was good. I recommend The Holy & Story of B as well. Takers? ;-)
reviewed Ishmael on
This is one of my favorite books. This book will make you think about how your presence on Earth is interconnected and affected by/affects others.
reviewed Ishmael on + 3 more book reviews
I read this book several years ago and loved it...gave it to a friend.
A few years later I checked it out from the library and re-read it.
I saw it on the list and ordered it for a friend and re-read it before giving it to her.
:). You could say that the book touched me.
reviewed Ishmael on + 12 more book reviews
I could not get into this book - even after reading it half way through. Maybe I was too impatient, but I need a book to grab me sooner than that.
reviewed Ishmael on
This was one of those books that changed my entire perspective on life and living... a must read! I have a copy, but I'm NOT posting it! Sorry, folks! LOL!
reviewed Ishmael on
I came across this book when it was assigned in my Philosophy course. I have never been assigned reading where I actually thanked the instructor for the selection afterwards.

This book is truly a simple, yet stunning look at our place within the world. Although the deus ex machina in this quick read at first seems cooky - it allows Quinn to tenderly convey his vital message.

This is a book that once you read it, you'll want to buy copies for everyone you know. I loved it - and I think that anyone who contemplates the world around them will find themselves happy they found this book.
reviewed Ishmael on
I was interested in this book at first, but I could not get into it. I finished it and it got better towards the end. Interesting premise.
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reviewed Ishmael on + 26 more book reviews
Interesting and moving read.
reviewed Ishmael on + 17 more book reviews
An unusual and exceptional book, with many ideas to contemplate.
reviewed Ishmael on + 52 more book reviews
Good ideas that we should follow.
reviewed Ishmael on + 31 more book reviews
Very thought provoking.
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Lots of food for thought, a great book to think the world and our thinking over...
Don't get mislead by the mind reading monkey!
reviewed Ishmael on + 22 more book reviews
Ishmael is a gorilla who, inexplicably, has been taught to talk. He converses with the writer (this is fiction, of course!) to give a good insight into man's egotistical self-image. This book may change your life or at least cause you to think.
reviewed Ishmael on + 26 more book reviews
I don't agree with the philosophy, but a lot of people do
reviewed Ishmael on + 11 more book reviews
not as good as any derrick jensen commentaries on modern culture and the destruction of the world for our own selfish and unnecessary purposes, but should be required reading for anyone with a soul. if this were required reading or even a continuing curriculum material in schools MEYABE people would start to live with a little more responsible outlook on life and the world we live in....
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I only read this book to accomplish an author from every letter of the alphabet. Just not my cup of tea.
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Incredibly powerful. Thought provoking.
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This is one of my all-time favorite books. Talking gorilla and all. Very interesting look into life and the world.
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One of the top five books I have read.
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reviewed Ishmael on + 203 more book reviews
An interesting view of what has happened to our society.
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interesting outlook, worth the read, to expand your outlook.
reviewed Ishmael on + 9 more book reviews
Very good
reviewed Ishmael on + 51 more book reviews
Hippie book about saving the world, and talking to a monkey