AnnaBanana, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by AnnaBanana)
Ishmael is hands down my favorite book. A must read, and it's just as good reading it a second time. Puts life in a very interesting and eye-opening perspective. Great thought-provoking and powerful messages. It's a book well worth spreading. I've passed it around my circle of friends and they've all been hooked.
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Viharius, November 2, 2012 (view all comments by Viharius)
This is a wonderful book about the exploration of mind & spirit, of where we came from, where we are going and why we are headed where we are. A teacher and a student jointly explore the questions of life, society and culture. Ishmael the teacher is a gorilla and he teaches the human student through telepathy. This is not as goofy as it seems, for he is an outsider looking at human society, and has a unique perspective. Sometimes you need the right book at the right time to give you that badly-needed jolt that makes you look at the world and your own life with new eyes. Ishmael is such a book. If this is not the right time for you, no matter -- when the right time comes, you will remember this book and go back to it.
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McKenzie.Fletcher, August 5, 2012 (view all comments by McKenzie.Fletcher)
Ishmael is one eye-opening book. It only took me a few days to read, and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. Daniel Quinn makes some excellent remarks about society and culture and the way of human existence. I continue to use Ishmael as my fundamental understanding of my own beliefs, and I like to think that this book got me started on the journey to figuring out what I stand for and my philosophical / life views.
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Mark Joseph, January 22, 2011 (view all comments by Mark Joseph)
Of all of the books I've read, this is probably the one that most deserves the epithet "mesmerizing." Falling into the "quest for wisdom" genre, it is nevertheless completely different from any other book in the same genre in that the teacher is a gorilla, who represents nature, and his teaching is presented to a human being, who presumably represents modern culture and civilization.
Hmm, reading the paragraph I've just written makes it sound like this would not be an interesting book. And, if one is looking for the latest romantic vampire shoot-'em-up, one might well be disappointed. But if one is looking for an absolutely riveting intellectual journey, at least life-affecting if not life-changing, "Ishmael" delivers the goods with an incandescent look at how nature works ("the law of limited competition"), and how we have disrupted and destroyed it to make room for an impoverished landscape consisting of humans and the few species that can coexist with humans. Political conservatives (who know nothing) and religious fundamentalists (who think they know everything) will be outraged, and really, what higher recommendation can be given to a book?
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For those of us who have been in the rat race of modern culture long enough that we have stopped thinking, and for those of us who have never deeply examined our place in the world, this book is an awakening. It just may change the way you think about everything. Ishmael is a teacher, unlike any you have ever met, with a final mission — to teach man about fixing the ills of the modern world before it's too late. This book is a must read, and a wonderful eye-opener.
Quinn believes that we have a finer and more exciting destiny than conquering the world, and he shares his ideas with us through the voice of a lowland gorilla named Ishmael. This is a beautiful story about hope for the future, about ideas once so familiar to us that we lived them everyday. If you would like to see a better world, I can think of no finer place to start than with Ishmael.
by The Washington Post,
"[Quinn] entrap[s] us in the dialogue itself, in the sweet and terrible lucidity of Ishmael's analysis of the human condition...it was surely for this deep, clear persuasiveness of argument that Ishmael was given its huge prize."
by The Austin Chronicle,
"It is as suspenseful, inventive, and socially urgent as any fiction or nonfiction book you are likely to read this or any other year"
by The Atlanta Journal Constitution,
"Deserves high marks as a serious — and all too rare — effort that is unflinchingly engaged with fundamental life-and-death concerns."
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