Customer Reviews for

Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit

Average Rating 4.5
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(154)

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(15)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

A Major Influence

A reviewer of this book once wrote that she defines all the many books she's read into two categories: those "before Ishmael" and "after Ishmael". I agree, but with more muscle...I tend to define my entire worldview (yes, it is THAT provocative!) into ideas I had Befor...
A reviewer of this book once wrote that she defines all the many books she's read into two categories: those "before Ishmael" and "after Ishmael". I agree, but with more muscle...I tend to define my entire worldview (yes, it is THAT provocative!) into ideas I had Before/After Ishmael. I've given away over 20 copies of this book to friends and family with the hope that it will touch the people I love with the same kind of grace I felt when I read it. Truly remarkable.

posted by Jewelies42 on August 21, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

Phast Phood Philosophy

I read this book as an agreed-upon title for discussion in a book club, otherwise I don't think I could have finished it. The author droned on and on in a simplistic and didactic imitation of the classical and biblical philosophy motifs: dialogue and allegory. In the p...
I read this book as an agreed-upon title for discussion in a book club, otherwise I don't think I could have finished it. The author droned on and on in a simplistic and didactic imitation of the classical and biblical philosophy motifs: dialogue and allegory. In the process, he subverts dialectic and intellectual epiphany into his own personal megaphone for propaganda. He presents tired armchair renditions of Marx and Rousseau, whining for the redistribution of wealth, condemning the great religions, and with a sycophantic paean to the 'noble savage'. Quinn spends the whole book lamenting the development of agriculture and impuning white males as carrying the 'Mark of Cain' in a crudely racist attack. He goes on to extol the dismal falacies of Malthus as inevitable, and longs for his fantasy of everyone returning to a hunter-gatherer 'paradise'. Like all utopians, Quinn is insufferable and is happy to offer a Jacobin solution to famine- let the bastards starve. If these obtuse premises were not bad enough, the writing itself is awful: overextended metaphors,inaccurate historical, anthropological, and philosophical references, and the incredibly annoying voice of the author stroking his own ego through the dialogue. In a world where time is so precious, I resented wasting mine on such pap. I had anticipated hearty 'food for thought' based on recommendations, but ended up instead with a bag of pork rinds. Yeccccch!

posted by Anonymous on February 9, 2007

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  • Posted August 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Major Influence

    A reviewer of this book once wrote that she defines all the many books she's read into two categories: those "before Ishmael" and "after Ishmael". I agree, but with more muscle...I tend to define my entire worldview (yes, it is THAT provocative!) into ideas I had Before/After Ishmael. I've given away over 20 copies of this book to friends and family with the hope that it will touch the people I love with the same kind of grace I felt when I read it. Truly remarkable.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2007

    phenominal work

    I will agree with those who said this book was hard to get through. It was. I didn't enjoy the style of writing or the tone of the book and I didn't feel a connection to any of the characters. Normally those points would not allow me to enjoy a book at all. The strange thing is that I HAD to get through this book - because the ideas Quinn wanted to convey were so powerful. I always tell people that this book is worth getting through to get the background information and then move on to a much more well written book by the same author, 'The Story of B'.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2011

    This book will change your life

    Ishmael will challenge the way you think and live, in a very good way. After reading this book you will want to do anything and everything to save the world.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2011

    it really will change your life

    I read a lot of reviews on this book before buying, and most of them talked about a life changing experience. Well, I completely agree. This is the story I've always wanted, and it has confirmed the way I've always felt about humanity and the world as a whole. This book well forever change the way you look at the world. By the end of the book I was on the verge of crying. GET THIS BOOK.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Read this book as soon as you can

    I have never come across something that has changed my outlook on life so drastically.

    This is a must read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Change the way you think

    This books seems a bit silly whenever I try to describe it: "Well, you see, a gorilla teaches a man how to save the world." That doesn't do it any kind of justice. What this book will do is change the way you see the world and the people in it. You might start acting a bit differently, start thinking of third-world countries with a bit more respect, and you might start up a conversation with the gorilla at the local zoo. Read this one just to get yourself questioning the world a bit, if for nothing else.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2008

    A life altering story.

    This is a phenomenal story that, while fiction, sets your mind in motion. I have bought several copies because I felt that the people I love just had to read it. All students would benefit from this book as well as the recreational reader.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2008

    Changed My Life

    This book changed my perspective on life, opended my eyes to ideas and enlightenment I never knew existed.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    Life-changing

    This book will make you want to scream shout laugh and sing.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Ever feel like there has to be a better way to live?

    Ishmael was recommended by a friend, and I am very glad it was. What an utterly unique and thought provoking book this is. If you like an intellectual challenge, if you like to have your thoughts and beliefs challenged, then you will enjoy this story.

    A teacher, unlike any other, is looking for a student. The student he is looking for needs to have a strong desire to save the world. The student he gets thinks he knows what he is getting in to, but after his initial shock, he is challenged into having to find the answers buried deep within his own subconscious and in mankind's own history. There are so many interesting facts and ideas brought up in their interactions.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2009

    Ishmael: A new insight as to how we became

    Some people believe that the world was created for man, however other species believe that the world was created not only for man, but for all species and creatures; and that man is just a part of the world's species. Will other species continue to evolve and in the future pass the evolved species of man? As our world continues to change and evolve, what will become of man? How can man stop destroying the world?
    "TEACHER seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person." (Daniel Quinn, P 4) In the beginning, there was man, in the end, no one can predict what lies ahead for the world and all of it's inhabitants. The question is always asked in our society how did man come to be, along with the story that was told by mankind's ancestors? There are many different versions of how mankind came to be in a world full of growth and development. Some believe in the theory of evolution through the rapid development of primitive species. Others seek and find comfort in the story of the gods and the meaning behind Adam and Eve. Many are unsure how man came to be, and no one can really prove who is right in a society filled with opposition and variety.
    The readers of this book will find "Ishmael" not only intriguing but persuasive as well. "From now on I will divide the books I have read into two categories-the ones I read before Ishmael and those read after" (Jim Britell, Whole Earth Review Front Cover) Many readers of Ishmael will find themselves questioning their own beliefs on how man came to be, and how Ishmael has altered entirely the way they view their own actions on this Earth. Readers will be very intrigued by the appearance Ishmael portrays in the book and how the pupil is just a normal human on Earth has his whole life changed due to how Ishmael portrays mankind, him not being human. Ishmael is suspenseful and inventive. The world seeks to fix the flaws that have been caused by mankind however only mankind can fix these flaws in order to survive and continue to conquer in peace with all other species around them.
    Daniel Quinn, the author of Ishmael was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1935, and went on to study at the St. Louis University along with the University of Vienna in Austria, and Loyola University of Chicago. However in 1975, he abandoned a long career in publishing to become a freelance writer which included later writing Ishmael, The Story of B, My Ishmael, Providence, and Beyond Civilization. (www.ishmael.org) Ishmael was originally written in 1977. It ended up being written six different times until the final copy was published in 1990. Daniel Quinn has written over a dozen books, and Ishmael was the inspiration and plot behind the 1999 film, Instinct starring Anthony Hopkins, Cuba Gooding, Jr. This film received the Genesis award in 2000.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2014

    The Downfall of Man

    This was a great read! Really made yiu think about our culture.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2013

    Amazing

    One of my favorites. Couldnt put it down. Really makes you think.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2013

    One of the great books I've ever read. Don't pick this book up i

    One of the great books I've ever read. Don't pick this book up if you are looking for a plot. Pick it up if you want to change the way you understand our world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    Hfguf

    Dviff

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2013

    Captian Hoochi

    *is taken to their book*

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 2, 2012

    I was recommended this book by a fellow co-worker. I'm a opened

    I was recommended this book by a fellow co-worker. I'm a opened minded new age hippy for say. I'm not someone who can get into alot of books unless its Harry Potter. This book got me to open my eyes with the Mother Culture has brain washed our life style. Leavers and Takers as well. The book had many good points as well. I wanted to save the world before and this book just gave me more of a reason to save it now.

    This is such an amazing book the person who recommended it to me asked to barrow it and read it again, as well as this book will be held onto for future re-reading.

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  • Posted May 23, 2012

    thought provoking, easy to read. a message that will stay with y

    thought provoking, easy to read. a message that will stay with you forever.

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  • Posted September 11, 2011

    We the takers are at war with our planet.

    Love this book, i used to say we are killing our planet..but really its us takers. There are some living in this planet that live in harmony with our planet, the leavers, and powerlessly watch us takers ruin it. Best read so far...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2007

    This Should Be Required Reading

    The lessons in this book are subtle, yet powerful. I wish I could convince everyone I know to read this book. (It is also very entertaining.)

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