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Summary

One of the most beloved and best-selling novels of spiritual adventure ever published, Ishmael has earned a passionate following. This special 25th anniversary edition features a new foreword and afterword by the author.

“A thoughtful, fearlessly low-key novel about the role of our species on the planet ... laid out for us with an originality and a clarity that few would deny.” (The New York Times Book Review)

Teacher Seeks Pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person.

It was just a three-line ad in the personals section, but it launched the adventure of a lifetime.

So begins an utterly unique and captivating novel. It is the story of a man who embarks on a highly provocative intellectual adventure with a gorilla - a journey of the mind and spirit that changes forever the way he sees the world and humankind’s place in it.

In Ishmael, which received the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship for the best work of fiction offering positive solutions to global problems, Daniel Quinn parses humanity’s origins and its relationship with nature, in search of an answer to this challenging question: How can we save the world from ourselves?

Explore Daniel Quinn’s spiritual Ishmael trilogy: Ishmael • My Ishmael • The Story of B

Praise for Ishmael

“As suspenseful, inventive, and socially urgent as any fiction or nonfiction you are likely to read this or any other year.” (The Austin Chronicle)

“Before we’re halfway through this slim book ... we’re in [Daniel Quinn’s] grip, we want Ishmael to teach us how to save the planet from ourselves. We want to change our lives.” (The Washington Post)

“Arthur Koestler, in an essay in which he wondered whether mankind would go the way of the dinosaur, formulated what he called the Dinosaur’s Prayer: ‘Lord, a little more time!’ Ishmael does its bit to answer that prayer and may just possibly have bought us all a little more time.” (Los Angeles Times)

©1992 Daniel Quinn (P)1995 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House Inc.

Critic reviews

“Deserves high marks as a serious - and all too rare - effort that is unflinchingly engaged with fundamental life-and-death concerns.” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“[Quinn entraps] 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.” (The Washington Post

What listeners say about Ishmael

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I wish I had more hours with Ishmael ❤️

I absolutely love this book! It became my favourite. I can't believe how the writer and the reader made me feel I want more of it, more knowledge, more sweetness. I think that nothing I can say it will do any justice to this book, there is a before and an after. If you will read one book in your entire life, may this be that one, it is that worth it. Thank you so much!

3 people found this helpful

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A must read before death

There is the world before this book...and the world after this book. It is a gem.

2 people found this helpful

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Lifechanging

The book ended too soon. I wanted to hear more of Ishmael's wise words. I cannot recommend this book enough as it truly is food for thought.

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Mind Opener

A very interesting book with fascinating concepts that got me thinking. I've listened to it twice now and expect to listen to it again. A good book to brood over.

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recommend

a good book with a few twists to make you think. nice narrating too . recommend

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The most important book of our times - READ SHARE

Short, concise, educational, inspiring.... and important.

Sentiments I have held for many years are decribed in a wonderfaul way, that makes total sense to where we are as 'humanity' right now.

This book, which I can't believe I have only just heard about, is a rollercoaster of enjoyment and realisations.

Please read it and share it to everyone you know.

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Best book I've ever read

love this book. so thought provoking and makes you ask so many questions to our way of life.

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Everyone should read this

i agree with others who didn't want it to end. i hope some of Daniel's other books will be available on audible soon. i should particularly like to hear the sequel.

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Truly fantastic

A revealing look at the most important topic of our generation. I was blown away with the perspective shown here. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in sustainable business, ecology and life after the flood

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Wonderful

Nicely read. Wonderful story. I'd read My Ishmael in my teenage years and was later shocked to discover it was the 2nd or 3rd in a series. Glad to have been able to listen to this one. Unfortunately My Ishmael is not available on Audible and that makes me pretty sad.

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  • Eric
  • 12-01-08

Unabridged PLEASE!

I loved the book, so I thought why not the audiobook? The abridgment cuts out most of the "meat" of the story. The abridgment is better than nothing (thus four stars) but the book hits much harder with more information and draws the mind further into the story. Worth the read but could have been great.

106 people found this helpful

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  • Telecommuter12
  • 20-11-08

Please read this book

Ishmael was my first introduction to Daniel Quinn's work and it has started a love affair. After listenening to the audio version and clinging to every word- I went out and bought the book as I felt it must be a part of my library. However after reading the book, I so agree that Audible MUST add the unabridged version- every word is just too important to arbitrarily nip and tuck. Even so- this is a very well read version of the book- and does manage to convey many of the important themes and is definately worth the listen.

This story is thought provoking and full of metaphor- I highly suggest that you listen / read this with a friend or as a part of a book club as it's a perfect catalyst for important conversations- and truly the themes have never been more timley. I have read or listened to this several times and each time get something new- something lovely. Some readers may struggle with this- have an open mind - enjoy the metaphor and illusion. I suggest that you read a bit at a time and take time to talk about it and digest it before reading / listening on- hang in there- it will be worth your time. Allow it to and it will change your life and your spirit.

35 people found this helpful

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  • Julie
  • 23-04-09

Really thought provoking

I wish Audible had the unabridged version of this book. It was so thought provoking and interesting that I wondered what nuances I was missing by having only the abidged version. But don't let that dissuade you. This is a very good condensed version. At no time did I encounter any awkward transitions. In fact part of my curiosity lies in trying to figure out where exactly the editor made the cuts.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Lilly
  • 26-07-05

Life changing

I only wish that you had all of Quinn's works on audio. Ishmael is just the beginning of a great journey.

15 people found this helpful

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  • MA
  • 05-12-03

Excellent, Masterpiece!

I have read the book and listened to the audio-tape. Highly recommend, would prefer an unabridged version. Amazing story told in a unique and creative manner. Can't wait for the audio version of My Ishmael, hopefully unabridged.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Richard
  • 15-02-12

From WTF to HOLY KAW!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Truth be told, the first couple of chapters were strange, odd to say the least. I hung in there, went with it and was rewarded with amazement. This book is brilliant!

8 people found this helpful

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  • Jethro
  • 31-01-14

Great book! Horrible narration

Any additional comments?

Audible skips certain paragraphs from the book, it takes away from the overall enjoyment of the book in its entirety.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Rob
  • 03-02-05

A book for the good of the future

The messages in this book - and Quinn's other books - are so important that I own 2 copies of the book and loan them out as often as I can, and now have the audio so I can loan out my CD.
I believe that this series should be part of the school curriculum - maybe Gr. 5 or 6. The earlier that we can get some fresh minds interested in the world and the future, the better chance that the earth will have to survive our greed and destruction.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Scott
  • 02-01-04

A truly important book!

I didn't agree with 100% of what Quinn is trying to say, but it is a very powerful idea presented in an entertaining way. This book is certain to change the way you look at the world to some degree. I have insisted that all my children read this book.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Sanguine
  • 02-09-18

Terrible book and a waste of time

Didn't find this interesting nor informative. not really a story while not really a non fiction.
Kind of the worse of both.
This is a story about a Gorilla that got psychic powers that tells a man that humanity suck because it is not living by the laws of nature. That's it. That is the whole plot. now you don't need to waste your time and money on this like I did.

2 people found this helpful