Jan 6, 2006

Ishmael: How The World Went Wrong, And What We Might Do About It


Left: Cover of Daniel Quinn's Ishmael

(Toledo, OH) A recent conversation on Hooda Thunkit's blog reminded me of a book I read a few years ago. Entitled Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit , the book by Daniel Quinn is one of those profound texts that sticks with you, popping up in unexpected places to remind you of the lessons it holds within.

I will avoid going into specifics about the novel's setting and plot; people might be discouraged if I give details about what happens. The story, ultimately, only serves as a vehicle for the nuggets of philosophy, history, and critiques of human civilizations that are weaved throughout the narrative.

I read a review about this book once by Jim Britell of the Whole Earth Review; this succinct statement captures the importance of this book better than anything I could conjure up:

"From now on I will divide the books I have read into two categories -- the ones I read before Ishmael and those read after."

If you have not read Ishmael, stop what you are doing and order it. Right now. Before you start watching the next episode of "The Gilmore Girls," or before you play another three games of Spider Solitaire while waiting for the workday to end. I'll make it simple for you and give you an Amazon link, where they have used copies as low as $5.51.

You will not be disappointed.


Anonymous said...

I LOVED that book. I'll have to reread it again.

qrswave said...

Could you briefly describe the message of the book? It's not clear from the amazon link.


Matt Drudge, Jr. said...

The cover is pink and has some gay imagery that vaguely resembles a sunflower. I'll pass.

Curt said...


If any of you are ever interested in seeking out other "like-minded" Ishmael readers, please feel free to visit IshCon. www.ishcon.org

Take Care,