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on 10 March 2017
It's a good book and makes you think in a different perspective
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on 9 June 2017
thanks x
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on 11 April 2017
Amazing thank you so much
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Hi guys, I listened to this on audiobook,

I just finished and was surprised how short it was (3 hours vs the usual 10+).
But actually, it didn't need to be longer, it got to the point quickly..

Lots of food for thought - was not totally convinced with all the logic.
e.g. did the 'leavers' really leave the planet to the Gods, or just they were uneducated didn't yet know any better.
E.g. anthropologists tell us, when early man's (leavers) crops failed, they'd offer sacrifices to Gods. I'd hardly call their 'leaver' view on the world, ancient wisdom that should be obeyed in modern times.

I also questioned if the 'rules' of nature are really just rules at all, and simply observations made in retrospect to fit in with the story.

Either way, worth a read, and some interesting concepts on how we treat our world today. Possible some truth in there also and story moves along at a nice pace.

Thank-you for reading,

P.s. I have some similar books I could write a review for, just it takes time, please let me know if this is helpful to you
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on 7 June 2011
The essence of Quinn's argument for me came in Ishmael's reply to the question of what happens in the Leavers' society (his ideal) when there is a drought and the natural food supply fails: the Leavers "dwindle." That euphemism encapsulates the author's seemingly total disconnection from real life (at least the real life of anyone but a well-paid and successfully published American intellectual). Would he really have such a rosey view of the Leavers' way of life if he had lost more than half of his children to starvation or predators before they'd even reached adolescence?
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on 19 March 2015
Bought as a present.
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on 24 August 1999
Here goes the long awaited, badly needed Prophet of our times! In simple words, structured like a tutorial, Daniel Quinn interprets modern man and his origin in a completely new and extremely convincing way, a way which, like it or not, makes perfect sense and leaves you whith the uneasy feeling that, now that you've read the book, the ball is in your court. At least, now you can no longer say that you haven't been warned.
Something sinister has, however, happened in the wake of this book which once more might be regarded as evidence for some cynical conspiracy out to discredit, belittle or ridicule anything which might threaten the status quo: Hollywood made a nice, positive film with a happy ending called Instinct, which leaves you feeling all warm inside, allegedly based on Ishmael. Well, it isn't!
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on 29 October 2001
Buy this at the same time as "The Story of B" and "My Ishmael" becuase they form a kind of unofficial trilogy - "Ishmael" laying the ground foundations of Quinn's theory, "The Story of B" expanding and adding to those ideas and "My Ishmael" completing the set by showing how the decline of our culture can be averted.
It would be too hard to outline Quinn's theory about why our society (and only our society) works so badly, but if you have ever thought that there must be something better than living a life working hard to gain things which are free, such as food, then this book is for you. If you have ever felt hollow or unfufilled by your life and the way you live it, then this book has one important message for you - it is not your fault. I hope my enthusiasm for this book will encourage you to read it, because I can honestly say it has changed my life. Everywhere I look I see elements of Taker culture and I want to scream at the top of my lungs and show everybody what is wrong. I want to open their eyes. I'm sure you don't understand what I'm talking about unless you've read the book, but if you buy it then you will.
The revelations I had whilst I was reading this book, "The Story of B" and "My Ishmael" were so amazing I felt sick, elated, depressed but mostly a sense of enormous relief. It is not every single human in our culture that is wrong, there is nothing wrong with us. It is our society...our society that imposes laws that it knows will be broken and then is suprised when they are, our society that thinks humans are God's over other animals, out society that has abandoned the way Tribal societies lived and survived with for hundreds and hundreds of years, our society...Please, I urge you to buy this book, there is nothing more I can say. Buy this book.
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on 3 April 2011
"Ishmael" is a political pamphlet written in the form of a novel. The main character is a defrocked hippie who answers a strange ad in a magazine, apparently an ad placed by yet another phoney guru. Much to his surprise, the "guru" turns out to be a gorilla with telepathic abilities. The gorilla is named Ishmael.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is essentially the entire plot!

The rest of the book consists of Ishmael's teachings, which are of course identical to those of Daniel Quinn, the author. Ishmael turns out to be a dark Green primitivist, who criticizes civilization and calls for a return to a tribal lifestyle of hunting and gathering. The root of our present troubles is the turn from hunting-gathering to sedentary agriculture and state-building, taking place around 10,000 years ago in Mesopotamia. This eventually led to overpopulation, resource depletion and the threat of imminent collapse so obvious today. Ishmael also attacks traditional religion and turns out to have a strong Neo-Malthusian bent. More food inevitably leads to more humans, and hence overpopulation. The solution? Less food.

Thus, despite its new agey-hippie flavour, "Ishmael" is actually a quite disturbing book. Essentially, the peaceful gorilla in the cage calls for genocide of Third World peoples. I didn't know gorillas were Neo-Malthusians! The book also contains a number of other oddities and absurdities. Societies based on agriculture were peaceful for millennia, while pastoralists were prone to violence. Also, Neolithic cultures were probably "matriarchal", while pastoralists virtually always are patriarchal. Yet, Quinn claims that the agriculturalists were the bad guys and the pastoralists the good guys. The author also seems to think that humans are like mice, unable to control their own reproduction except by naturally occurring or artificially induced "food control". His attempt to compare humans to jellyfish has to be read to be believed. And so on. I wonder what on earth made this book so popular? Are hippies Nazis?

And yet...

And yet, we cannot simply dismiss Ishmael in his circus cage. A few years ago I would have thrown away this book ASAP due to all the factual errors and the "reactionary" perspective. A psychological defence mechanism I presumably share with many other advanced primates of the genus Homo.

In reality, the problems mentioned by Quinn are real. We *can* end starvation and poverty by a world government sharing the available resources equally, but we are rapidly approaching a situation where not even this would put and end to environmental destruction. And in the future, the available resources will plummet, making it very problematic indeed to feed six or eight billion people. The only solution is to show that we are indeed not mice, and combine birth control with food availability way above subsistence level. How's that for a new "vision", to use Quinn's terminology? If humanity cannot begin a rapid transition to a sustainable economy, there will be a population crash exactly as described in "Ishmael".

Don't let the gorilla-guru have the last word. Show that we aren't jellyfish!

With Neo-Malthusian gorilla gone, is there hope for The Third Chimpanzee?
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on 4 August 2011
Theres not much more I can say than what has already been said by other reviewers. I will just say there are two types of people that will read this book. The first is the person who is not ready to hear the message contained within the book, and will go back to living in a culture that is not only destroying the world but causing the human race to quickly head towards extinction. These are the people that cannot understand the premise of the book, and will simply continue to bury their heads in the sand ignoring the signs all around them.

The other type of person is ready to hear the message, and allows the book to explain why despite all of human advances in civilisation, there is still something fundamentally wrong with modern human culture. These people can see the bigger picture than what is written in mere words, and are ready to help others see the message of the book too. These people like myself, don't want the world destroyed and don't want the human race to end soon.
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