Get Your Free Audiobook

Listen with Audible free trial

₹199.00/month

1 credit a month to use on any title to download and keep
Listen to anything from the Plus Catalogue—thousands of Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks
Download titles to your library and listen offline
₹199 per month after 30-day trial. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's 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

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    14
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    16
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    12
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A timeless masterpiece

A call to action in a time of despair. Who will heed? Is there hope for gorilla?

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • 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

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jordana
  • 26-09-16

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • james phillips
  • 13-12-18

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Danny Speirs
  • 29-12-18

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.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Yasmin
  • 29-05-21

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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • JustMe
  • 07-05-21

recommend

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-10-20

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 15-10-20

Best book I've ever read

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Catherine Hearne
  • 28-07-20

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ryan
  • 22-07-20

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-06-20

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.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 22-11-20

Perfect book if your having a bad day

This is the worst book that I have ever read. if you are have a bad day and need some cheering up then download this book immediately. This is one of the worst stories ever told in history. What an absolute BS story. Honestly if your having a bad day and want to have a laugh then listen to this complete nonsense of a book. I'm not sure how this passed the editors or how this book made it all the way to be published but it gives me hope that even I can become a writer. Stupid story, no point to this and none of it makes any sense once you apply reason to any of the points made. Avoid if your serious about learning anything. only listen if you need to be cheered up by listening to bs.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • N. Warder
  • 22-07-20

A story for the ages (please read with urgency!)

where have we come from, and to where are we going?

are we on the right path, and if not is there time to correct our course?

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-07-19

A MUST listen

This story is more relevant than ever, really intelligent and deeply touching. I hope that as many people as possible listen to this audiobook, it can have a positive influence on where we steer this ship of mankind.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Fraser McClymont
  • 03-12-18

This book ruined my life

This book laid waste to my original viewpoint on the meaning of life and what I though life was about. I can't even tell you what this book is about, I can only tell you that it filled my heart with a feeling of Thumos. Truly captivating, I can't wait to listen to it again

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Demian Rosenthal
  • 01-03-18

wonderful book! should be compulsory in school!!!

great read with a good an engaging story that is eye opening and thought provoking.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 28-02-18

Take it or remain a taker.

Loved every word of this one. Incredible journey told through an unusual but effective medium.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 22-08-17

all time favorite book

read this as a teenager. to listen again was fabulous. my only criticism is it was an abridged version. I'd have much preferred the unabridged.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • aaran
  • 28-07-17

The power of story.

If ever there was a way to slip the reality of the human condition and the situation we are in because of it. Ishmael is it.
Wake up and become a leaver!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Symon Peters
  • 24-03-16

loved it a beautiful story full of hope.

one day man may realise his destiny does not need to include the destruction of a world be belongs to.