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The Ishmael Network Reading List

    These resources are suggested by readers. Ishmael Network members can add their suggested readings by logging into their record here... Please note that this list is neither compiled nor reviewed by Daniel Quinn. It should not be assumed, therefore, that he either endorses these books or agrees with the comments made about them. This statement holds true for the Ishmael Webmaster as well.... As of Friday, April 20, 2018 there are 880 books in the suggested reading list. Here is an easy to print list of everything...)

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  • The Giver by Lois Lowry has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Oscar Madison...and Oscar has this to say about the book: "An easy and enjoyable read on stepping out of "the one right way." Being a childrens book, it is a great work to open the minds of the young (and old alike) to the idea that there is more than one way."
    Check out and/or Order The Giver from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Zoë Nathan...and Zoë has this to say about the book: "This is a futuristic novel written decades ago which describes a society slightly beyond our own whose constituents, having recognized the degeneration and frivolity of their culture, sequester out an intellectual elite to carry out the tasks necessary for society to function with any sense of integrity and order. Hesse, as in most all of his works, gives a satirical glance at the way people are socialized and the ironies of human existence. A profound and rewarding read."
    Check out and/or Order The Glass Bead Game from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck has been suggested by Ishmael Network member stephenie harris...and stephenie has this to say about the book: "An impecable storyteller, Steinbeck really delivers in this masterpiece. Although it describes the evacuation of an agricultural family, at least it used to be a nearly self-sufficent one--and though set in the 1930s, families all over the world are still moving for the same reasons. Reasons that nobody in the book takes responsibility for--it is always the vague and impersonal BANK. This is where I want to say, the buck stops here. We are all responsible for what's going on around us, own up to it."
    Check out and/or Order The Grapes of Wrath from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Great Cosmic Mother, rediscovering the religion of the earth by Barbara/Monica Mor/Sjoo has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Peter Delfs...and Peter has this to say about the book: "I think it talks about the Leaver culture from a femminist viewpoint if I understand it correctly. It also presents Patriarchy in a similar light as Taker culture. In Rianne Eisler's "the Chalice and the Blade" She refers to Taker culture as the dominator or androcratic mind set and paradigm. I've also heard this same idea expressed by American Indian, Poet/Activist, John Trudell. He calls it "A Predator Energy". I think Daniel Quinn, and all these other people are really talking about the same thing, even though some of the details may differ. If we just suspend those differneces for a moment and look at the bigger picture, that is to say the paradigm stripped of all our various terms we can see the commonality in all these thinkers. Anyway, I really liked the book; it pointed me towards the Chalice and the Blade, Which in turn pointed me towards Ishmael."
    Check out and/or Order The Great Cosmic Mother, rediscovering the religion of the earth from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Great Transformation by Karen Armstrong has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Harvey Latumeten...and Harvey has this to say about the book: "The Great Transformation tries to answer the question why Socrates, Buddha, Confucius, Jeremiah and Lao Tzu -among others- have such similar ideas about humanity. Unlike the Taker civilization these Axial sages put the abandonment of selfishness and the spirituality of compassion at the top of their agenda. It is just unfortunate that the Takers assimilate these ideas and render them useless so nothing ever really changes. Just like they did with the law of competition. "
    Check out and/or Order The Great Transformation from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Great Turning - from Empire to Earth Community by David Korten has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Marita Peak...and Marita has this to say about the book: "David Korten has laid out the history on the planet for the last 5000 years of empire, and the state of consciousness of the Empire builders that have held sway. His vision of earth community and it's growth is inspiring. He describes the deadly myths that support the empire builders, and the new myths that will replace them."
    Check out and/or Order The Great Turning - from Empire to Earth Community from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Great Work by Thomas Berry has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Michael Mielke...and Michael has this to say about the book: "Berry discusses the need for humanity to move from a disrupting force on the earth to a benign presence. This transitiion is the Great Work of which he speaks. The message is not one of doom, but rather one of hope. He calls upon all aspects of society to remember their function, particularly educational institutions whose role is to guide students into appreciation rather than an exploitation of the world around them."
    Check out and/or Order The Great Work from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Greatest Spiritual Secret of the Century by Thom Hartmann has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Xavier Sonnerat...and Xavier has this to say about the book: "If you ever felt a deep connection with a great spiritual force, a call to be an active agent in making the world better, then this book is for you. It is powerfully insipiring. You should read it."
    Check out and/or Order The Greatest Spiritual Secret of the Century from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce Sterling has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Jim Weiler...and Jim has this to say about the book: "If you are thinking "one way" about the Internet, and how it's used, or how to use it, this will help you to "think different." Well-written history of certain parts of the Internet, gets to origins, evolution, the way it is. The Hacker Crackdown electronic version at EFF."
    Check out and/or Order The Hacker Crackdown from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The healing energies of earth by Liz Simpson has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Pauline Perkins...and Pauline has this to say about the book: "A Note from the Author "While Earth is a separate entity to us, our bodies are comprised of and depend on the same chemical compounds that form it; we are part of Earth just as it is part of us.""
    Check out and/or Order The healing energies of earth from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Heart of America by Tim Palmer has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Stephen Pool...and Stephen has this to say about the book: "Showcases the national treasury that is America's land. Details the problems facing our environment and what we can do to help."
    Check out and/or Order The Heart of America from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Historical Jesus by John Dominic Crossan has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Shawn Sthreshley...and Shawn has this to say about the book: "Crossan presents a well researched portrait of what the real Jesus may have been like and what he may have said. Jesus' inclusive vision for peasants to eat together, support each other, and come together resonates well with Quinn's writings on the tribe. Jesus' earthy and simplistic lifestyle also may be an inspiration for those who are trying to not give into what Mother Culture preaches."
    Check out and/or Order The Historical Jesus from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Nabil Asaad...and Nabil has this to say about the book: "A really funny set of sci-fi books (now a "trilogy in five parts") that everyone should read, especially teenagers. Ishmael jogged a memory: towards the end of the second book a "more advanced" race lands on prehistoric Earth and the natives are more than happy for them to be there, if they just wouldn't mind passing their village by and leaving them alone. Needless to say they don't and push the natives out. The new race turns into modern man after a few thousand years of brainlessness. A wonderful satire that I didn't fully appreciate the first time round."
    Check out and/or Order The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot has been suggested by Ishmael Network member William Phoenix...and William has this to say about the book: "The Holographic Universe will show the scientifically minded how we are all interconnected and capable of changing our reality. This is a meme that, though self-existant, needs to be inserted into the social meme pool in order for things to change. If people know how reality and energy are structured, and the effect we have on them, then they can be more effective in creating something new, once they have walked away."
    Check out and/or Order The Holographic Universe from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Hydrogen Economy by Jeremy Rifkin has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Dave Finlay...and Dave has this to say about the book: "Rifkin shows us how how the use of fossil fuels has helped those with the locks to the food and influences geopolitics. I like his research regarding thermodynamics and how we are stealing energy from other species. He suggests that the use of hyrogen could open the door of the prison we live in if we can find a way to distribute it equally with out monoplolizing it."
    Check out and/or Order The Hydrogen Economy from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Iceman Inheritance by Michael Bradley has been suggested by Ishmael Network member John Stollmeyer...and John has this to say about the book: "Bradley gives us a possible theory of how Taker mentality arose without having to give up on the complete goodness of all humans"
    Check out and/or Order The Iceman Inheritance from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Illuminatus Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson, with Robert Shea has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Ian St. Germain...and Ian has this to say about the book: "Wilson is a brilliant mind, a brilliant satirist, a brilliant author. The Illuminatus! is heralded as "the greatest sci-fi cult novel since Dune," but that barely scratches the surface. It is also listed as a "Conspiracy Theory" book, but that doesnt even break the skin. The Illuminatus grapples with the concepts behind what is reality and what is perception. Behind who really runs things and why. It is really all about what lies ahead, just out of sight over the horizon. It changed the way i look at the world."
    Check out and/or Order The Illuminatus Trilogy from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Illustrated a Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Dameon Launert...and Dameon has this to say about the book: "This book describes in easily understood terms the history and current theories of difficult, abstract physics, including Einstein's General Relativity."
    Check out and/or Order The Illustrated a Brief History of Time from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Integral Urban House by Helga Olkowski (and others) has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Terry Shistar...and Terry has this to say about the book: "This book is out of print. It was a project of the Farallones Institute and was published by the Sierra Club in 1975. If you were going to build an urban tribe, this book would be extremely helpful. Some brief excerpts from chapter 1 will give a flavor: "The idea of the integral urban house arose from our felt need to elaborate a model life-support system that large numbers of people could use preparing for their future while simultaneously improving their daily life....Against this somber prophecy we propose tht people need to feel that they have some control over their own lives in order to come together in constructive groups to reform their communities....It is a paradox that the way to becoming more self-reliant is through increased understanding of our dependence upon the physical and biological processes of our planet and the social inventions that use them.""
    Check out and/or Order The Integral Urban House from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Invisibles: Say You Want A Revolution by Grant Morrison has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Trina Burke...and Trina has this to say about the book: "This is a compilation of the first part of an ongoing comic book series. The Invisibles are a group of anarchists (for lack of a better word) who share a vision. They are locked in battle with those who favor conformity as a way of conquering humanity. While their vision is quite different than the one hinted at in Quinn's books, it is an interesting and enjoyable read."
    Check out and/or Order The Invisibles: Say You Want A Revolution from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Stephen Kiernicki...and Stephen has this to say about the book: "The true story of man who began living in a leaver-like way and travels around teaching and inspiring. Soon however, his lifestyle becomes harder and harder as he adapts elements of primitive taker culture. Fascinating and inspirational."
    Check out and/or Order The Last American Man from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Last Days of Christ The Vampire by J.G. Eccarius has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Robert Zajac...and Robert has this to say about the book: "The relationship between Taker leadership and their subjects. The natural urge to follow youthful instinct and question or react to the dominant culture in a healthy and productive manner."
    Check out and/or Order The Last Days of Christ The Vampire from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Charlene Grainger...and Charlene has this to say about the book: "I read this before "Ishmael" and it did change my life. It meant that when I did read Ishmael, I was already familiar with the theory and historical background. "Last Hours" has an almost identical message to "Ishmael" but it's presented in a non-fiction form instead of as a novel. Good for people who might not take a fictional monkey seriously. Content-wise, it's excellent, and clearly explains the differences between Taker and Leaver culture. "
    Check out and/or Order The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Brett Potts...and Brett has this to say about the book: "In this non-fiction work, Hartmann talks about the effects "younger cultures" have had, and are still having, on the world. He explaines the differences between the younger cultures and the older, longer lived cultures which look at themselves as a part of (as opposed to a part from) Nature. Much of the material reflects (if not mirrors) Ishmael. Many references are given to eccological studies, as well as information on, and explanations of, the reasons why eccological and biological genocide spells disaster for not only our culture, but for all cultures and all species on this planet."
    Check out and/or Order The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Tegan Te-Meras...and Tegan has this to say about the book: "This is very similar in tone and vision to the DQ books, very much a call to action for all of us who are awakened, or consider ourselves on the path of change."
    Check out and/or Order The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Todd Allen Bowers...and Todd Allen has this to say about the book: "Thom Hartmann mentions Ishmael in his book. This book, while standing alone, adds many different ideas as to what the average person can do on a daily basis to make this a better world. Follows the tribal theme of the Quinn's writing. Inspirational and enlightening. A must read for those who have enjoyed Quinn."
    Check out and/or Order The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Jim Hughes...and Jim has this to say about the book: "Strongly recommended in Neale Donald Walsh's series "Conversations With God," it speaks powerfully to these same issues, from its own unique point of view."
    Check out and/or Order The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Priscilla Schaefer...and Priscilla has this to say about the book: "We have to clearly see the situation the world is in and how we got here to be able to arrive at any solutions. This book profoundly shows the first two pieces and then beautifully offers solutions that we each can do. Also read "The Prophet's Way" by the same author. These 2 books have deeply touched me."
    Check out and/or Order The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Dennie Dantis...and Dennie has this to say about the book: "I'm sure Daniel Quinn must have read it..."
    Check out and/or Order The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham by Esther Hicks has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Michael Saucy...and Michael has this to say about the book: "This book touches on concepts that delve into why people are happy. Through their descriptions of happiness you can see why people of the leaver society are happy and why it actual is possible to be happy in any society, although it takes more work in our taker society of control."
    Check out and/or Order The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Brad Austin...and Brad has this to say about the book: "I really wish this book's title started with an 'A' so it would be at the top of the list and everybody would see it. This is a work of fiction, yet no more or less than any of DQ's writings. If you do read this book, do yourself a favor and do not take it at face value."
    Check out and/or Order The Left Hand of Darkness from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Life of Mary Jemison by James E. Seaver has been suggested by Ishmael Network member K Mattern...and K has this to say about the book: "DQ mentions that the lifestyle of the Leavers is preferable to the totalitarian agricultural lifestyle of the Takers, and this book chronicles the true story of a woman taken captive by a native american tribe, who loved her life with the tribe and had no desire to return to her Taker family or culture. She walked from New York state to Tennessee while pregnant and back again with a baby and loved every minute of her life with the tribe. Later, as a widow and mother of several children, her white family persuaded her to move into an 'Indian' farming town and the tragic , miserable lifestyle of the 'farming Indians' is also described. Defection to the native lifestyle was quite common among early British colonists. This is historical narrative, by the way, not fiction. First published in 1824."
    Check out and/or Order The Life of Mary Jemison from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The little Capoeira Book by Nestor Capoeira has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Antoine Kolmel...and Antoine has this to say about the book: "Capoeira is the culture of the oppressed. Itis an art/game/dance that came about when the Africans (slaves) were mixed with the Brazilian aboriginals (slaves) by the Europeans.They were often caged together or worked side by side and they developped a pastime(past-time?)that included African movements,fighting techniques,and music.Needless to say that the Brazilians mixed in their own as well and it soon became a very developped game and tradition among this Afro-Brazilian culture (slaves). It has an intresting overview of it's historical backround and how two cultures created one that was eventually made illegal and banned because of it's power(physically and culturaly)."
    Check out and/or Order The little Capoeira Book from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Nabil Asaad...and Nabil has this to say about the book: "A look at the world through the eyes of one untainted by mother-culture and a must-read for all lovers and dreamers."
    Check out and/or Order The Little Prince from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Stephen Irvin...and Stephen has this to say about the book: "A look from outside our culture prison"
    Check out and/or Order The Little Prince from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Lives of a Cell (Notes of a Biology Watcher) by Lewis Thomas has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Marika Olson...and Marika has this to say about the book: "I believe it was Ishmael who pointed out that culture today has 'man' placed above and totally separate from 'nature,' which is, of course, an object to be controlled by us, and it should be thankful for our control, to boot. Lewis Thomas supports the view that we are a part of the world around us, and that this 'primative' thing we call nature is much more complex than some would like to believe. (Please note: I make a terrible book reviewer - just read it, it'll be well worth your time)."
    Check out and/or Order The Lives of a Cell (Notes of a Biology Watcher) from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Raleigh Walsh...and Raleigh has this to say about the book: "This book gives an interesting viewpoint on how mankind comes up with it's gods. Not like the story of be though. mostly taker gods. Different and I thought quite funny."
    Check out and/or Order The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Lucifer Principle by Howard Bloom has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Jake D...and Jake has this to say about the book: "It is an interesting view of the course of history related to natural occurrences"
    Check out and/or Order The Lucifer Principle from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Machinery of Nature by Paul Ehrlich has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Bev Courtney...and Bev has this to say about the book: "This book really opened my eyes to the living world and how it works. One of the best books on ecology around"
    Check out and/or Order The Machinery of Nature from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Marriage of Sense and Soul by Ken Wilber has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Rebecca B...and Rebecca has this to say about the book: "Presents a way to integrate science and technology with the spiritual and subjective."
    Check out and/or Order The Marriage of Sense and Soul from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Aaron Gudmunson...and Aaron has this to say about the book: "This is a refreshing retelling of the stories of "Faust" and Pontius Pilate with an outrageous cast of characters including a beautiful naked witch, a giant talking cat, and the devil himself. A work of both humor and philosophical depth, it also explores the aspects of totalitarianism, censorship, and the consequences of failing to see truth even when its placed directly in front of you."
    Check out and/or Order The Master and Margarita from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Raven Taylor...and Raven has this to say about the book: "Looking at the fact the it is only thru a relationship with yourself that you can develop a relationship with another."
    Check out and/or Order The mastery of Love from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The McDonaldization of Society by George Ritzer has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Raj Ghoshal...and Raj has this to say about the book: "This book criticizes our McDonaldized culture in which the goals of efficiency, predictability, control, and quantifiability have replaced other values. Ritzer looks at how the principles of McDonaldization have spread to education, work, recreation, etcetera. It's a critique of the highly rationalized, yet irrational, culture we live in--similar to Ishmael and B's critiques."
    Check out and/or Order The McDonaldization of Society from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Meme Machine by Susan Blackmore has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Hummer (Levi) Pleshe...and Hummer (Levi) has this to say about the book: "As Daniel says in Beyond Civilization, we only have to change a few memes to change Mother Culture, and Blackmore's book is a wonderful treatment of the world of memes. Check out the reviews at Amazon.com. Read the last chapter. Enjoy."
    Check out and/or Order The Meme Machine from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Matthew Wheat...and Matthew has this to say about the book: "Puts a hat and some hair on it, shakes it around like a pair of dice and rolls it out west."
    Check out and/or Order The Monkey Wrench Gang from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Paul Barnes...and Paul has this to say about the book: "Ed Abbey's classic about a group of radical environmentalists who spend their time travelling the southwest destroying the machinery of "progress". As it relates to the information presented in Mr. Quinn's books, I can only say that this was Mr. Abbey's character's way of creating change...by making it too expensive for the developers and miners to keep expanding over what remains of the rapidly dwindling southwest wilderness."
    Check out and/or Order The Monkey Wrench Gang from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Steve Pool...and Steve has this to say about the book: "This book details the exploits of radical George Hayduke and his group of friends that becomes the Monkeywrench Gang as the foil the ventures of big industry."
    Check out and/or Order The Monkey Wrench Gang from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Aaron Gudmunson...and Aaron has this to say about the book: "Inspired by the life of Paul Gauguin, this is a tale of a man possessed by the need to create--no matter the price to himself or others. Charles Strickland, an upstanding citizen and loving husband and father is driven to abandon his family, home, and societal station to devote himself solely to painting. Sheltering in tiny Paris studio, he fills canvas after canvas but refuses to sell or display his work. At last, poverty-striken and diseased but not dispirited, he drifts from Europe to Tahiti where, even after being blinded by leprosy, he produces his most incredible works of art."
    Check out and/or Order The Moon and Sixpence from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology by Robert Wright has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Xavier Sonnerat...and Xavier has this to say about the book: "This is an extremely well written book, combining scientific seriousness with wit and humor. It is a wonderful introduction to the theory of natural selection that gives strong insights about how and why certain traits, both physical and psychological, have been selected for our genes to be passed on from generation to generation. For psychologists in general it offers the wonderful option to solve the nature/nurture conflict. Indeed, it shows how it is the environment that selects certain genes, and then in turn how our genes can influence the environment, leading to a new selection and thus going full circle. Therefore, it becomes obvious that genes and environment are entertwined for ever, and that it is their interaction that makes us who we are. For my own purpose, it is also a wonderful tool to understand how very complex behaviors can be executed automatically (or unconsciously), either for strategic reasons or because the number of variables to consider is way too big for our limited consciousness to grasp. Indeed, haven't you ever found yourself saying "I am not sure why I did that..." or "I know it was stupid but I just could not help it..."? Evolutionary psychology is trying to understand why we sometimes feel compelled to do certain things, or why we are attracted toward certain persons, even though we are not aware of the powerful forces behind our actions. Among other things, the author presents compelling evidence about why males and females are so fundamentally different psychologically, why we feel love toward our offsprings and which ones we are likely to favor over others, why and how frienships emerge, and the role of social status in the search for a mate. Additionally, one of the most impressive things I found in the book was the explanation of the emergence and purpose of feelings. Indeed, feelings seem to be so deeply routed in our animal nature that it is extremely hard, if not impossible, for us not to react in very emotional ways in many situations. Evolutionary psychology offers a logical way for us to make sense out of this fact, and provides insights about why it is such a central part of us to feel outraged, humble, grateful, indignant, proud, etc... Do not expect to feel very good about yourself after you read this book. Indeed, the author points out that the most noble behaviors emerged for a very selfish end, that is, for our genes to be passed on to the next generation. This is why the last couple of chapters are dedicated to ethics. If you ask me, this part sounds way too patronizing for my taste, and I would have been glad to draw my own conclusions about what is to be done with the knowledge I acquired reading the book. However, it is important to note that we evolved to be moral animals; that is, we became able to be aware of unconscious forces and thus to slowly learn how to master them. Finally, the author indicates that our genes were selected in what he calls the 'ancestral environment,' when we lived in small groups in a world where the word civilization did not even exist. Thus, it allows us to understand why so many people either feel out of touch with their environment or are considered deviant. In the past our genes were selected for their fitness in a particualr environment and our children were thus fit for it as well, as the environment remained virtually the same. However, in our modern world where everything is changing so fast, the genes that had been fit for hundreds of thousands of years are now lost and clueless, and our ever changing environment is leaving us no hope to ever adapt ourselves to it. It is obviously impossible to go back to our ancestral environment for our genes to feel at home again. However, we still can stop our mad race toward destruction and allow human beings to once again feel like they are belonging to this world."
    Check out and/or Order The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

  • The Mothers by Robert Briffault has been suggested by Ishmael Network member Zoe Zuniga...and Zoe has this to say about the book: "the Mothers "A study of the origins of sentiments and institutions" is the full name matralinial origins of culture.originally over 800 pages. goes into detail about origins and structures of leaver society as well as taker. Key words included in google book search page: matrilocal, exogamy, fraternal polyandry, Tibet, Australian aborigines, J. G. Frazer, Royal Asiatic Society, W. H. R. Rivers, sororal polygyny, consanguineous, inbreeding, heredity, Melanesians, patriarchal, Herodotus, polygamous, Central Australia, British Central Africa, Brahmans, Plutarch"
    Check out and/or Order The Mothers from Amazon.com! You can also order from a local bookstore by using BookSense.

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