Ishmael, a novel by Daniel Quinn
The Story of B, a novel by Daniel Quinn
My Ishmael, a novel by Daniel Quinn
Beyond Civilization, a novel by Daniel Quinn
Providence, a novel by Daniel Quinn

Welcome to the home base of Ishmael, the extraordinary gorilla teacher,
and his creator, author Daniel Quinn.

This is the rebirth of a site that grew and developed over many years following the publication of Ishmael.
It’s a virtual library of all things relating to the teacher, the book, and the author.

Here you’ll discover answers to questions that have been asked again and again:

Why a gorilla as teacher?
How do I explain to my friends what Ishmael is about?
Why is the teacher called Ishmael?
What can I as one individual do to help save the world?
Who or what is B?

This site is Daniel Quinn’s gift to all of you and his legacy – in books, essays, and speeches;
in podcasts, video, and print interviews; and in answers to hundreds of questions asked by readers around the world.

Daniel Quinn 1935 – 2018



The Mammals – Photo by Vanessa Van Burek

The Mammals have been added to MUSIC in the Inspired section of the Ishmael.org website!
Nonet is the new album created by Mike Merenda & Ruth Ungar of The Mammals.
Many songs on the album were inspired by Ishmael.
We’re thrilled to feature The Mammals and their incredible music!

Listen to Beyond Civilization

For more, click HERE and scroll to MUSIC!

Custom Ishmael artwork by @ishmael.lords is in the Shop!

Your purchase helps keep the website running and proceeds are also shared with
Cultural Survival & Survival International, organizations that work with and for indigenous peoples. Thank you!


“Among the people of your culture, which want to destroy the world?”
“As far as I know, no one specifically wants to destroy the world.”

“And yet you do destroy it, each of you. Each of you contributes daily to
the destruction of the world. Why don’t you stop?”
I shrugged. “Frankly, we don’t know how.”

“You’re captives of a civilizational system that more or less compels you
to go on destroying the world in order to live.”
“Yes, that’s the way it seems.”


“Readers of Ishmael often assume that I must be a great lover of nature.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I’m a great lover of the world, which is something quite different.
Nature is a figment of the Romantic imagination, and a very insidious figment at that.

There simply is no such thing as nature –
in the sense of a realm of being from which humans can distinguish themselves.
It just doesn’t exist.”


“If the world is saved, it will be saved by people with changed minds,
people with a new vision.

It will not be saved by people with old minds and new programs.
It will not be saved by people with the old vision but a new program.”

The Story of B

“We can’t wait for our national leaders to save us .

When all we demand from them (or even tolerate from them)
are instant, short-term gains,
why would they suddenly begin thinking like global visionaries?”

Beyond Civilization

“Of course when the people of your culture look at tribal peoples,
they don’t see wealth of any kind, they see poverty.

This is understandable, since the only kind of wealth
they recognize is the kind that can be locked up,
and tribal peoples are not much interested in that kind.”

My ishmael

“The Takers accumulate knowledge about what works well for things.

The Leavers accumulate knowledge about what works well for people.”


“When our children start becoming murderers,
we typically don’t wonder what’s wrong with the system
that’s turning them INTO murderers,
we wonder what’s wrong with THEM.”

Daniel Quinn, from the speech The Human Future: A Problem in Design

“One of the great, persistent myths of education in our culture is that
children become reluctant learners as they grow older.

In fact, what they become reluctant about
is going to school, where they’re bullied, regimented, bored silly,
and very effectively prevented from learning.”

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