Author Topic: Beyond civilization : humanity's next great adventure - Daniel Quinn.  (Read 1074 times)


  • Walrus Stache
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Ishmael by Daniel Quinn was reviewed recently and I thought that before I dismissed this author completely, I would read the other book my library had by him.

This is in a completely different format to Ishmael - each page has a topic at the top and expounds on the topic for a page or less, whereas Ishmael is like Aristotele's Sophocles. This makes the book very bitty, but it enables you to pick it up and put it down whenever you feel like it.

I found it even worse than Ishmael. Daniel has a theory that the world is made up of takers (bad people - crop farmers) and leavers(good people - pastoralists). Archeologists seem to have found that pastoralists have created much more desert than crop farmers, and environmentalists have found that the more meat we eat, the more intensive farming and the more farm land we require. So I think that the labels are the wrong way round.

Anyway, in Beyond Civilisation, Daniel takes this hypothesis further, and suggests ways for us to become leavers again. We should all become tribal. Unfortunately most tribes do not want new members from outside. We can make our own tribes. His central example is a newspaper he sets up with some other people, in a tribal way - and he does the advertising! Now, for a book about future sustainability to use examples like this beggars belief.


  • Magnum Stache
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I enjoyed beyond civilization. I don't think you have to accept or agree with the author's main message to get something out of the book, and his example of the newspaper got me thinking about the ways that a business provides more than just cash-flow for its employees. (I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with advertising, either, for that matter.)

Bring on the Daniel Quinn threads, though!