The end credits for the 1999 film Instinct, starring Anthony Hopkins and Cuba Gooding Jr., indicate that it is inspired by Ishmael. Daniel Quinn did not approve of the script or movie before transferring the rights, which were transferred as part of the Turner Award, though he may have had some minor input on the script, though to a degree he personally considered trivial. The movie and book share no common story elements, and the philosophical connection to the book is reduced to some pictorial format and a few seconds of on-screen dialogue.
Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam has cited the book as an influence on their album, Yield. Quinn responds to the album's significance in relation to the book on his website.
In Rise Against's album The Sufferer and The Witness, Ishmael is on the album notes' recommended reading list.
The song "The Taker Story" on Chicano Batman's 2017 album Freedom is Free describes the global colonization of the "Taker" societies based on the use of the term in Ishmael.