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How to Change Your Mind

Written by: Michael Pollan
Narrated by: Michael Pollan
Length: 13 hrs and 35 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of How to Change Your Mind, written and read by Michael Pollan. 

When LSD was first discovered in the 1940s, it seemed to researchers, scientists and doctors as if the world might be on the cusp of psychological revolution. It promised to shed light on the deep mysteries of consciousness as well as offer relief to addicts and the mentally ill. But in the 1960s, with the vicious backlash against the counterculture, all further research was banned. In recent years, however, work has quietly begun again on the amazing potential of LSD, psilocybin and DMT. Could these drugs in fact improve the lives of many people? 

Diving deep into this extraordinary world and putting himself forward as a guinea pig, Michael Pollan has written a remarkable history of psychedelics and a compelling portrait of the new generation of scientists fascinated by the implications of these drugs. How to Change Your Mind is a report from what could very well be the future of human consciousness.

©2018 Michael Pollan (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd

Critic Reviews

"His approach is steeped in honesty and self-awareness. His cause is just, his thinking is clear, and his writing is compelling." (Washington Post)

"An easy-going humane generosity...mischievous self-regard...as if Henry David Thoreau had had an encounter with Woody Allen and never been quite the same since." (Simon Schama)

What members say

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An eye opener!

Simply amazing... especially last few chapters. I have come to know so much. Thank you audible.

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Interesting story and very informative

Finished pretty easily. Interested in looking at more research books by the author now. The science of psychadelics is discussed, but isn't too difficult to follow. Easy recommendation if the subject matter interests you.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-07-18

A stunning summary of all things psychedelic

Michael Pollan has gathered a vast knowledge of psychedelic history, science and experience. He weaves this together in a deeply interesting and entertaining way. thank you!

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  • cristhian burgos
  • 29-11-19

Brilliantly relatable

First, the author reads it himself. Second, thank you. An honest, unbiased journalistic aproach to a thorny subject.

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  • L
  • 02-07-19

excellent and educational

this was great book. I was interested then obsessed. then converted. having had a die from cancer I could relate and see potential for palliative reasons

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  • Jukka
  • 04-04-19

Intriguing

Some very interesting stuff about psychedelics written mostly in a quite objective manner. Interesting times ahead.

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  • Fernanda Calixto Cabral
  • 21-02-19

Amazing book!

Micheal Pollan writes about the history of psychedelics and his personal experiences with great detail and care. Very informative but also touching book.
I recommend it for anyone seeking ways to open the mind and rethink what the human conscious mean. Great read!

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  • Philomath
  • 10-12-18

What happens when the ego leaves

In a typical Michael Pollan engaging style the history and experience of psychedelic substances is brought to the forefront. From Magic Mashrooms, to LSD, MDT, and MESCALINE. These are chemicals produced in nature that tap in to the depths of the mind.

The author explains these hallucinogenics and the life changing experiences it produces in people that take them, for the most cases positive. They have been banned from scientific study for over 40 years where they went underground, but now are making a resurgence as an alternative in psychotherapy, and proving to have a wealth of benefits in studying the mind.

This book also shows the struggle between the science and the use of the psychedelic drugs for the study of the mind, and their use as vehicle for spiritual journeys ones that reveal the mind and consciousness as only one aspect of many states. The ego is always in control. As the author explains this “the ego” somehow deflates and in some cases fizzles away providing an experience of oneness with everyone and everything.

When Silicon Valley is micro-dosing for creativity one wonders what else this is good for. A well written book about a subject that has been taboo in society and science for far too long. A highly recommended read.

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  • Ursula
  • 22-10-18

A real education

This is a superb book, which deals with a subject loaded with preconception with scientific and investigative rigor, beautiful language, and an honesty and feeling that is very touching. well done to Michael Pollan on a subject well researched and artfully presented. and to the narrator on a great job conveying it!

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  • Jaime
  • 26-08-18

Well done. A must read

A fantastic, equally objective journey into psychedelics for our collective betterment. Bravo, Michael Pollan. The narration (by the author) is also excellent.

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  • Jerome
  • 26-07-18

Amazing book...I felt every bit of the experience.

wait wait wait wait...let me see how I can describe this....engaging, informative and extremely entertaining...🎤

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  • Mary Ann Cullinan
  • 25-07-18

A trustworthy and excellently researched book

Took away loads of new information, as well insights applicable for my own experiential journeys in this domain.
The author is a born narrator (as well as a compelling writer).

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-07-18

life changing

Life changing, revolutionary, witty and self effacing but underpinned by scientific study and historical exposition. This book is essential reading, an eloquent and entertaining starting point for further research and exploration. recommended for anyone wishing to progress in their understanding of cognition, and break through the rigid barriers imposed ruthlessly by age.

This book is also a glimmer of hope for people affected by mental health disorders, or find themselves lost in endless cycles (spirals) of rumination and fixation.

if your cynicism or skepticism is putting you off consider this:

The FDA(!) is one of the main institutions driving this research, forced into a more progressive stance given the terrible state of mental health care in the USA .

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  • Natalia
  • 23-05-18

an absolute must.

at last a broad scope well researched and written review of important subject that we denied by the misguided establishment.

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  • Emily Labram
  • 17-09-18

Fascinating and inspiring listen

I just loved this book. It brought the world of psychedelic research to life, a world completely unknown to me. And then the author's own journey with psychedelic medicines was also thrilling and relatable. The book has kindled in me a newfound interest in fungi of all kinds and left me impressed by the potential of these unique substances, and the insights they offer. A masterpiece of journalism and a brave and important memoir.

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  • Andrei Bolkonski
  • 10-08-19

Excellent and, punnily enough, mind changing book!

Like the author himself was, I'm a pretty staunch materialist and have always been skeptical about drugs. I've also been fed my fair share of propaganda against LSD and psychedelics, on the claim that it would make you go insane.

So I was pretty reluctant to read/listen to this book, but I was going to have to discuss it with friends so on I went.

It didn't take long for me to realize how insightful and fascinating this book is. Whatever your stance or intent re psychedelics, I'd say its well worth a read in a purely academic sense. The thesis idea surrounding the default mode network in our brains as the gestalt cause for overthinking, ruminating, and the ensuins mental pain, is in itself well worth the price and your time.

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  • Daniel
  • 25-11-18

Well told, while offering refreshing perspectives

With a super narrator, how to change you're mind tells the story of psychadellics in a captivating way that often offered me nuggets of "aha" moments, exciting insights into research and left me with the feeling of "hm, maybe it's time I try".
I warmly recommend it.

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  • Phillip
  • 28-09-18

loved this book from start to finish

It is so easy to listen to Michael Pollan, I learned so much from this book. If this is a subject that interests you I highly recommend listening to this book its amazing :)

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  • WH Humphreys
  • 06-04-20

Important and timely survey

This is surely destined for classic status. A humane, considered and detailed overview of the state of psychedelic science, taking in the history, medicine and social movements, shot through with first-hand experience. Superbly read by the author. Highly recommended.

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  • J. Drew
  • 05-04-20

How taking a trip could save your life and change your sanity

Michael Pollan is the famous food writer who is most famous for the dietary advice phrase “eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. So it might come as a surprise, that when aged 60 he wanted to explore the possible healing and restorative powers of psychedelics. He hadn’t really taken any substances and thought at 60 he didn’t have much to lose. The book describes in detail the effects of four different drugs that include LSD, psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) and an extract derived from a desert toad. He brilliantly describes the impact of psychedelic drugs and how they change reality and perceptions (including in one trip being reborn).

However, this isn’t just about what they might do to a person’s mind but also how they might be used to heal. We know that the current medication is used for depression and anxiety such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) aren't suitable for everyone and don’t always work working because so many young people continue to commit suicide and anxiety and depression appear to be on the increase. So perhaps we should look at something else and psychedelics substance could be the answer and we should be looking at them. Everything from post traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse (strangely enough and one cessation is smoking programme had an 80% success rate), and even terminal diagnosis where people can find peace through guided trips. And sometimes this impact can occur after one single trip or psychedelic experience so does not need to be repeated. And psychedelics aren’t addictive and actually quite safe - safer than alcohol.

The book also discusses the history of psychedelics, once legal and a large amount of research that was done prior to the 60s and Timothy Leary‘s involvement which changed their perception in society’s eyes. As someone who might have taken some of the substances when I was younger, you really can’t explain the psychedelic experience but this book comes close. A really fascinating book. However, be warned, you might want to take a psychedelic trip after reading a book.

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  • Legaloracle
  • 26-03-20

Fascinating

Love an audio book that’s so well read by its author.

Great book, thank you

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  • Robin R.
  • 13-02-20

Fascinating Journey in the Mind

I got a lot out of this book. The information helped reinforce some knowledge I already had and also introduced me to new ideas.
I was fascinated by the journey the writer had embarked upon. At a time in his life when many people are putting on their slippers and sitting by the fire, he journeyed to the inner realms of his mind as he investigated the effects of different psychedelics on the performance of the mind. In the book he discoverers the research carried out in the 50s and 60s, before the drugs were made illegal, and found many beneficial effects on mental health that were being explored.
A good listen.

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  • Dean Travers
  • 12-01-19

Stay with it, it's worth it

This is a great book. The author approaches a touchy subject well, not being taken away by the "change the world" hype but being honest enough to submit himself to the experience of psychedelics. The first half of the book is reserved for the recent history of psychedelics (mainly in the US) and is quite wonkish. The second half takes the reader on a journey of what positive effects these drugs could have for individuals and society, touching on the underlying neuroscience (the role of the default mode network is fascinating), all the while punctuated by the author recounting his own experiences on the drugs. The subject touches on so many interesting areas including neuroscience, mental health and the nature of the self and consciousness. Also a good listen is the podcast interview of the author by Sam Harris in May 2018.

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  • James
  • 14-06-18

Brilliant

I cannot begin to explain just how good this book is. The subject matter is so well researched. The writing style is amazing and Michael Pollan as narrator is just fantastic. As a trainee psychiatrist, I learnt so much more about my profession and yes, got a little bit excited about about what this means for our profession and for our patients (and for the rest of humanity).

I'll be listening to this one again for sure. Absolutely the best book I've listened to this year, hands down.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-08-18

An eye opening listen

Absolutely loved it, found myself putting it on wherever I could. Have and would reccomend it to anyone

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-06-18

Dive Deeper

Pollons voice as he recounts us with the history of phycadelic research and the re-awakening of phycadelic assisted therapy is almost intoxicating in its self, Creating a desire to learn more.

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  • Mike
  • 10-06-18

The Best Book i have ever read

Times are changing and this book has come at the perfect time. like my heading says.. its the best.
Get it, you wont be disappointed.. The peoples accounts of their trips alone have impacted me in a way that I don't think I need to try psychedelics. Thank you Michael Pollan. 5 stars.

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  • Shae Hunter
  • 13-02-20

Wow - paradigm shifting

Michael Pollan narrates his own book so beautifully. I started out somewhat naive and cynical, reading (or listening) this book but Pollan’s narrative is powerful and truly did change my mind. Its balance of science, history and lived experience of psychedelics make for a compelling and fascinating read. I loved it!!!!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-01-20

About time this is out

Well narrated and factually written book. We will look back on this as a classic and another great part of the shift in the movement of natural medicines.

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  • Edmund Tyminski
  • 12-01-20

Mind blown

Wow this audio book was a real eye opener, I really enjoyed it.
It completely changed my mind about psychedelics.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-01-20

A must read for everyone!

Very insightful book on the use of psychedelics for depression and also some interesting facts about the latest studies and trend on the subject.

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  • Kaleb Peters
  • 13-12-19

A brilliant account

A complete overview of everything psychedelic. From history to present to future.

The section on history drags on a little bit and is quite dense, but therefore proves extremely informative, as does the rest of the book.

Michael Pollan is charming and witty, whilst still remaining professional. He is objective and scientific, but not at all scared to step into speculation or other uncharted territory.

I looked forward to every spare moment I got to continue listening, and am already purchasing another book by Pollan.