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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

Of all the many things humans rely on plants for, surely the most curious is our use of them to change consciousness: to stimulate, calm, or completely alter the qualities of our mental experience. In This Is Your Mind on Plants, Michael Pollan explores three very different drugs - opium, caffeine and mescaline - and throws the fundamental strangeness of our thinking about them into sharp relief. Exploring and participating in the cultures that have grown up around these drugs, while consuming (or in the case of caffeine, trying not to consume) them, Pollan reckons with the powerful human attraction to psychoactive plants and the equally powerful taboos.

In a unique blend of history, science, memoir and reportage, Pollan shines a fresh light on a subject that is all too often treated reductively. In doing so, he proves that there is much more to say about these plants than simply debating their regulation, for when we take them into our bodies and let them change our minds, we are engaging with nature in one of the most profound ways we can. This groundbreaking and singular book holds up a mirror to our fundamental human needs and aspirations, the operations of our minds and our entanglement with the natural world.

©2021 Michael Pollan (P)2021 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about This Is Your Mind on Plants

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-09-21

INTERESTING, WELL READ BUT LACKING

I really enjoyed the author's last book "how to change your mind" and was looking forward to another trip into the fascinating world of psychoactive plants. This book is very interesting and does have a lot of eye-opening information. However, I felt it fell short of its predecessor. Possibly due to the pandemics travel restrictions etc, which are mentioned many times as causes for the author's plans being changed/abandoned. I feel the book would have benefited from waiting out the restrictions and continuing a little deeper into the rabbit hole. Also releasing the coffee section early and free for audible members, took a big chunk out of the finished book.

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  • Jeffrey Kendall
  • 10-07-21

A wonderful book, once again.

I really enjoy Pollan's style and how he intertwines various plants into a narrative.

This is a fascinating look at the criminal war on drugs, the amazing power of caffine and gave me a beautiful new perspective on peyote.

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  • Tout en chantant
  • 08-07-21

No table of contents?!?!?

Unacceptable that they should, in this day and age, publish an audiobook without a table of contents!!!

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  • James K.
  • 11-07-21

Another great book from Pollan

This book explores two subjects that I have not given much thought to and one that I think about constantly.

The material is interesting, peppered with interviews and read as only an author can read their book.

For me, the chapter on caffeine seemed quite light, likely because I have already researched coffee a fair bit. (I would like to point out that although Pollen makes the point that growers make barely any money, the process from bean to cup accounts for a lot of different costs, and if the café is charging a sensible premium then the costs to get the coffee to you do make up 98%< of the cost and are warranted.)

Additionally I feel like, although Pollan points out the difference between cultural appropriation and the use of peyote (diminishing supply for native Americans). The use of the term is self reinforcing its use in culture - cultures have borrowed and changed each others customs for melania and the current narrative that this is a bad thing only serves to demonise those who a bad actor wishes to dispense with.

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  • Jamie O'Shaughnessy
  • 18-07-21

Interesting, but not as good as How to change your mind

I’ve very much enjoyed Michael Pollan’s books and this is a great read too - or great reading by the author I should say. It’s a nice accompaniment to his previous book, How to Change Your Mind, which I highly recommend. However, a bit shorter, a bit lighter, it just wasn’t as deep or good. One chapter being a previously published article, was this a bit of a rushed book through the pandemic? It seems like it. Worth reading but I feel there was more in the author.

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  • Madeleine Scarlett-Smith
  • 05-09-21

A gentle, humane ride

What a pleasure it is to spend several hours in Michael Pollan’s company as he walks us through the history and impact of these fascinating plants. The writing is excellent, as usual. I could have listened to many more minutes.

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  • Anand Kothari
  • 11-01-22

Fantastic

A fantastic and interesting book - learnt so many new things. The parts on caffeine and mescaline were great - amazing to see how they have affected our lives! The narrator was also excellent.

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  • Rushe B.
  • 07-01-22

A must read!

An amazing read! Deeply interesting, a can-not-put-the-book-down experience! Grasping the whole human history of plant medicine, while also allowing you to make up your mind.

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  • Pollyanna
  • 29-12-21

Curious about caffeine

Michael Pollan was made to narrate his stories! A wonderful listen. The story itself: a social history of caffeine opium and mescaline (from peyote) is varied. There’s some limited self awareness of a white researcher/ writer investigating indigenous medicine and what that means and some distinction given to western (scientific) epistemology vs the multiplicity of indigenous ways of knowing, though a detailed reflection on this did feel somewhat limited. The chapters on caffeine and opium are, however, very very intriguing and worth a listen. Though listen with a wider curiosity - this is one man’s account, after all.

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  • Jim Vaughan
  • 12-11-21

Unexpected Perspectives

I enjoyed this book as much as “How to Change Your Mind”, in its thoughtful and unusual take on the dangers of being raided by a SWAT team and the DEA for having poppies in your garden, Caffeine as the psychoactive stimulus for the Enlightenment, and the healing that Peyote has brought to Native American culture, and the re-traumatising threat of the cacti’s extinction by white psychonauts.

Pollen makes a powerful case against the counterproductive blunt instrument of the “War on Drugs”, as well as the traumatic damage our insensitivity to the cultural appropriation of the sacraments of ancient cultures can cause.

I also love books read by the author, and his first hand subjective experiences of the effects of these plants is related with wit and insight.

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  • Richard McFerran
  • 04-10-21

Superb...

The writing and delivery of this book are excellent.

Having listened to over 200 audible titles I can say that this book clearly makes my top 10.

I have listened to and kept 200 titles, I return books that do not meet my high expectations, so to get into my top 10 is difficult. Most books I have kept, I have rated 5-star as they have been excellent in every way. Therefore, I consider this book to be 6-star material.

Now for my next listen, another Michael Pollan book, Food Rules.

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  • ThatPersonOverThere
  • 20-08-21

Gripping as ever

I'm a true Pollan fan and this book did not disappoint. a fascinating read I could barely put down and got through quickly. I was surprised and shocked though at his frequent reference to "American Indians" a term I understood to be considered racist now.

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  • Dean Simpson c/o OnBoard Media
  • 13-07-21

Right under your nose

Amazing to think so many mysterious plants are manipulating us more than were manipulating them in this codependent relationship right under our noses. If we made so many questionable decisions in the past, you have to wonder how what we are doing today will be judged by our grand children's children. I'm decided to reduce my caffeine, drink more tea, grow poppies for spring colour and find a san pedro cutting, just to look and respect it.

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  • Jeff Northam
  • 01-10-21

a story that needs to be told

I loved this book, and I feel the time is right for all to read this.

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  • JayD
  • 24-09-21

Quite engaging

I’m generally not a fan of authors reading their own works, particularly American authors but for this book I think it’s necessary. Michael Pollan’s narration is very much like his writing - an informal style that carries the story along without being self-indulgent. Very engaging.

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  • Jared Slight
  • 14-09-21

Remarkable Insights in to plants

Thoroughly enjoyed the story telling and facts about plants. Caffeine was especially great. Definitely worth a listen!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-08-21

Fascinating beyond belief!

What an incredible personal narrative, performance and history lesson from Michael Pollan, a true journalist!

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  • Book Lover
  • 19-08-21

Entertaining and educational

Loved it. Michael is easy to listen to, the stories entertaining and the historical data fascinating.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-08-21

A must listen

Loved it and really liked that Michael Pollan narrated it himself. I'd like it of he extended the book to include other psychedelics like dmt and magic shrooms.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-08-21

Informative and Enlightening

Michael Pollan is as captivating a narrator as he is an author. Highly recommended this fantastic read.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-08-21

Interesting, personal, risky.

Loved how honest and open the author was with his DIY experiments. Also loved the stories backed-up by good science and cultural research.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-08-21

!!!!

another outstanding book from Michael pollan every easy to listen and intriguing as always

1 person found this helpful