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Entangled Life

How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures
Narrated by: Merlin Sheldrake
Length: 9 hrs and 32 mins
4.9 out of 5 stars (81 ratings)

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Summary

There is a lifeform so strange and wondrous that it forces us to rethink how life works....

Neither plant nor animal, it is found throughout the earth, the air and our bodies. It can be microscopic, yet also accounts for the largest organisms ever recorded, living for millennia and weighing tens of thousands of tonnes. Its ability to digest rock enabled the first life on land, it can survive unprotected in space and it thrives amidst nuclear radiation. 

In this captivating adventure, Merlin Sheldrake explores the spectacular and neglected world of fungi: endlessly surprising organisms that sustain nearly all living systems. They can solve problems without a brain, stretching traditional definitions of ‘intelligence’, and can manipulate animal behaviour with devastating precision.  

In giving us bread, alcohol and life-saving medicines, fungi have shaped human history, and their psychedelic properties, which have influenced societies since antiquity, have recently been shown to alleviate a number of mental illnesses. The ability of fungi to digest plastic, explosives, pesticides and crude oil is being harnessed in break-through technologies, and the discovery that they connect plants in underground networks, the ‘Wood Wide Web’, is transforming the way we understand ecosystems. Yet they live their lives largely out of sight, and more than 90 percent of their species remain undocumented. 

Entangled Life is a mind-altering journey into this hidden kingdom of life and shows that fungi are key to understanding the planet on which we live and the ways we think, feel and behave. The more we learn about fungi, the less makes sense without them.

©2020 Merlin Sheldrake (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"A dazzling, vibrant, vision-changing book. Sentence after sentence stopped me short. I ended it wonderstruck at the fungal world. A remarkable work by a remarkable writer." (Robert MacFarlane, author of Underland)

What listeners say about Entangled Life

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Wonderful

A low impact exposition into a mostly hidden world, written and narrated with a clear love for the subject matter. The hard copy includes a long list of references and colour pictures to allow you to further investigate the subject.

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Brilliant book, beautifully read by the author

This is a fascinating book. It has been written so well, and is so packed with facts about fungi , that it deserves multiple re-listens. The author has a beautiful voice and narrates at just the perfect pace. And he does not pronounce fungi as “funguy”. Hallelujah.

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Essential Reading

Anyone with any interest at all in biology, plants, animals, nutrition, this is a wonderful, explosive book is essential reading. Sheldrake’s poetic and philosophical take on cutting edge science is a tonic. I’ve just finished the audiobook. I’m going, for the first time with any book, right back to listen to the whole thing again.

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Fantastic!

Can't help but be bemushroomed even deeper after finishing this book. Wonderfully put together and enlightening.

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MUSH LOVE!

Read this book, it's beautiful. I've just finished and I'm starting the second go round.

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amazingly fascinating 👌

loved it amazing information put together clearly and organised in a very good manner i highly recommended for anyone who enjoys mycology

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Informative educational and enjoyable

An amazing introduction to the world of fungi amd a great overview came here after reading robert macfarlene and glad i did especially in autumn when I have mushrooms on the mind and now brewing and yeast on my brain thanks merlin this book was mucking fagic

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Pure Genius

Terrance McKenna would have enjoyed this masterpiece. Congratulations Merlin. I have been inspired by your father for many years . Opening the doors to this world has never been detailed and explained in such a way before. Keep up the work and please write a book on the right mushrooms to experience the new world. best Adam

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Fascinating book, full of facts and anecdotes.

Really enjoyed this book, even if the narrator was a bit slow. The book did wonder around a bit, but just as you were wondering what was coming next, another mushroom related story would start.

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Holistic Science at its Best

“Entangled Life” is like the very best of Richard Dawkins in its vivid portrayal of the fascinating complexity of organisms, in this case fungi. What marks this book out as something more however, is Sheldrake’s holistic focus on the networks of interdependence, communication and manipulation actively mediated by fungi - one manifestation being the “Wood Wide Web”. Historically humans are deeply entangled too, from the hunting of truffles, to the brewing of alcoholic drinks, to the shamanic use of psilocybin mushrooms. Fungi now may literally save the world! Their mycelia can be grown to replace plastics, wood, concrete, leather - almost any material, from waste products, as well as consuming pollutants such as oil, or toxic chemicals, even radioactive nuclides. They can combat pathogenic viruses and bacteria too, such as those killing the bees. Their usefulness is hugely under-appreciated. The biology is nicely interspersed with biographical descriptions, such as his stay with Terence McKenna, and conversations with Paul Stamets, as well as the sensory delights of immersion in a hot Japanese bath of fermenting wood shavings, diving into mouldering leaf piles, sniffing the ground for truffles or thrusting your face into clusters of flowers. Read by the author, there was something almost musical or poetic about this book, yet the science is flawless. It held for me both an intellectual fascination as well as being a imaginative sensory experience.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-10-20

Remarkable and genius

I really enjoy the scientific, philosophical, enthusiastic approach on this subject. It was a really fascinating experience for me