Listen free for 30 days

Other Minds

The Octopus and The Evolution of Intelligent Life
Narrated by: Peter Noble
Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (837 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

A philosopher dons a wet suit and journeys into the depths of consciousness.

Peter Godfrey-Smith is a leading philosopher of science. He is also a scuba diver whose underwater videos of warring octopuses have attracted wide notice. In this audiobook he brings his parallel careers together to tell a bold new story of how nature became aware of itself.

Mammals and birds are widely seen as the smartest creatures on earth. But one other branch of the tree of life has also sprouted surprising intelligence: the cephalopods, consisting of the squid, the cuttlefish, and above all the octopus. New research shows that these marvellous creatures display remarkable gifts.

What does it mean that intelligence on Earth has evolved not once but twice? And that the mind of the octopus is nonetheless so different from our own? Combining science and philosophy with firsthand accounts of his cephalopod encounters, Godfrey-Smith shows how primitive organisms bobbing in the ocean began sending signals to each other and how these early forms of communication gave rise to the advanced nervous systems that permit cephalopods to change colours and human beings to speak.

By tracing the problem of consciousness back to its roots and comparing the human brain to its most alien and perhaps most remarkable animal relative, Godfrey-Smith's Other Minds sheds new light on one of our most abiding mysteries.

©2017 Peter Godfrey-Smith (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Other Minds

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    541
  • 4 Stars
    211
  • 3 Stars
    70
  • 2 Stars
    14
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    548
  • 4 Stars
    159
  • 3 Stars
    25
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    472
  • 4 Stars
    165
  • 3 Stars
    76
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

stunning look at the evolution of thinking...

loved every word of it. great subject lovingly narrated. For any one interested in thought, neuroscience and potentilly for bionics/robotics some great ideas to traverse andcombine. Why? all great structures and strategies are first invented in nature - if it's not broken..? So here is the fundemental patterning of thought through evolution. A demonstration of thought patterning in animals up to and including human minds. Interested to know where and who runs with these ideas and grows them forward in diffrent ways, especially in robotics...thanks to both Peters for bringing this to life

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The extraordinary octopus

A profoundly fascinating and thought provoking study of this group of animals, based on close personal observation in the oceans and scientific understanding. It provides lessons that apply to the future of he human race and all species.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Sentience and wonder

This is a wonderful book about the often underestimated genius of the seas that is the octopus. Complex, beautiful, private and highly intelligent creatures with boneless bodies which move more gracefully through the sea than any other marine creature, the octopus is here celebrated as the marvel it truly is in aesthetic as well as scientific terms. An absolute joy to read. The kind of book that should make a difference to this creature's survival and, with luck, an end to their being hunted for food.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A great read with a wide variety of thoughts.

Loaded with factual detail and historical references but also added occasional narratives on real life encounters and experiences. Challenging and thought provoking. So good I would read it again one day!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A cephalopod love story

It's clear that Peter Godfrey-Smith holds a special place in his heart for these unusual and enigmatic creatures. The book discusses the science of intelligence through our relationship to cephalopods. It's interesting, enlightening and often challenges our preconceptions. I cant speak for the writer's scientific rigour; he definitely allows himself to personify these animals to a certain extent... that being said, these colourful desriptions are always backed up with an academic discussion. All in all I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in natural science.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing

Well researched and perfectly presented. A fascinating combination of evolutionary biology (not my interest at all but the author managed to make it very interesting) and philosophy of mind and their intersection occurring in the sea and ourselves. With crazy anecdotes and stories it makes for a terrific listen/read

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Mind Opening....

I am delighted by the narration by Peter Noble and that was my primary reason for listening - to his voice. Then l was captivated by the unfolding story of the mind or rather the intelligence of Octapus and cuttlefish. I learnt such a lot. If you are interested in the amazingness of evolution then this is a compulsive listen. It is rather technical but in an easy to absorb flow.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

extraordinary & relatable creatures

"Octopuses are not monogamous, have sporadic sex lives and do not appear to be particularly social." That description had me hooked and it just went uphill from there rly. The narration is great, the writing is accessible, stylish and funny and the subject fascinating. One of my new fav audiobooks.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Other-mind-blowing

Excellent & well-flowing history of intelligence in the ocean. I had no idea octopuses and their cephalopod cousins had such depth. Highly recommended. 🐙

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Inspiring

Even though some parts of the book require accute focus, both the narrative and the narrator, provide a very positive experience. The last two chapters are deeply interesting and inspiring.

4 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Matt
  • Matt
  • 04-08-20

An interesting and thought provoking book.

I have been thinking about some of the topics and ideas from this book since starting it and I expect for some time. I feel much better informed about cephalopods, and this book fit well my my general interest in consciousness. the narrator was an excellent choice.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Chris C
  • Chris C
  • 24-10-18

amazing world of the octopus

You wouldn't think we'd have that much in common with something that lives in the ocean but the reality is we absolutely do. This is beautifully written and read, it's compelling and curious with a wonderful. You can learn a lot about humanity and evolution from this book and I recommend it.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Al
  • Al
  • 27-03-17

A Cephalopod Love Story

Some quite interesting info in parts of the text. Generally too speculative and wishy washy to receive a higher score. A philosopher's work of science rather than a scientist's work of science. Comes across as someone playing at being Edward O. Wilson out of an emphatuation with octopi but lacking the expertise to pull it off.

1 person found this helpful