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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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No table of contents?!?!?

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

9 people found this helpful

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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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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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Brilliant

I had difficulty at the beginning of the book
I thought I might even return it, I lost interest but my friend who read it said to pull through a little more and I was very happy that I did

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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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great book

another great book from Pollan. The book is in 3 sections opium, caffine, mescaline. These are the only subjects of the book but explored in depth with the usual Pollan story telling making it easy to read / listen to.

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excellent book by M pollen

A fantastic audio book, very insightful and inspiring. Forever educating the public entertaining the listeners. 5 stars. Thank you

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Just brilliant.

Not just for those that will share the passages as memories of their own experiences but also for those that have not been exposed to life around these chemical compounds that are the main characters here as the book explains in detail the science and history around them and asks the reader to listen / read with care and try to make further research on the topic.
Pollan reads this book as a personal experience that it is and like so makes us part of the journey.
Just brilliant.

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Repetitive, dull and lacking in depth

I really was deeply, deeply disappointed by this book. The opium section is mindbendingly dull, with the author doing nothing but repeat his trivial worries over and over again for NINE chapters. No punch, no new information, no pay-off. Add in the fact that it was a previously published piece and you're already feeling very short-changed.

The caffeine section was a little better, with some interesting history dropped in there, but again the biographical element didn't work at all. I didn't care and I wasn't entertained.

By the time we'd got to mescaline my expectations were pretty low, and I still managed to be underwhelmed. Surface level at best. Save your money and go for something else.

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Great premise, the author is quite repetitive.

There are definitely lessons to learn from this book. I must admit though to feeling that the author runs in circles sometimes, making the same point but with different phrasing multiple times in the same way that American documentaries do. I found it to be like this for all of the book with the exception of the mescaline/peyote section. The author has a soothing voice, and the book is actually quite relaxing to listen to. I'm glad that I listened to this book, it had been on my list for quite some time, if you are struggling to finish it then please power through because the peyote section is actually fascinating.

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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.