The instant New York Times bestseller | A Washington Post Notable Book | One of NPR's Best Books of the Year
“Expert storytelling . . . [Pollan] masterfully elevates a series of big questions about drugs, plants and humans that are likely to leave readers thinking in new ways.”—New York Times Book Review
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Pollan, a radical challenge to how we think about drugs, and an exploration into the powerful human attraction to psychoactive plants—and the equally powerful taboos.
Of all the things humans rely on plants for—sustenance, beauty, medicine, fragrance, flavor, fiber—surely the most curious is our use of them to change consciousness: to stimulate or calm, fiddle with or completely alter, the qualities of our mental experience. Take coffee and tea: People around the world rely on caffeine to sharpen their minds. But we do not usually think of caffeine as a drug, or our daily use as an addiction, because it is legal and socially acceptable. So, then, what is a “drug”? And why, for example, is making tea from the leaves of a tea plant acceptable, but making tea from a seed head of an opium poppy a federal crime?
In This Is Your Mind on Plants, Michael Pollan dives deep into three plant drugs—opium, caffeine, and mescaline—and throws the fundamental strangeness, and arbitrariness, 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. Why do we go to such great lengths to seek these shifts in consciousness, and then why do we fence that universal desire with laws and customs and fraught feelings?
In this unique blend of history, science, and memoir, as well as participatory journalism, Pollan examines and experiences these plants from several very different angles and contexts, and shines a fresh light on a subject that is all too often treated reductively—as a drug, whether licit or illicit. But that is one of the least interesting things you can say about these plants, Pollan shows, 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. Based in part on an essay published almost twenty-five years ago, this groundbreaking and singular consideration of psychoactive plants, and our attraction to them through time, holds up a mirror to our fundamental human needs and aspirations, the operations of our minds, and our entanglement with the natural world.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
When Michael Pollan talks about a “natural high,” he isn’t being abstract. After exploring psychedelic drugs in his bestseller How to Change Your Mind, the science journalist turns to the plant world, digging deeper into how organic chemicals found in nature can shape our consciousness. Pollan offers up surprising case studies on three substances with radically different reputations: opium, caffeine, and mescaline. As usual, Pollan takes his research personally. He grows poppies, abstains from coffee, and takes part in a Native American peyote ceremony, mixing science and history to examine—and often explode—popular perceptions about each plant. Throughout, Pollan’s unguarded responses to everything he encounters makes his mind-altering journey a fun, intimate audio experience that feels like a conversation with a friend. He’s a great reader—you can hear his excitement and trepidation at every moment of his long, strange trip. Listening to this audiobook will give you a newfound respect for Mother Nature.
This is your mind on plants
My sound quality is perfect on my iPad. When I originally started it was set to 3/4 speed, which was a little slow. I changed it to 1 and all is well. Recommend and believe we all need to understand what we eat and how it affects us.
Great book with no audio issues
I saw a number of reviewing saying there were audio issues. This is a software issue and not an issue with the book. I have had this pop up before with other titles and usually only requires a restart of your device. Book was amazing 10/10
I think the audio is fine, unlike others
Don’t trust the other reviews. It’s good stuff.