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How to Change Your Mind

Narrated by: Michael Pollan
Length: 13 hrs and 35 mins
5 out of 5 stars (896 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

How to Change Your Mind is a report from what could very well be the future of human consciousness, written and read by Michael Pollan.

When LSD was first discovered in the 1940s, it seemed to researchers, scientists and doctors as if the world might be on the cusp of psychological revolution. It promised to shed light on the deep mysteries of consciousness, as well as offer relief to addicts and the mentally ill. But in the 1960s, with the vicious backlash against the counter-culture, all further research was banned. In recent years, however, work has quietly begun again on the amazing potential of LSD, psilocybin and DMT. Could these drugs in fact improve the lives of many people? Diving deep into this extraordinary world and putting himself forward as a guinea-pig, Michael Pollan has written and read a remarkable history of psychedelics and a compelling portrait of the new generation of scientists fascinated by the implications of these drugs.

©2018 Michael Pollan (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd

Critic Reviews

"His approach is steeped in honesty and self-awareness. His cause is just, his thinking is clear, and his writing is compelling." (Washington Post)

"An easy-going humane generosity...mischievous self-regard...as if Henry David Thoreau had had an encounter with Woody Allen and never been quite the same since." (Simon Schama)

What listeners say about How to Change Your Mind

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Stay with it, it's worth it

This is a great book. The author approaches a touchy subject well, not being taken away by the "change the world" hype but being honest enough to submit himself to the experience of psychedelics. The first half of the book is reserved for the recent history of psychedelics (mainly in the US) and is quite wonkish. The second half takes the reader on a journey of what positive effects these drugs could have for individuals and society, touching on the underlying neuroscience (the role of the default mode network is fascinating), all the while punctuated by the author recounting his own experiences on the drugs. The subject touches on so many interesting areas including neuroscience, mental health and the nature of the self and consciousness. Also a good listen is the podcast interview of the author by Sam Harris in May 2018.

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Brilliant

I cannot begin to explain just how good this book is. The subject matter is so well researched. The writing style is amazing and Michael Pollan as narrator is just fantastic. As a trainee psychiatrist, I learnt so much more about my profession and yes, got a little bit excited about about what this means for our profession and for our patients (and for the rest of humanity).

I'll be listening to this one again for sure. Absolutely the best book I've listened to this year, hands down.

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An eye opening listen

Absolutely loved it, found myself putting it on wherever I could. Have and would reccomend it to anyone

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Dive Deeper

Pollons voice as he recounts us with the history of phycadelic research and the re-awakening of phycadelic assisted therapy is almost intoxicating in its self, Creating a desire to learn more.

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The Best Book i have ever read

Times are changing and this book has come at the perfect time. like my heading says.. its the best.
Get it, you wont be disappointed.. The peoples accounts of their trips alone have impacted me in a way that I don't think I need to try psychedelics. Thank you Michael Pollan. 5 stars.

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Lots of detail

Informative with lots of facts to back it up. such an interesting ares of development. Easy to listen too.

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answers every question

just as soon as I thought 'but what about...' he would introduce an interesting researchers already grappling with that very question. Thanks Michael.

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Enlightening

What an incredible book! Thanks Michael for this amazing journey. Hopefully from here our species will open up to what's beyond the veil and reconnect with Nature and the sacred; Pre-cognitive wisdom 🙏

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Well written and read

Thanks Mr pollan you are great at putting thought in to word, this was a great read and I really like the way you make everything so easy to understand.

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Transformative

This book is awe inspiring and very well researched and thorough at the same time. Highly recommend to everyone I meet.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-07-2018

A stunning summary of all things psychedelic

Michael Pollan has gathered a vast knowledge of psychedelic history, science and experience. He weaves this together in a deeply interesting and entertaining way. thank you!

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  • Pavan
  • 12-06-2020

Excellent insight into the world of psychedelics

Although verbose, I really enjoyed listening to this book!
it's dense, long and utterly detailed, this book could have been shortened to 60% of its current read. However the insights and rich anecdotes offered by the author's journey itself as well as the depth of research into psychedelics spanning almost a century is revelatory.

I have personally dabbled in psychedelics and I can resonate to the idea that several state of consciousness exists beyond our default one and psychedelics helped me to open my "third eye". The depth and banality of platitudes are so deeply felt during a "trip". I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about this beautiful hidden world and keen to enjoy an expanded mental entropy through psychedelics.

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  • cristhian burgos
  • 29-11-2019

Brilliantly relatable

First, the author reads it himself. Second, thank you. An honest, unbiased journalistic aproach to a thorny subject.

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  • L
  • 02-07-2019

excellent and educational

this was great book. I was interested then obsessed. then converted. having had a die from cancer I could relate and see potential for palliative reasons

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  • Jukka
  • 04-04-2019

Intriguing

Some very interesting stuff about psychedelics written mostly in a quite objective manner. Interesting times ahead.

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  • Fernanda Calixto Cabral
  • 21-02-2019

Amazing book!

Micheal Pollan writes about the history of psychedelics and his personal experiences with great detail and care. Very informative but also touching book.
I recommend it for anyone seeking ways to open the mind and rethink what the human conscious mean. Great read!

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  • Philomath
  • 10-12-2018

What happens when the ego leaves

In a typical Michael Pollan engaging style the history and experience of psychedelic substances is brought to the forefront. From Magic Mashrooms, to LSD, MDT, and MESCALINE. These are chemicals produced in nature that tap in to the depths of the mind.

The author explains these hallucinogenics and the life changing experiences it produces in people that take them, for the most cases positive. They have been banned from scientific study for over 40 years where they went underground, but now are making a resurgence as an alternative in psychotherapy, and proving to have a wealth of benefits in studying the mind.

This book also shows the struggle between the science and the use of the psychedelic drugs for the study of the mind, and their use as vehicle for spiritual journeys ones that reveal the mind and consciousness as only one aspect of many states. The ego is always in control. As the author explains this “the ego” somehow deflates and in some cases fizzles away providing an experience of oneness with everyone and everything.

When Silicon Valley is micro-dosing for creativity one wonders what else this is good for. A well written book about a subject that has been taboo in society and science for far too long. A highly recommended read.

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  • Ursula
  • 22-10-2018

A real education

This is a superb book, which deals with a subject loaded with preconception with scientific and investigative rigor, beautiful language, and an honesty and feeling that is very touching. well done to Michael Pollan on a subject well researched and artfully presented. and to the narrator on a great job conveying it!

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  • Jaime
  • 26-08-2018

Well done. A must read

A fantastic, equally objective journey into psychedelics for our collective betterment. Bravo, Michael Pollan. The narration (by the author) is also excellent.

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  • Jerome
  • 26-07-2018

Amazing book...I felt every bit of the experience.

wait wait wait wait...let me see how I can describe this....engaging, informative and extremely entertaining...🎤

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-07-2018

life changing

Life changing, revolutionary, witty and self effacing but underpinned by scientific study and historical exposition. This book is essential reading, an eloquent and entertaining starting point for further research and exploration. recommended for anyone wishing to progress in their understanding of cognition, and break through the rigid barriers imposed ruthlessly by age.

This book is also a glimmer of hope for people affected by mental health disorders, or find themselves lost in endless cycles (spirals) of rumination and fixation.

if your cynicism or skepticism is putting you off consider this:

The FDA(!) is one of the main institutions driving this research, forced into a more progressive stance given the terrible state of mental health care in the USA .

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  • Natalia
  • 23-05-2018

an absolute must.

at last a broad scope well researched and written review of important subject that we denied by the misguided establishment.

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  • Andrei Bolkonski
  • 10-08-2019

Excellent and, punnily enough, mind changing book!

Like the author himself was, I'm a pretty staunch materialist and have always been skeptical about drugs. I've also been fed my fair share of propaganda against LSD and psychedelics, on the claim that it would make you go insane.

So I was pretty reluctant to read/listen to this book, but I was going to have to discuss it with friends so on I went.

It didn't take long for me to realize how insightful and fascinating this book is. Whatever your stance or intent re psychedelics, I'd say its well worth a read in a purely academic sense. The thesis idea surrounding the default mode network in our brains as the gestalt cause for overthinking, ruminating, and the ensuins mental pain, is in itself well worth the price and your time.

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  • Emily Labram
  • 17-09-2018

Fascinating and inspiring listen

I just loved this book. It brought the world of psychedelic research to life, a world completely unknown to me. And then the author's own journey with psychedelic medicines was also thrilling and relatable. The book has kindled in me a newfound interest in fungi of all kinds and left me impressed by the potential of these unique substances, and the insights they offer. A masterpiece of journalism and a brave and important memoir.

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  • Daniel
  • 25-11-2018

Well told, while offering refreshing perspectives

With a super narrator, how to change you're mind tells the story of psychadellics in a captivating way that often offered me nuggets of "aha" moments, exciting insights into research and left me with the feeling of "hm, maybe it's time I try".
I warmly recommend it.

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  • Phillip
  • 28-09-2018

loved this book from start to finish

It is so easy to listen to Michael Pollan, I learned so much from this book. If this is a subject that interests you I highly recommend listening to this book its amazing :)

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-07-2020

incredible book

first book I've given 5 stars to since starting a book diary. genuinely has the potential to be mind/ life-changing (it was for me),. but even if not it is a fantastic bit of reportage/history/storytelling

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  • conor
  • 26-06-2020

A good introductory text

This is a great overview of the field. From history to the most recent research. The numerous extended descriptions of the author's and other's trips (or journeys as they are called in the book) go on a bit. It's like looking at someone else's holiday snaps. Very exciting for the person who was there but considerably less so for others.

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  • Jamie O'Shaughnessy
  • 24-06-2020

Excellent mind opening

Very well written book that is interesting cover to cover. Historical coverage of psychedelics and their medical use, personal experience report, and commentary on current scientific and medical understanding. This isn’t a book about Drugs, but about consciousness and states of mind. Meditators and anyone interested in mental experience will find this interesting. Minimum woo

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-06-2020

Maybe shrooms are worth another shot.

This was a nice listen to open my (third?) eye on the subject of psychedelics. I think it's worth listening to, to appreciate the easily discounted party drugs as a forgotten tool that could be used to great benefit.