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How to Change Your Mind

Narrated by: Michael Pollan
Length: 13 hrs and 35 mins
5 out of 5 stars (748 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of How to Change Your Mind, 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 counterculture, 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 a remarkable history of psychedelics and a compelling portrait of the new generation of scientists fascinated by the implications of these drugs. How to Change Your Mind is a report from what could very well be the future of human consciousness.

©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 members say

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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.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Mike
  • Brisbane
  • 10-06-2018

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Objective, accessible, anecdotal

I'm a big supporter of Michael Pollan's advocate- style writing on the sustainability of our food systems. I respect this effort to reclaim a taboo topic with a factual, albeit personal, account of psychedelic drugs. However the topic is just not for me- too many uninteresting details of personal experiences.

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Must read!

Excellent review on the history of psychedelics. very interesting research on the use and therapeutic use of LSD and Psilocybin.
really great to hear Michael's first experiences and the processes of his mind

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Clear + Provocative

Michael Pollan is the right narrator for this well-researched, fascinating and personal subject. You might find your ego quieted by the end of this mycelial journey into psychedelics.

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Life changing

Yes


That’s all this book review needs but I need to make the word limit








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Interesting history and perspective

This books covers a decent history of mind altering drug through the lense of what they might be able to contribute to our lives and understanding of the mind and brain. The author has written a clear, entertaining story and reads it well.

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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!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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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  • Mary Ann Cullinan
  • 25-07-2018

A trustworthy and excellently researched book

Took away loads of new information, as well insights applicable for my own experiential journeys in this domain.
The author is a born narrator (as well as a compelling writer).

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-07-2018

Well researched, interesting listen

Great overview of the history of psychedelics. Very well researched. Coming from the perspective of a materialst, The addition of the authors personal experience with these substances was intriguing. Only didn't get 5 stars because the later chapters felt like they were a bit repetitive.

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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 .

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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 :)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ronan
  • 28-10-2019

mind bending

serious book full of insight and intrigue well done to the author for such a great listen

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  • L. K. Griffin
  • 09-10-2019

A phenominal book that is fantastically narrated

A phenominal book that is fantastically narrated. I'm not usually a fan of American narrators, however the authors enthusiasm and knowledge of the subject really shines through. Such a fascinating read - my eyes have truly been opened! So interesting to learn how much promise these mystical molicules may have for our mental health and wellbeing. Highly recommended for those with an open mind.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-09-2019

Love it, absolutely love it.

Mind opening just like the subject it's wrote about. I'm a full on psychedelic convert now. Amsterdam here I come lol.

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  • Lukasz Skrodzki
  • 28-09-2019

Everyone should read this book!

Loved it! Number one: beautiful language and style. But also the content. You take this journey with Pollan, who at the beginning of the story is a psychedelic virgin himself. Eye opening and mind affirmating. I recommend it to everyone who is curious of what other states of states of mind and realities are available to us, beyond ordinary everyday waking conciseness.