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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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Entertaining but lacking insight

An entertaining listen, particularly the history of psychedelics, personal stories and other accounts of those who have used psychedelics and the strong positive correlations for therapeutic use. It’s a bit disturbing however that the author shows an obvious ignorance or even possibly an alterior motive when itcomes to the topic of science (and religion). The author shows a disturbing lack of awareness of the meaning of a scientific “theory”, in one portion lumping the words “hunches” and “theories” together as though they equate to the same thing. Hi m several occasions he does use fallacious logic to draw false dichotomies between science and religion where none exist, and even goes so far as to say in the closing changer “Matter may not be as innocent of mind as the materialist would have us believe” and then actually goes on to quote findings of quantum science and quantum physics which is, by definition, MATERIALISM! (To quote a classic movie: “I don’t think that word means what you think it means”). Please, if you’re going to use words - it’s important to understand what those words mean, particularly if you’re an author, OR if you do understand what they mean, please do not use them to mislead to your readers or listeners. This will probably only annoy those of us who actually understand science and/or have a strong science background, but perhaps that makes it even more important. Overall, 3/5 stars. I enjoyed it, but as a majority of the topic is about the science of psychedelics the author would benefit from actually understanding what science is. A bit disappointed considering how highly this book was recommended.

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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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where excellence excells!

Awesome, I loved it, so much so that I couldn't stop listening to it. Great book, great writer, great narrator.

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Fascinating and fulfilling

What a wonderful, albeit heavily anecdotal account of psychedelics. Although the first section jumped hither and thither, I found myself listening intently throughout the entirety of the book and always wanting more.

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a tantalising discovery about perception!

a dream listen on those commutes, this book was easy to pick up after a week away and be transported to the psychedelic sixties.

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Fascinating

MP opens new spaces like few others. His research and first hand experiences generate real insight

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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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  • Carmen Herbert
  • 21-10-2020

More esoteric than scientific or historical

Basically, a lot of people trip on psychedelics and assign spiritual meaning to it. I’m not saying that’s not something that happens, but that’s literally all that is explored here. No science, just people talking about being high. It’s as annoying in an audiobook as it is at a party.

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  • Kristoffer
  • 06-10-2020

A truly well written deep dive into the realm of psychedelics A++

All you need to know about psychedelics and then some! I very much appreciated Mr. Pollans voice on the audiobook as well. He took me on a pleasant journey from the origins and and all the way up to the present day status of this hopeful new cure for most of the modern day ailments. I hope many more of his generation and perhaps other skeptics can tune in and have their minds expanded. In this case through a well written trip 😊👍

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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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  • 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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  • Alex
  • 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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  • Gareth Forward
  • 26-01-2021

Objective

A fair and objective book regarding psychedelics as a whole. The author takes standpoints from certified Scientists and Shamans alike to form a well balanced view and documentation on these old re-emerging practices. Great!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-01-2021

Wonderful and logical read about psychedelics

Michael pollan has done wonders with this book, in terms of the spiritual and scientific sense on psychedelics. absolute must read for anyone thinking of having a mystical experience.

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  • Corranet
  • 20-01-2021

An Unexpected Gem

Wonderfully written. Never dull. Never sentimental. Always engaging insightful and expressive - and often inspiring

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  • Eric Colassis
  • 23-12-2020

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