This Is Your Mind on Plants

Written by:
Michael Pollan
Narrated by:
Michael Pollan

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
July 2021
7 hours 37 minutes
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.
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Daryl O.

Well researched as usual. interesting perspectives on our attitudes towards psychoactive plant substances. In particular, how we sanction some substances where they benefit our capitalist culture, and condemn others where they do not.

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What an amazing perspective on some of our long used and lost medicinal plants.

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Agustin O.

Very informative.

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Hendrik W.

Stellar book

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R H.

Inspiring! Pollan's writing reframes my view of plants and human affairs and makes me want to get out into the garden and let them manipulate me into doing their bidding. I also loved his narration- it felt like an old friend telling me a fascinating, funny, insightful series of stories. Thank you, Michael! Can't wait to listen to another one of your works.

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William B.

It was an interesting book if your a plant geek like me. I would never use raw opium or mescaline like he did just to write a book but his experience was interesting and curious at the same time.

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I didn't like how the author prusued illegal activities very casually. His behavior should not be "normalized".

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Wonderful book and great narration.

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Roman D.

Great perspective and very enjoyable

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