The soul of an octopus

a surprising exploration into the wonder of consciousness

261 pages

English language

Published Nov. 8, 2015

OCLC Number:

View on OpenLibrary

3 stars (4 reviews)

"In this astonishing book from the author of the bestselling memoir The Good Good Pig, Sy Montgomery explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus--a surprisingly complex, intelligent, and spirited creature--and the remarkable connections it makes with humans. Sy Montgomery's popular 2011 Orion magazine piece, "Deep Intellect," about her friendship with a sensitive, sweet-natured octopus named Athena and the grief she felt at her death, went viral, indicating the widespread fascination with these mysterious, almost alien-like creatures. Since then Sy has practiced true immersion journalism, from New England aquarium tanks to the reefs of French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico, pursuing these wild, solitary shape-shifters. Octopuses have varied personalities and intelligence they show in myriad ways: endless trickery to escape enclosures and get food; jetting water playfully to bounce objects like balls; and evading caretakers by using a scoop net as a trampoline and running around the floor …

2 editions

More of a novel than science book.

3 stars

There was a bit too much of subjectivity projected as objective in this book for my taste. It's lovely and well written book, but somehow often a bit superficial. I am eager to know more about octopus intelligence, but there was a lot of anectodal evidence and subsequent speculation here and too little hard-core science. I possibly had bigger expectations.


  • Octopuses
  • Behavior