Entangled Life

How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures

Hardcover, 384 pages

English language

Published May 11, 2020 by Random House Publishing Group.

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4 stars (11 reviews)

There is a lifeform so strange and wondrous that it forces us to rethink how life works…

Neither plant nor animal, it is found throughout the earth, the air and our bodies. It can be microscopic, yet also accounts for the largest organisms ever recorded, living for millennia and weighing tens of thousands of tonnes. Its ability to digest rock enabled the first life on land, it can survive unprotected in space, and thrives amidst nuclear radiation.

In this captivating adventure, Merlin Sheldrake explores the spectacular and neglected world of fungi: endlessly surprising organisms that sustain nearly all living systems. They can solve problems without a brain, stretching traditional definitions of ‘intelligence’, and can manipulate animal behaviour with devastating precision. In giving us bread, alcohol and life-saving medicines, fungi have shaped human history, and their psychedelic properties, which have influenced societies since antiquity, have recently been shown to alleviate a …

9 editions

Entangled Writing

3 stars

On the whole, I found Merlin's book an okay read. I have listened to him talk on various podcasts, and it was interesting to visit the source of his thoughts. I feel it is a confession of a mycophilic, heavily spun from reference material, doctoral studies, and associates in the field. It was more like a thesis than a text on field research. But, and there is a big but, I can't fault Sheldrake's bringing all this material together in one text, peppered by his boyish enthusiasm. It is lovely to indulge in someone's own passion, regardless of how they present it.

Sometimes, I felt the adulation for psilocybin to be laboured and at times pontifical. I think if one is going to dip into social science, there might the other side of the coin mentioned when psilocybin has caused psychosis, or done nothing at all in the way of …

Great introduction to fungus!

4 stars

It was really enlightening to learn about the incredible impact that fungus has on all parts of the world.

I was especially intrigued at how plant roots and mycelium work together. It was also very surprising to hear about the impressive effects that truffles have on humans. I hadn't known that they had such an effect on people.

Listen to the Audiobook

5 stars

Sheldrake's exploration of mycology and all things adjacent goaded me into numerous little experiments-- mushroom growing, starting up the cider press again, looking for fungus in new places in relation to the trees. The book is full of tangents and somewhat out-there philosophy-- much like the kinds of conversations one would have with an old friend while you're tripping. I think what really delivered this book in its fullness was the voice of Sheldrake. He knows best how to annunciate his prose and make it digestible to a novice audience. That smooth british voice makes me question my sexuality. Highly recommended to anyone who thinks nature is neat

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