This book has 5 recommendations

Daniel Goleman (Author)

Michael Pollan masterfully guides us through the highs, lows, and highs again of psychedelic drugs. How to Change Your mind chronicles how it’s been a longer and stranger trip than most any of us knew.

Jon Kabat-Zinn (Author)

Very few writers, if any, have the gravitas and journalistic cred to tackle this explosive subject—from both the outside and the inside—extract it from its nationally traumatic and irrationally over reactive past, and bring both reason and revelatory insight to it. Michael Pollan has done just that. This is investigative journalism at its rigorous and compelling best— and radically mind opening in so many ways just to read it.

Andrew Weil (Author)

Michael Pollan assembles a great deal of information here on the history, science, and effects of psychedelics. I found his frank recounting of his recent experiences with LSD, psilocybin, and toad venom most revealing. They appear to have softened his materialistic views and opened him to the possibilities of higher consciousness. He did, indeed, change his mind.

Thomas R. Insel (Co-Founder & President/Mindstrong Health)

After 50 years underground, psychedelics are back. We are incredibly fortunate to have Michael Pollan be our travel guide for their renaissance. With humility, humor, and deep humanity, he takes us through the history, the characters, and the science of these “mind manifesting” compounds. Along the way, he navigates the mysteries of consciousness, spirituality, and the mind. What he has done previously for gardeners and omnivores, Pollan does brilliantly here for all of us who wonder what it means to be fully human, or even what it means to be.

David Heinemeier Hansson (Co-Founder/Basecamp)

How we get locked into viewing the world, ourselves, and each other in a certain way, and then finding it difficult to relate to alternative perspectives or seeing other angles.

Studying philosophy, psychology, and sociology is a way to break those rigid frames we all build over time. But that’s still all happening at a pretty high level of perception.

Mind altering drugs, and especially psychedelics, is another way to break up those rigid frames, but at a much lower level. So I’ve been fascinated with LSD, mushrooms, and other psychedelics for a long time, despite being too scared to actually try (partly because of a family history of mental illness, partly because, you know, THE LAW, and partly because of having something to lose).

Anyway, that’s a really long preamble to why I started reading this book. Partly to understand the history of psychedelics, the discovery of LSD, the clinical studies from the 50s and 60s, and then finally to live vicariously through the author’s account of his own experiments.

So far I’d say it’s a bit of a mixed bag. I find the pacing too slow, the minutia overwhelming, and the character set too large. I wish there was a cocaine version of this book in 1/4 the length and the tempo turned up 😄.

Amazon description

A brilliant and brave investigation into the medical and scientific revolution taking place around psychedelic drugs--and the spellbinding story of his own life-changing psychedelic experiences

When Michael Pollan set out to research how LSD and psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) are being used to provide relief to people suffering from difficult-to-treat conditions such as depression, addiction and anxiety, he did not intend to write what is undoubtedly his most personal book. But upon discovering how these remarkable substances are improving the lives not only of the mentally ill but also of healthy people coming to grips with the challenges of everyday life, he decided to explore the landscape of the mind in the first person as well as the third. Thus began a singular adventure into various altered states of consciousness, along with a dive deep into both the latest brain science and the thriving underground community of psychedelic therapists. Pollan sifts the historical record to separate the truth about these mysterious drugs from the myths that have surrounded them since the 1960s, when a handful of psychedelic evangelists inadvertently catalyzed a powerful backlash against what was then a promising field of research.

A unique and elegant blend of science, memoir, travel writing, history, and medicine, How to Change Your Mind is a triumph of participatory journalism. By turns dazzling and edifying, it is the gripping account of a journey to an exciting and unexpected new frontier in our understanding of the mind, the self, and our place in the world. The true subject of Pollan's "mental travelogue" is not just psychedelic drugs but also the eternal puzzle of human consciousness and how, in a world that offers us both suffering and joy, we can do our best to be fully present and find meaning in our lives.

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See more books recommended by: Daniel Goleman, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Andrew Weil, Thomas R. Insel, David Heinemeier Hansson

See more books written by: Michael Pollan

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