How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan

How to Change Your Mind

Could psychedelic drugs change our worldview? One of America's most admired writers takes us on a mind-altering journey to the frontiers of human consciousnessWhen 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 th...

Details How to Change Your Mind

TitleHow to Change Your Mind
Release DateMay 17th, 2018
PublisherAllen Lane
GenreNonfiction, Science, Psychology, Health, Philosophy

Reviews How to Change Your Mind

  • David Wineberg
    Michael Pollan’s Brain – on DrugsNeither LSD nor magic mushrooms harm you. They are not addictive, toxic, debilitating or destructive. They cause no illness and have no side effects. They seem to unlock receptors in the brain, causing mashups and unexpected connections (and therefore perceptions). They dissolve the ego by restricting blood flow to the Default Mode Network of the brain, which can cause users to lose the border between their pe...
  • Darwin8u
    "There is so much authority that comes out of the primary mystical experience that it can be threatening to existing hierarchical structures."- Roland Griffiths, quoted in Michael Pollan, How to Change Your Mind"To fall in hell or soar AngelicYou'll need a pinch of psychedelic"- Humphry OsmondI have family that struggle with addiction, depression, PTSD, and anxiety. The idea that one group of compounds (psychedelics) could transform how we view a...
  • David
    This is an epic book about the history of psychedelics, and their potential for improving the human condition. My first thought on the subject was of people tripping on LSD, and making a mess of their lives. But, this does not have to be the case at all. Many mental illnesses could be cured with "psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy".The first half of the book is about the history of psychedelics. Before 1965, Time-Life Publications were enthusiast...
  • William2
    Don’t expect any “nicety of style” here, to use E.M. Forster’s phrase, though the book is well organized. Nor does Pollan possess much wit, though I will not call him entirely humorless. These propensities make the reading more work than it should be. Moreover, he flattens and homogenizes his experiences with psychedelics so they’re almost nothing. He incapable of evoking moods. The opportunity is given to him to tell us about his life ...
  • Matthew Quann
    A cursory glance at the cover of Michael Pollan's new book examining the science of psychedelics manages to say a lot with very little. There are no vivid colours arranged in mandalas, no kaleidoscopic landscape, no face with eyes replaced by swirls of sickening colour combinations. Instead, a black, text-laden page is only broken up by the not-quite-square dimensions of a window that looks out onto a blue sky. In one sense, this encapsulates the...
  • Mehrsa
    I read the Pollan essay in the New Yorker about psychedelics and so I picked this up right away. And I'm convinced. I totally want to try this! Wish it wasn't illegal. What was really brilliant about this book is his exploration of the ego and how that leads to so much stuckness and unhappiness. The book is a sober, in-depth account of a radical idea.
  • Sarah Jane
    I thought the writing was great but the more I read, the less interested I became in this topic. One description of someone’s trip was fine, by the tenth description I was bored.
  • Michael Perkins
    On the path to the Murti-Bing....Pollan was born the same year I was, which makes us what I call mid-Boomers. As he says himself, we were too young to be part of Haight Ashbury, The Summer of Love and Woodstock.But I had two older siblings who were on the front end of the Boomer generation and experienced it all. I paid close attention to what happened to their cohort. My older brother was destroyed by drugs, including psychedelics, and died at a...
  • David Katzman
    I knew that in the 1960s some research had been performed that demonstrated the highly successful use of a psychedelic drug called Ibogaine to disrupt alcoholism and cocaine and nicotine addiction. One of the most interesting facts that I learned from this book was how extensive the addiction research had also been using psilocybin and LSD. And these psychological studies have actually been revived legally in university settings today.How to Chan...
  • Krista
    Self and Spirit define the opposite ends of a spectrum, but that spectrum needn't reach clear to the heavens to have meaning for us. It can stay right here on earth. When the ego dissolves, so does a bounded conception not only of ourself but of our self-interest. What emerges in its place is invariably a broader, more open-hearted and altruistic – that is, more spiritual – idea of what matters in life. One in which a new sense of connection,...
  • Lou
    I have such a wide range of non-fiction reading interests that sometimes, until I actually see the book and its subject, not even I knew that I wanted to read it! But if it is something I am eager to know more about, I know right away. Let me start by saying, the only drugs I have even taken are those prescribed for me by a doctor, so I have no idea about other drugs, including psychedelic ones. What I do know about is how strong painkillers (mor...
  • Theresa Alan
    I’d read Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, so when a friend bought this book for me, I already knew that Pollan was a respected journalist. I’d read a couple news articles about how LSD and psilocybin may be able to help with addictions. Since I believe the ridiculously high rates of incarceration the United States engages in since the war on drugs began with Nixon in the ‘70s, primarily because of people who battle substanc...
  • Liza Fireman
    This is probably the most boring book of someone telling about his experience of smoking toads and using psychedelics in general. It got a little bit better towards the end, and it was interesting to read about psychedelics therapy, but I can't say that I would be reading it again or that it was a revelation. There was a lot of history in the book, and actually not enough science. The main thing is that were some stories, that I am sure could be ...
  • da AL
    Fascinating info about LSD as well as mental illness, and philosophical musings on how the mind works -- past, present, future. Moreover, a first-person account by a respected science journalist!
  • Morgan Blackledge
    What a great book. What a fun book. What a wonderful, interesting, informative and even transformative read. I loved it, not because of the novelty of the subject, but because of the absolutely appropriate caution, charming naivety and utter lack of pretense with which the author Michael Pollan handles the subject. I’m 50, I grew up in a university town, and my parents and our family fiends and acquaintances came of age in the swingin’ 1960...
  • Ken
    Over 400 pages of psychedelics: its history, its big players, its experiences, its possibilities, its science. No one could do it justice, probably. No one but Michael Pollan. If you want to talk technical merit, this is a 5-star product, start to finish, even if you're only 4-star enjoying it as a read. Chiefly Pollan deals in magic mushrooms (here referred to more technically as psilocybin), LSD, and 5-MeO-DMT (a.k.a. "The Toad," and don't ask,...
  • Jenna
    Prior to reading this book, I didn't know much about LSD or other psychedelics. If you'd asked me about them, I'd have furrowed my brow, bit the bottom corner of my lip, and remarked, Umm..... The Grateful Dead? So of course when I saw this book, realising it's something I knew nothing about, I wanted to read it. Seeing all the raving reviews about it, I wanted to read it even more. Sadly, I didn't love it as much as I expected I would and most o...
  • Lauren
    Remarkable book. I hope this will gain the same prominence that Omnivore's Dilemma did several years ago.
  • Mario the lone bookwolf
    Nature's miracle products reveal many immediate healing options. Perhaps they even made the incarnation possible aka "stoned ape theory".Please note that I have put the original German text to the end of this review. Just if you might be interested.The pharmaceutical industry has a logical aversion to non-industrial medicines. As a result, coverage of all alternative therapies is always biased and described one-sided negative. One of the favorite...
  • Tomas Ramanauskas
    The worst kind of books are self-help books:badly researched, one sided, lazily written ten-page essays streched into 200+ pages, trying to prove that everything you know is wrong, while promising to change your life.Pollan pulls an unbelievable trick of actually writting a self-help book which is well substantiated, believing in its own thesis, yet agreeing not to know enough, enhancing common knowledge by a wide margin and, quite possibly, sign...
  • Renee Amberg
    This was a struggle to get through. Unfortunately, it was more of a history book than a "How To Change Your Mind" book. Over half of the book is about the history of psychedelics and made me feel like I was reading a history textbook with unnecessary dates, people, and irrelevant facts. On top of that, the authors style of writing wasn't for me, there was a lot of fluff and unnecessary details in his writing. I would have liked the book better if...
  • Cathrine ☯️
    5 🍄 🍄 🍄 🍄 🍄You can’t always get what you want but you just might get what you need. Among many others, what do Anaïs Nin, Jack Nicholson, Stanley Kubrick, André Previn, James Coburn, Aldous Huxley, Bill “W”, Ram Dass, Andrew Weil, Ethyl Kennedy, Steve Jobs, and Cary Grant have in common? Psychedelic therapy.Are there other uses for mushrooms beyond sautéing them in butter, garlic, and dry sherry? Yes! They can wipe out car...
  • Elizabeth Theiss
    Prepare to change your mind about the role of psychedelic drugs in western culture. Or, if you have experience as a psychonaut, get ready for a broad, expansive review of history, research, and the possibilities for public policy.When LSD, mescaline, psilocybin, and other psychedelic drugs first became known in the 1950s and 1960s, academic and medical researchers explored their potential for relieving depression, addiction, and other mental prob...
  • Kathleen
    Pollan’s research regarding psychedelics is all-encompassing—covering everything from the time LSD was first discovered in 1938 by Albert Hofmann, a Swiss scientist working for Sandoz; to ingesting LSD, psilocybin and the crystallized venom of the Sonoran Desert toad himself. Of note, Pollan is most interested in the medical studies of this class of drugs and their potential use in humans—and not their recreational use.Psychedelic-aided the...
  • Daniel Chaikin
    Now that I'm using I feel some responsibility to pick good books with good narration and I spent a lot of time struggling to come with a one this time and nothing seemed quite right enough, then I listened to this oddball title and Pollan won me over with his passion in the sample - he reads this himself. And, he also completely won me over with this book.There was a time when psychedelics were a serious medicine under serious study, ...
  • Benjamin Siegel
    I feel lucky to live in a world where Michael Pollan has now written, sometimes quite beautifully, about tripping.
  • Numidica
    Additional comment 1/9/2019: I've shared this review with non-Goodreads friends and got a bit of side eye. So I'd like to share some context. I have never taken LSD or mushrooms, or for that matter any non-prescribed drug other than a minuscule amount of pot in college. So my point here is not to promote psilocybin because I use it, because I never have, but rather to provide a review of a very interesting book.How to Change Your Mind is an inves...
  • Yaaresse
    Once again I seem to be in the minority. Oh well, I'm used to that. Having read The Omnivore's Dilemma and Botany of Desire. I had fairly high expectations for this book. Those high expectations were only slightly dampened by the tidal wave of praise for this book, which these days is more often a sign of brilliant marketing and/or controversial content than a sign of brilliant writing/content. Three are three sections to the book: 1. A very brie...
  • Ross Blocher
    How to Change Your Mind is a great book, addressing psychedelics from a variety of angles and demystifying a topic with a whole bunch of mystery surrounding it. Michael Pollan, best known for his books about food and farming, delves first-hand into the world of LSD, psilocybin, DMT, ayahuasca, and a number of other well-known and more obscure drugs (5-MeO-DMT, anyone?). He describes the historical context, when these compounds were discovered, th...