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How to Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics

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4.53  ·  Rating details ·  497 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
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 consciousness

When 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 consci
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Hardcover, 480 pages
Published May 17th 2018 by Allen Lane
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Krista
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, arc, nonfiction
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, or love, however defined, seems to figure prominentl
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David Wineberg
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Michael Pollan’s Brain – on Drugs

Neither 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 persona/self/ego and everything else (eg. the universe).
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jeremy
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is precisely where psychedelic therapy seems to be operating: on a frontier between spirituality and science that is as provocative as it is uncomfortable.
michael pollan is one of those authors who can, with ample research, elucidatory prowess, and a captivating writing style, make nearly any subject wholly fascinating and engaging. so it is with his new book, how to change your mind, wherein he explores the intriguing background of psychedelics (mostly lsd and psilocybin) and the great p
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Mehrsa
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nathan
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
Michael Pollan is a phenomenal writer, and he shines once again with his newest book. He takes a deep dive into the history and science of psychedelics, all while weaving in his own personal narrative. It is an engaging and fascinating read; one that propels the reader on a journey through the re-emergence of this scientific field. For anyone at all interested in the topic, this is probably a must-read. Highly recommended.
Lauren
Remarkable book. I hope this will gain the same prominence that Omnivore's Dilemma did several years ago.

Full review to come...
Josh Firer
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Going into the past, present, and future of the research into the use of psychedelic drugs and their potential to solve many vexing scientific problems, Michael Pollan reframes these issues in a way that is sure to change many readers' minds. What makes the book compelling, is that the author is convinced by his own research to experiment with psychedelics. His experiences are deeply touching and fun to read about it. This book will give you a lot to think about.
Mason Neil
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have been fascinated by psychedelics ever since I experienced psilocybin a few years ago and experienced an almost immediate loss of some negative habits that had been having a negative effect on my mental health. Michael Pollan's perspective was particularly attractive to me because I already have a lot of respect for him after reading In Defense of Food and The Omnivores Dilemma. His approach is skeptical and honest, and I found that he wrote with a candid tone that I hadn't heard in his oth ...more
Ralph
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a must-read for psychonauts and anyone wanting to gain a deeper understanding of psychedelics. Pollan shows us how psychedelics have been a part of different societies for healing, how psychedelics entered American culture, how it was used by therapists for healing patients, what led to it being outlawed, and how it has been starting to get a resurgence today. He also documents his own personal adventure to LSD, psilocybin, 5-MeO-DMT, and other tryptamines. You'll leave the book with a g ...more
Storyheart
Informative, well-written and thought-provoking (if a tad too long.)
Matt
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the most eye-opening books on consciousness I've read. Pollan does an amazing job at speaking from the view of a beginner and guiding the reader through the history around why Psychedelic research was banned in the first place and its re-emergence lately. So excited to see the future of where this research goes and hope it lives up to the hype its receiving!
Benjamin Siegel
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I feel lucky to live in a world where Michael Pollan has now written, sometimes quite beautifully, about tripping.
Christopher Farrell
Pollan takes a left side turn from his usual food-centered research to delve into the world of psychedelics, and tries to ponder its use in future therapy/medical use. This is a really interesting subject, and Pollan's first hand descriptions of his trips are wild - some tech heavy stuff bogs down the last third but this is well worth a read if you have any interest in how our mind works.
Kate
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mindfulness
I confess I'm a bit of a fan of Michael Pollan. I've read much of his writing on food, and I generally find his journalistic style approachable and informative without being overly dry. I was a bit surprised to learn that he had stepped outside his usual beat to write about psychedelics. And yet, now that I've read the book, the two topics -- food and psychedelics -- seem like two peas in a pod (no pun intended). Pollan draws on much of his knowledge and experience with plants to illustrate how ...more
Jt O'Neill
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ever since I heard that Michael Pollan was writing a book about psychedelics and their practical application, I've been waiting for it. Finally, my copy arrived at the library this week and I jumped into it. It didn't disappoint although , at the end of the review, I will reveal a piece of disappointment...

I was eager to read this book , first, because I have come to trust Michael Pollan. I've read his books on food and they made sense to me. He comes at his subject with the objectivity of scien
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Bonny
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've enjoyed many of Michael Pollan's other books, but had already decided not to read this one as I have only a passing interest in psychedelics. But then I heard Terry Gross interview the author on Fresh Air and I was immediately intrigued. After reading the book, I think the best parts are still contained in the interview, but I did learn a lot about the history of psychedelic drugs (mainly LSD and psilocybin), the scientific research (then and now), the damage that Timothy Leary and his cava ...more
Teo 2050
9h @ 1.5x. The audiobook version is expertly narrated by the author himself. Overall, this is probably the easiest book to recommend to anyone interested in a recent book on psychedelic science, covering lots of aspects from history, characters, and culture, to the up-to-date neuro and clinical research that is on track to bring psychedelic-assisted therapy into mainstream within a decade.

Together with some personal experiences, it also reminds us that psychedelics may be used beneficially beyon
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Danette Martinez
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Maybe I'm just looking for a reason to find a big pile of hallucinogens and take them, but the potential of these for creating existential meaning is interesting at least and potentially paradigm shifting for those of us in mental health.
David Manley
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
An edifying, interesting read. It's a horrible shame that stigma prevented continued scientific research into the effects of psychedelics for mental health and well-being for so long. It we'll be interesting to learn what the new scientific interest in the subject yields.

Pollan is a good writer who seems to have found a good balance between anecdotal storytelling, history and science.
Alis Anagnostakis
Mind expanding

This well-researched and wonderfully written book challenges one to revisit their worldview. Consciousness might well be one of the greatest mysteries of the world, and this book will likely provoke you to explore it in a new way. It offers no definitive answers, but certainly raises some new and unique questions.
Bett Correa-Bollhoefer
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Must read for those who love Pollan or want to learn about the chemistry of depression and mental affliction.
A.M. Thomas
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
"An individual human existence should be like a river: small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually, the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being." -Bertrand Russell
LIUF
Jun 01, 2018 marked it as sampled  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
The Revival of Research in Two Drugs: LSD and Psilocybin

I only sampled the prologue. Might read the whole book after dozens of books waiting.

Why am I interested in this book? The research might shed light on:
* The possible cure for depression and addiction.
* The alternative ways to acquire peak experience.
* The origin of motivation.

The whys given by the author are closely connected to Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow experience, what Flow did not cover is the spill effect of such experience: one single
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Becky Diamond
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Got an advance copy of this from BookPage (My review is slated for the May issue). As is typical of the master writer and researcher Michael Pollan, this is an absolutely fascinating look at the varying states of consciousness and the effect of psychedelic drugs. Highly recommend!
Allene Symons
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Psychedelics are having more than a Moment. Michael Pollan’s new book -- about how science is harnessing the power of a trip -- hit No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list this weekend, a flashing sign that the altered-state substance psilocybin (found in psychoactive mushrooms) is going Mainstream.

The turning point is a pending Stage III clinical trial of psilocybin-assisted therapy for anxiety in terminal cancer patients. Yes, that’s a mouthful of a story, but not when told by a master o
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π
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was introduced to the author on the NETFLIX series 'Cooked' and I was completely in awe of his research abilities. So when I saw his appearance on the 'Stephan Colbert Show' to talk about his recent venture - this book which was officially released on May 15th, I was sure I would thoroughly enjoy it and placed an order immediately! The book is quite literally flawless. With the psychedelic drugs as his subject, he has researched around every possible aspect of its journey roughly through the 1 ...more
Shhhhh Ahhhhh
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fantastic primer on psychedelia. I personally feel that Michael Pollan should have done considerably more length exploration of the historic relationship between human societies, culture, and mind-altering substances and practices (he lightly touched on Eleusis, and went into depth into modern, but not historical, ayahuasca ceremonies).

Given that this is an overview of an entire area of information, and perhaps more than one area, I won't attempt to summarize (a bit like trying to model a model
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Elizabeth Theiss
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 problems. The promising research results were abandone
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Timothy
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
An important book, an important topic. Michael Pollan is an engaging writer, and despite many concerns I had going into the book, he maintained a healthy skepticism while also allowing himself to fully engage with the topic.

Too many people, in my estimation, enter the world of psychedelics with pre-concieved notions of meaning and spirituality. As Pollan reiterates over and over, "set and setting" play a large role in the experience one has with the molecules.

Pollan, however, kept slipping into
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Michael Pollan is an American author, journalist, activist, and professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is also the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism.

Excerpted from Wikipedia.
More about Michael Pollan
“the critical influence of “set” and “setting.” Set is the mind-set or expectation one brings to the experience, and setting is the environment in which it takes place.” 0 likes
“By the early 1970s, when I went to college, everything you heard about LSD seemed calculated to terrify. It worked on me: I’m less a child of the psychedelic 1960s than of the moral panic that psychedelics provoked. I also had my own personal reason for steering clear of psychedelics: a painfully anxious adolescence that left me (and at least one psychiatrist) doubting my grip on sanity.” 0 likes
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