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Entangled Life

Entangled Life

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

eBook - 2020
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NATIONAL BESTSELLER • “Merlin Sheldrake’s marvelous tour of these diverse and extraordinary life forms is eye-opening on why humans should consider fungi among the greatest of earth’s marvels. . . . Wondrous.”—Time 
A mind-bending journey into the hidden universe of fungi, “one of those rare books that can truly change the way you see the world around you” (Helen Macdonald, author of H Is for Hawk).

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Time BBC Science Focus The Daily Mail Geographical The Times The Telegraph • New Statesman London Evening Standard Science Friday

When we think of fungi, we likely think of mushrooms. But mushrooms are only fruiting bodies, analogous to apples on a tree. Most fungi live out of sight, yet make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that supports and sustains nearly all living systems. Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live, and the ways we think, feel, and behave.
In Entangled Life, the brilliant young biologist Merlin Sheldrake shows us the world from a fungal point of view, providing an exhilarating change of perspective. Sheldrake’s vivid exploration takes us from yeast to psychedelics, to the fungi that range for miles underground and are the largest organisms on the planet, to those that link plants together in complex networks known as the “Wood Wide Web,”  to those that infiltrate and manipulate insect bodies with devastating precision.
Fungi throw our concepts of individuality and even intelligence into question. They are metabolic masters, earth makers, and key players in most of life’s processes. They can change our minds, heal our bodies, and even help us remediate environmental disaster. By examining fungi on their own terms, Sheldrake reveals how these extraordinary organisms—and our relationships with them—are changing our understanding of how life works.
Entangled Life is a gorgeous book of literary nature writing in the tradition of [Robert] Macfarlane and John Fowles, ripe with insight and erudition. . . . Food for the soul.”—Eugenia Bone, Wall Street Journal
“[An] ebullient and ambitious exploration . . . This book may not be a psychedelic—and unlike Sheldrake, I haven’t dared to consume my copy (yet)—but reading it left me not just moved but altered, eager to disseminate its message of what fungi can do.”—Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group


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Mar 17, 2021

I've been foraging and learning about mycology as a hobby for while now but the nitty gritty details of fungi have eluded me for a long time. Mushrooms are weird! This book helped me dive deeper into what makes fungi so unique and the way they interact with our world.

With each page I fell deeper in love with fungi, and I think you will too. If you have even a passing interest in mushrooms I can't recommend this highly enough. Merlin does a great job balancing storytelling, entertaining writing, fascinating musings, and hard science to create an engaging and informative experience from start to finish.

Feb 05, 2021

This is a beautiful and absorbing book by a scientist who is also an excellent communicator. Brilliant, mind-blowing, and a pleasure to read. There is so much here to 'wow' us and expand our understanding and awareness. He treats us to perspectives on the fascinating world all around us and under our feet, populated by inconceivable numbers of organisms that live their lives in ways we can barely imagine. I can't see how exploration of other planets could blow our minds more than the discoveries to be made right here on Earth. I love his phrase 'to think outside the skull' -- i.e. to get beyond our limited human perspective and open our minds to what's really going on in this world, in all its astounding age and complexity.

LoganLib_Phoebe Jan 04, 2021

This is an incredible book about something that's often overlooked in our daily life - fungi. They can help or harm us and they are intensely fascinating. The wonderfully named Merlin Sheldrake is our guide to the world of fungi. One of the scientists he mentioned sounds a bit like Radagast the Brown from the Hobbit - I think you have to be a special kind of person to work with fungi! And maybe we need more people to work with them...

Nov 30, 2020

The first 8 pages wowed me.. and then the rest was okay. There was something super interesting maybe every 40 pages. I found the author to be a bit "braggy" bringing up people he knows. Also, considering he is a biologist with a PhD he didn't provide much information that he seems to know himself but rather a lot of quoting other peoples work. It read kind of like a thesis more than a book. The book was fairly easy to read and overall was interesting. But I thought I was going to quit halfway through because the middle of the book was pretty bland.

Sep 27, 2020

Trying to understand what a mushroom is throws up all kinds of questions about identity and individualism. The book also made me fretful about what the fires in the West are doing to complex ecological networks.

Aug 18, 2020

A terrific and interesting look at how we humans need these creatures to survive. A rather interesting story of how essential many unseen things are in our world. A little warning to preserve these and all our fellow species to maintain the Earth.
a very interesting look at what we don't see.

JCLFlanneryC Jul 13, 2020

An accessible and beautifully written science book with relevant insights about how we think of biology, collaboration, and intelligence. Reading about the intuition demonstrated by mushroom colonies and their incredible adaptability really does point us to how we can evolve past our basest "survival instincts" and work together to thrive.


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