Audiobooks Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures Author Merlin Sheldrake – Andy-palmer.co.uk

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures This was such a cut above many of the single subject science books that are regularly published i.e., Water Salt Cotton Life of Birds Trees, etc It s a combination of the author knowing his topic inside and out, having an engaging writing style, speaking both to the subject and to its wider implications, and constantly challenging and informing the reader Thus, one walks away not only having learned a lot about fungi, but about why it s so important and little understood The chapter This was such a cut above many of the single subject science books that are regularly published i.e., Water Salt Cotton Life of Birds Trees, etc It s a combination of the author knowing his topic inside and out, having an engaging writing style, speaking both to the subject and to its wider implications, and constantly challenging and informing the reader Thus, one walks away not only having learned a lot about fungi, but about why it s so important and little understood The chapter on lichens was so great I had to listen to it twice, then again I basically listened to the book twice because it was so good The parts on the psychedelic properties are probably the least interesting of the book, surprisingly enough although posing why they kept those chemical properties over time was fascinating Great read and one to revisit again Merlin Sheldrake, the author of Entangled Life How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Future, kindly sent me an advance copy and asked for comment It is due to be published this May by Random House.One might naturally be inclined to form certain assumptions about someone named Merlin That they are a wizard, perhaps, or at least capable of casting spells I don t know if he is a wizard, but what I can tell you is that he has written an enchanting book It has had me spell b Merlin Sheldrake, the author of Entangled Life How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Future, kindly sent me an advance copy and asked for comment It is due to be published this May by Random House.One might naturally be inclined to form certain assumptions about someone named Merlin That they are a wizard, perhaps, or at least capable of casting spells I don t know if he is a wizard, but what I can tell you is that he has written an enchanting book It has had me spell bound for many hours, as Merlin invited me to tag along on his explorations of the mycosphere, the invisible fungal kingdom that is everywhere in nature and yet only rarely noticed Merlin Sheldrake has obviously noticed, and his knowledge of his specialty mycology and his enthusiasm and erudition shines through on every page Much as a foray in the woods might turn up many beautiful wild mushrooms, Merlin invites us into the fecund forest of his mind to introduce a few of his fungal friends Each chapter focuses on different facets of fungal biology In one we learn of the incredible chemical capabilities of truffles, which produce an array of complex volatile compounds that appeal to olfactory sensibilities like nothing else in nature, and as a result, truffles are among of the most valuable and sought after fungi known, often fetching thousands of dollars per kilo In another, he discusses mycelial networks, the hyperconnected hyphal matrices that permeate ecosystems and sustain and regulate them, that are everywhere and yet unseen, and through their growth patterns, adaptive strategies and symbiotic interactions with plants, demonstrate an inherent intelligence that does not require a brain or nervous system, yet is every bit as complex and clever as any mammalian brain Another chapter introduces us to lichens, bizarre super organisms that are really ecosystems unto themselves, symbiotic associations between fungi, algae and bacteria that are able to thrive in some of the most extreme environments on Earth, from blasted deserts to Antarctic glaciers, and as research is showing quite able to adapt to extraterrestrial environments He does not neglect, of course, to discuss the psychoactive fungi that make neurotransmitter analogs like psilocybin that happen to activate receptors in the brain that mediate the deepest human experiences of awe and wonder But Sheldrake puts this into context by discussing other fungal species that have evolved clever strategies for invading the nervous systems of insects and programming their behavior to optimize their reproductive cycles and spore distribution Humans may be the most complex organisms whose behavior is affected by fungi, but it is in principle no different than the behavioral engineering they unleash on ants and other insects to entice them to do their bidding.All of this anddoes Merlin Sheldrake share with us in his garden of fungal marvels But readers should not worry that his book may be too dense to comprehend, or accessible only to scientists and specialists That is not the case at all Sheldrake has a gift, found among the best science writers, of explaining very complex concepts, identifying the connections that link different disciplines, and serving it all up in such an engaging way that the reader forgets that they are not supposed to understand this stuff Instead, the reader is carried away on a fantastic fungal foray that s as hard to put down as a thrilling detective novel This book is one of the best works of popular science writing that I have enjoyed in years, and I hope that it, and Mr Sheldrake, receive the attention and accolades that they deserve A Journey Into The Hidden World Of FungiWhen 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 BehaveIn Entangled Life, The Biologist Merlin Sheldrake Shows Us The World From A Fungal Point Of View Sheldrake S 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 I saw the cover for this and I was sold on it immediately I have a burning passion for Ecology, Biology, Botany, and nature stuff in general Yet, I ve never delved into the realm of Fungus before, something I m kicking myself about now.There s a certain feeling of awe I get when I hit a topic that I know virtually nothing about and I feel like my brain just absorbed so much brand new information that it changes the way I think about things When I hit a book that reminds me that there s still I saw the cover for this and I was sold on it immediately I have a burning passion for Ecology, Biology, Botany, and nature stuff in general Yet, I ve never delved into the realm of Fungus before, something I m kicking myself about now.There s a certain feeling of awe I get when I hit a topic that I know virtually nothing about and I feel like my brain just absorbed so much brand new information that it changes the way I think about things When I hit a book that reminds me that there s still an endless infinite number of things to learn it s both humbling and exciting I can t say enough positive things about this one And who knows, maybe this is a boring topic to many and I ll be alone in my revelry, but I hope not.Did you know that slime molds have been used to model traffic patterns in major cities It s true Scientists have built mini cities to scale for slime mold, and they will inevitably take the fastest way out Does decision making on which paths to take count as intelligence What if fungus can communicate with its many branches, with other life forms does that count as intelligence There arequestions asked than answered in this book, but that s part of the fun Slime molds have been used multiple times to map escape routes from buildings, emergency snow routes, etc They are capable of analyzing and using vast amounts of data from the world around them to make survival decisions There s been talk that if we could tap in and decode the signals they send to each other, that we could use them as environmental monitors sending real time data about pollution, temperature, water flow, acidity, and other values.They are the largest living organisms on the planet Some of the most ancient and long living as well with many specimens lifespans measured in thousands of years Lichen can survive the vacuum of space, radiation 1000X stronger than a lethal dose for humans, and keep on ticking.They are able to exchange genes horizontally That s like if you bumped into a red head on the street, and now you re a red head too This shit is absolutely wild.There are entire lifestyles and cultures that revolve around truffles and their dogs pigs that track them down It gets serious sometimes too, as some truffles are worth their weight in gold.Every aspect of this book was mind bending to me, and it s going to stick with me every time I see or eat a mushroom.For me, the icing on the cake was that this book was told from the perspective of someone who loves the topic There are an addictiveness and contagiousness to someone who has a passion for the topic they re speaking about, and I caught the bug The audiobook was fantastic and I recommend this to basically anyone who has a remote interest in nature, plants or want something to occupy yourself with something you ve probably never given much thought Entangled Life How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds Shape Our Futures is an up to date book about fungi and everything fungal It s so beautifully written that I sometimes forget it s a science book Don t get me wrong, the book is scientific, but it is the opposite of the dry, academic style.The most fascinating aspect is the mycorrhizal networks Apparently the term Wood Wide Web is an inaccurate metaphor for several reasons 1 It s plant centric, unable to convey the symbiosis betEntangled Life How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds Shape Our Futures is an up to date book about fungi and everything fungal It s so beautifully written that I sometimes forget it s a science book Don t get me wrong, the book is scientific, but it is the opposite of the dry, academic style.The most fascinating aspect is the mycorrhizal networks Apparently the term Wood Wide Web is an inaccurate metaphor for several reasons 1 It s plant centric, unable to convey the symbiosis between fungi and plants Everything changes when we see fungi as active participants of the network A fungi point of view allows us to see who benefit who and solve the question of atrium that rises in a plant centric lenses 2 It implies only one type of mycorrhizal network but in fact there are several 3 Internet is a machine network, created and managed by one entity humans , while mycorrhizal networks are collection of self organized living organisms in a mutually beneficial relationship The mycelium network is also a hotspot in biocomputing Mycelium networks are similar to animal brains in the sense that both are fantastically complex network with electrically excitable cells, but the similarity stops there I am fascinated by biocomputing, but the book does not dive into it.The chapter about lichens is fascinating too It is new to me that a lichen may not be the symbiosis of two organisms but many, and its complexity may earn it the status of an ecosystem.Of course, it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a book about fungi must include a chapter about psilocybin mushrooms and psychedelics Here are several things I ve just learned from the book 1 A fungal species isolated from mining wastes is the most radiation resistant organism ever discovered and may help to clean up the nuclear waste sites In fact, this species is found abundant in Chernobyl.2 Agarwood, a fragrant resinous wood used in perfume,valuable per gram than gold, is formed in the heartwood of aquilaria trees infected by a fungus Phialophora parasitica.3 A handful of lichen species are able to survive in the full space conditions.4 Radical mycology is something worth looking into.5 Mass cultivated fruits and vegs loosing their favor may be the consequence of the plants loosing their fungi partners.QuotesAnthropomorphism is usually thought as an illusion that rises as a blister on the soft human mind, untrained, undisciplined, unhardened There is a good reason for this When we humanize the world, we may prevent us from understanding lives of other organisms on their own terms Mycelium is polyphony in bodily form Each of woman s voice is hyphal tip, exploring a soundscape for itself Although each is free to wander, their wandering can t be seen as separate from each other There is no main voice There is no lead tune There is no central planning Nonetheless, a form emerges Here is a video where Merlin Sheldrake explains why using the internet metaphor to describe mycorrhizal networks is inaccurate.A side note Merlin Sheldrake s brother is Cosmo, a musician Terrance McKenna, the magic mushroom guru, is their family friend The name Merlin reminds me The Beguiling of Merlin I have been enchanted by Merlin and the wonderful world of mycorrhizal networks Fascinating look at the fungal world like never before The author is not just an expert but a devotee of mushrooms and provides an endless amount of fascinating information and stories Sorry but fascinating is the only word that will do for much of it Few illustrations done with inky mushroom ink add to the book but it would benefit from photos andillustrations since it s so text heavy and some of us can t read 200 pages of even fascinating mushroom information without going a little cr Fascinating look at the fungal world like never before The author is not just an expert but a devotee of mushrooms and provides an endless amount of fascinating information and stories Sorry but fascinating is the only word that will do for much of it Few illustrations done with inky mushroom ink add to the book but it would benefit from photos andillustrations since it s so text heavy and some of us can t read 200 pages of even fascinating mushroom information without going a little cross eyed withouttext breaks Fully 1 3 of the book over 100 pages are references and bibliography Truly a book for anyone interested in mushrooms and other fungi, from biologists to fermenters, it s a must read for mushroom lovers A hand injury makes me temporarily unable to type well with my right hand so my reviews will be shorter than usual for a bit Review copy via net galley This, simply, was one of the most beautifully written things I ve ever had the pleasure of reading.I ve always been a big fan of mushrooms for eating, and a big fan of the fungal world for exploring Fungus gets short shrift, which is sad, given that it s one of theintegral and interesting forms of life on this planet though it stands to reason that it might seem so interesting because its been ignored and unexplored for, oh, all but the last 60 years, at least by Western standards Beca This, simply, was one of the most beautifully written things I ve ever had the pleasure of reading.I ve always been a big fan of mushrooms for eating, and a big fan of the fungal world for exploring Fungus gets short shrift, which is sad, given that it s one of theintegral and interesting forms of life on this planet though it stands to reason that it might seem so interesting because its been ignored and unexplored for, oh, all but the last 60 years, at least by Western standards Because of this, every time a new book on mushrooms pops up, I try to give it a read Whether they re psychedelic or symbiotic or just good eating, I want to learnabout their fungal friends For some reason, without fail, from Terrence McKenna to Michael Pollen, all of these missives smack of the poetic, but Entangled Life takes the cake There were passages in this book, ostensibly non fiction, ostensibly not just a collection of wonderfully written essays but a scientific if pop scientific text that were just so beautiful I had to interrupt my partner, regardless of what he was doing, to read them out loud to him On top of that, there were points where I had to do the same thing just to make him laugh Sheldrake manages to be quirky and clever without being twee, and the prose luscious and lovely without compromising its ability to convey the sheer magnitude of scientific fact I could make a metaphor here about how both of these things might actually have been enhanced by each other much in the way that algae and fungi combine to become lichen, but instead I ll pretend like I didn t just say any of that.This was thoroughly enjoyable I haven t made my way through all the notes at the end of the text yet, but suffice is to say that I want to I really want to I genuinely wantof this book Or perhaps, as Sheldrake suggests in the epilogue, I should give it over to the earth, leave it to ferment, and drink it as a wordy beer, but then, I don t think I really need to I m already intoxicated with it Rave review at Science magazine AAAS , Sheldrake s book is an ode to fungi the fungi that call to pigs from beneath the earth the fungi that colonized the land from the sea and made it possible for plants to move ashore the fungi that connect trees in a network, a web, an exchange system the fungi that take control of minds those of insects and that of the writer and fungi that produce alcohol and enable the making of bread, which have bee Rave review at Science magazine AAAS , Sheldrake s book is an ode to fungi the fungi that call to pigs from beneath the earth the fungi that colonized the land from the sea and made it possible for plants to move ashore the fungi that connect trees in a network, a web, an exchange system the fungi that take control of minds those of insects and that of the writer and fungi that produce alcohol and enable the making of bread, which have been dancing with humanity since before the dawn of agriculture More than anything else, Entangled Life is an ode to other ways of being In reading Entangled Life, it becomes clear that when we perceive fungi, we often do so with metaphors and through the lens of our own limited senses Whereas we communicate with words and symbols, theirs is a realm of biochemical messages and exchanges In chapter six and elsewhere in the book, Sheldrake considers the underground web of connections between fungi and plants, tallying the many systems to which these connections have been compared social networks, rivers, the internet, labyrinths, the interrelated yet separate organs in the human body Fungal connections are like all of these things, and yet they are also sufficiently singular as to be beyond easy description.It is perhaps only when fungi manipulate our own bodies that we fully realize their powers In chapter four, Sheldrake describes the mind altering drugs produced by fungi, using the story of his own LSD trip to consider the diverse ways fungi convince animals to do their bidding He returns to this theme in chapter eight, considering the ways in which yeasts have shaped human society We describe ourselves as using yeasts to make beer, wine, and sourdough bread, but Sheldrake makes clear that yeasts, by producing aromas and alcohols that please and alter our minds, are actually using us to produceof themselves Reviewer Rob Dunn wrote Never Home Alone From Microbes to Millipedes , which I recoommended Jennifer Szalai liked it a lot, at the NY Times Finishing the manuscript for a book is usually the consummation of years of work, and when writers emerge on the other side, they often try to do something appropriately celebratory For his new book, Entangled Life How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures, the young fungal biologist Merlin Sheldrake decided on a ritual I had never heard of, much less fathomed.He dampened a copy of the book and seeded it with spores, eating the oyster mushrooms that sprouted from its pages Taking another copy, he tore up the pages, mashed them up to release their sugars and fermented the solution into beer Forget the trite literary pleasures of a gourmet meal or a champagne toast Here is an author who marked the completion of his book by ingesting it I have always found mushrooms magical The way they suddenly appear overnight after a rainstorm amazes me Walk down a forest path one day and see nothing The next morning, suddenly you encounter hundreds of them Bright or dull, colourful or drab, they are everywhere you look.But where do they come from and how do they burst through the ground, fully formed, overnight What I didn t know before reading this book, aside from how they appear like magic, is that mushrooms are the fruit of fungi I have always found mushrooms magical The way they suddenly appear overnight after a rainstorm amazes me Walk down a forest path one day and see nothing The next morning, suddenly you encounter hundreds of them Bright or dull, colourful or drab, they are everywhere you look.But where do they come from and how do they burst through the ground, fully formed, overnight What I didn t know before reading this book, aside from how they appear like magic, is that mushrooms are the fruit of fungi Like an apple which lies on an orchard floor waiting to be eaten and its seeds dispersed through the intestines of a bird, the mushroom is full of spores that need to be distributed farther afield Entangled Life How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds Shape Our Futures is a fascinating glimpse into the world of all things fungi A world that is intimately entangled with just about everything else on earth I made so many highlights in this book that it would take pages to share with you everything I learned It is full of the most alluring details about fungi Life as we know it would not exist if it wasn t for fungi We have fungi living inside us and all around us They even seed clouds and stimulate the formation of raindrops or snowflakes Fungi inhabited the earth long before plants made their way onto the scene And it was because of fungi that plants were able to move onto land Fungi acted as the roots of water plants until they were able to evolve roots of their own, which took some fifty million years.Fungi continue to have a symbiotic relationship with plants Of course, there are some species which are detrimental to certain plants, and yet they could not live without the help of fungi Fungi connect plants and trees through the world wide wood , providing them nutrients and making their fruitsor less juicier and sweeter The mycelial networks in the ground compute information encoded in spikes of electrical activity, allowing plants to communicate with each other When an aphid begins eating the leaves of a plant, it can send out an alarm to others of its kind through the mycelial network, prompting them to put off chemicals that will keep the aphids away.But it s not just plants whose lives are made possible by fungi It is also our own They live in our guts and help us get nutrients from food Food that wouldn t even exist if it wasn t for fungi They nourish us with their mushroom fruit as long as we know which to avoid Eat the wrong mushroom and it s bye bye to you Psilocybin found in certain magic mushrooms help alleviate depression and break addiction.Merlin Sheldrake isn t his name the coolest talks about these things and so muchBunches and bundles and gobs and heaps of fungi facts Here are a few of my highlights Like plants, fungi can see color across the spectrum using receptors sensitive to blue light and red light unlike plants, fungi also have opsins, the light sensitive pigments present in the rods and cones of animal eyes Most fungi are able to detect and respond to light its direction, intensity, or color , temperature, moisture, nutrients, toxins, and electrical fields Some fungi can be taught to break down radioactive material, cigarette butts, and dirty diapers and use it for their energy There are between 2.2 and 3.8 million species of fungi in the world six to ten times the estimated number of plant species , of which over 90% remain undocumented Fungi arelike animals than plants Fungi not only give us penicillin, they also give us statins to lower cholesterol and many powerful antiviral and anticancer compounds Because certain species of fungi are so good at fighting viruses, I hope that somewhere in the world, a mycologist is in her lab trying to find one which can extirpate Covid19 Mr Sheldrake has so muchinformation and so manyfacts in this book It s impossible for me to do justice in a review This book is very accessible even if one doesn t have a background in biology which I do not and is highly readable I was enrapt through the entirety of the book How could I not be when I learned new things on every single page of this book Fungi are incredible They make our lives possible, and they make our lives better as long as we know which ones to avoid.The author also discusses the use of fungi for fabricating new materials, such as leather and a material that replaces brick, particle boards, and concrete I found this fascinating and yet couldn t help but consider the ethicality of killing fungi for microfabrics I know, I know, this is going to make some people scoff, and that s OK For me though, because fungi display an array of intelligent characteristics, I can t help but worry that perhaps they are intelligent and sentient However, unless and until we learn that they are, it isethical to make leather from these fungi than from animal skins.It is also better for the environment, as Hundreds of square feet of mycelial leather can be grown in less than a week on materials that would otherwise be disposed of Mr Sheldrake discusses climate change as well as the effect intensive farming practices have on fungal species A combination of plowing and application of chemical fertilizers or fungicides reduce the abundance of mycorrhizal fungi This poses a worry to future food production because a plant seed that cannot find suitable fungi is unlikely to survive It is apparent throughout the book that life on earth owes much of its thanks to fungi, and yet fungi is perhaps the least understood life form on earth.Kudos to Merlin Sheldrake for writing such an engrossing and educational book I highly recommend it We commonly think of animals and plants as matter, but they are really systems through which matter is constantly passing Things that delighted me 2 citations fromBraiding Sweetgrassby Robin Wall Kimmerer, which everyone should also read a quoted passage from Galadriel in LOTR and the newfound knowledge that J.R.R Tolkein was a consumer of mycelial research illustrations rendered in ink made of mushrooms Our descriptions warp and deform the phenomena we describe, but sometimes th We commonly think of animals and plants as matter, but they are really systems through which matter is constantly passing Things that delighted me 2 citations fromBraiding Sweetgrassby Robin Wall Kimmerer, which everyone should also read a quoted passage from Galadriel in LOTR and the newfound knowledge that J.R.R Tolkein was a consumer of mycelial research illustrations rendered in ink made of mushrooms Our descriptions warp and deform the phenomena we describe, but sometimes this is the only way to talk about features of the world to say what they are like but what they are not Things I learned so much Fungal spores trigger the formation of water droplets in clouds they trigger the weather Fungi can reconfigure their digestion to consume all sorts of toxic things people produce cigarette butts, used diapers, radioactive particles, even plastic Fungi are ingenious beings wholly consumed by consuming Once , a global crisis is turning into a suite of fungal opportunities Why everyone should read this book It will change the way you think, not only about fungi, but how you approach thinking about anything that is a given There is hope sourced in mycelial bodies this book gives just a few tastes of all the ways fungi can help save the world If you say that a plant learns, decides, communicates, or remembers, are you humanizing the plant or vegetalizing a set of human concepts Takeaways I want to knowThis book enchanted me, took me on an entangled journey, demonstrated earth shifting realizations, and showed me just how much I still have no inkling of It left me in a mood that rhymes with our mycelial friends I ve just eaten a mouthful, a stomachful, but I want ARC provided by Random House via novel memphisYoutube Instagram


About the Author: Merlin Sheldrake

Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures book, this is one of the most wanted Merlin Sheldrake author readers around the world.


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