Entangled Life

Entangled Life : How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures

4.38 (16,386 ratings by Goodreads)
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*THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER*

*A NEW STATESMAN, DAILY TELEGRAPH, THE TIMES, BBC SCIENCE FOCUS, EVENING STANDARD, MAIL ON SUNDAY AND SUNDAY TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020*

'A dazzling, vibrant, vision-changing book. I ended it wonderstruck at the fungal world. A remarkable work by a remarkable writer' Robert Macfarlane

The more we learn about fungi, the less makes sense without them.

Neither plant nor animal, they are found throughout the earth, the air and our bodies. They can be microscopic, yet also account for the largest organisms ever recorded. They enabled the first life on land, can survive unprotected in space and thrive amidst nuclear radiation. In fact, nearly all life relies in some way on fungi.

These endlessly surprising organisms have no brain but can solve problems and manipulate animal behaviour with devastating precision. In giving us bread, alcohol and life-saving medicines, fungi have shaped human history, and their psychedelic properties have recently been shown to alleviate a number of mental illnesses. Their ability to digest plastic, explosives, pesticides and crude oil is being harnessed in break-through technologies, and the discovery that they connect plants in underground networks, the 'Wood Wide Web', is transforming the way we understand ecosystems. Yet over ninety percent of their species remain undocumented.

Entangled Life is a mind-altering journey into a spectacular and neglected world, and shows that fungi provide a key to understanding both the planet on which we live, and life itself.

'Reads like an adventure story ... wondrous ... beguilingly weaves together lived experience and scientific research' Sunday Times

'An astonishing book that could alter our perceptions of fungi for ever. It seems somehow to tip the natural world upside down' Observer

'Dazzling ... reveals a world that's both more extraordinary and more delicate than could be imagined' Daily Mail
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Product details

  • Hardback | 368 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 162mm | 724g
  • The Bodley Head Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1847925197
  • 9781847925190
  • 17,234

Review Text

Riveting and surprising at every turn... A sensory as well as an intellectual pleasure
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Review quote

Astonishing... It seems somehow to tip the natural world upside down * Observer * Riveting and surprising at every turn... A sensory as well as an intellectual pleasure * New Statesman * A true masterpiece, a thrilling and fascinating insight into the living world... I hope and trust that it will become an instant classic -- GEORGE MONBIOT A revelation... Changes the way we need to look at life, the planet and ourselves -- ISABELLA TREE, author of Wilding Blew my mind... Essential reading. Go and get swept up in a new world -- ANDREA WULF, author of The Invention of Nature Wondrous... Humans should consider fungi among the greatest of earth's marvels * Time, Books of the Year * Wonderful... Eye-opening... A journey into an untapped world * New Scientist * Truly astounding... An engrossing, captivating journey... Perspective-altering * Spectator * One of those rare books that can truly change the way you see the world around you, Entangled Life is a mercurial, revelatory, impassioned, urgent, astounding, and necessary read. It's fearless in scope, analytically astute, and brimming with infectious joy -- HELEN MACDONALD, author of H is for Hawk Few books blew my mind like Merlin Sheldrake's Entangled Life. The research, passion, writing, insights ... Not sure if I've ever learned so much from ONE book. Here is to another scientist who celebrates imagination. Essential reading. Go and get swept up in a new world -- ANDREA WULF, author of The Invention of Nature A true masterpiece, a thrilling and fascinating insight into the living world, beautifully written, entertaining, funny and inspiring, while representing the science carefully and responsibly. I hope and trust that it will become an instant classic -- GEORGE MONBIOT I fell in love with this book. Merlin is a scientist with the imagination of a poet and a beautiful writer ... This is a book that, by virtue of the power of its writing, shifts your sense of the human ... It will inspire a generation to enter mycology -- MICHAEL POLLAN (Bay Area Book Festival, 2020) A dazzling, vibrant, vision-changing book. Sentence after sentence stopped me short. I ended it wonderstruck at the fungal world - the secrets of which modern science is only now beginning to fathom - and the earth-shaking, hierarchy-breaking implications of Sheldrake's argument. A remarkable work by a remarkable writer -- ROBERT MACFARLANE, author of Underland Wondrous ... an astonishing book that could alter our perceptions of fungi for ever. It seems somehow to tip the natural world upside down -- Rachel Cooke * Observer * Reads like an adventure story ... wondrous ... beguilingly weaves together lived experience and scientific research -- John Carey * Sunday Times * After this book, nothing will seem the same again ... beautifully written and illustrated ... dazzling ... reveals a world that's both more extraordinary and more delicate than could be imagined * Mail on Sunday * The lives of fungi alone are fascinating, but the questions and wider implications that Sheldrake teases out from them are often truly astounding ... an engrossing, captivating journey ... rigorous, comprehensive, perspective-altering ... if this book is any indication, [Sheldrake] has an exciting career in not only science but also literature ahead of him * Spectator * Entangled Life is gorgeous! Enjoying it very much! Despair of the future of life on earth? Never mind, there will be fungus among us. One way or another -- MARGARET ATWOOD (on Twitter) Brilliant ... entrancing ... when we look closely [at fungi], we meet large, unsettling questions ... Merlin Sheldrake ... carries us easily into these questions with ebullience and precision ... challenging some of our deepest assumptions ... A 'door-opener' book is one with a specialist subject in which it finds pathways leading everywhere ... Sheldrake's book is a very fine example * Guardian * Mind-boggling... [Sheldrake] is nothing if not a participatory researcher into his subject and one with a winning sense of humour... it might be a good time to give thanks for this humble lifeform's effect on our lives... It's tempting... to see fungi as the biological model for a better world * Telegraph ***** *
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About Merlin Sheldrake

Merlin Sheldrake is a biologist and a writer. He received a Ph.D. in Tropical Ecology from Cambridge University for his work on underground fungal networks in tropical forests in Panama, where he was a predoctoral research fellow of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. He is a musician and keen fermenter. Entangled Life is his first book.
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Rating details

16,386 ratings
4.38 out of 5 stars
5 53% (8,640)
4 35% (5,675)
3 11% (1,754)
2 2% (252)
1 0% (65)
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