How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence is a 2018 book by Michael Pollan. It became a No. 1 New York Times best-seller.
How to Change Your Mind chronicles the long and storied history of psychedelic drugs, from their turbulent 1960s heyday to the resulting countermovement and backlash. Through his coverage of the recent resurgence in this field of research, as well as his own personal use of psychedelics via a “mental travelogue”, Pollan seeks to illuminate not only the mechanics of the drugs themselves, but also the inner workings of the human mind and consciousness.
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
The book is organized into six chapters with an epilogue:
- A Renaissance
- Natural History: Bemushroomed
- History: The First Wave
- Travelogue: Journeying Underground
- The Neuroscience: Your Brain on Psychedelics
- The Trip Treatment: Psychedelics in Psychotherapy
Paperback : 480 pages
New York Times Book Review 10 Best Books of 2018
A New York Times Notable Book
The #1 New York Times bestseller.
About the Author:
Michael Pollan is the author of seven previous books, including Cooked, Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma and The Botany of Desire, all of which were New York Times bestsellers. He’s also the author of the audiobook Caffeine: How Caffeine Created the Modern World. A longtime contributor to the New York Times Magazine, he also teaches writing at Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley. In 2010, TIME magazine named him one of the one hundred most influential people in the world.
“Pollan’s deeply researched chronicle will enlighten those who think of psychedelics chiefly as a kind of punchline to a joke about the Woodstock generation and hearten the growing number who view them as a potential antidote to our often stubbornly narrow minds….engaging and informative.”—Boston Globe
“Pollan keeps you turning the pages …. cleareyed and assured.”—New York Times
“A deep dive into the history of psychedelics….Deliciously trippy.”—NY Post
“Amid new scientific interest in the potential healing properties of psychedelic drugs, Pollan…sets about researching their history—and giving them a (supervised!) try himself. He came away impressed by their promise in treating addiction and depression—and with his mind expanded. Yours will be too.”—People
“Astounding.”—Andrew Sullivan, New York Magazine
“Sweeping and often thrilling….It is to Pollan’s credit that, while he ranks among the best of science writers, he’s willing, when necessary, to abandon that genre’s fixation on materialist explanation as the only path to understanding. One of the book’s important messages is that the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics, for the dying or seriously ill, can’t be separated from the mystical experiences to which they give rise.”—The Guardian
“Makes a compelling case for the potential value of psychedelic experiences.”—Pittsburgh Post Gazette
“Journalist Michael Pollan explored psychoactive plants in The Botany of Desire(2001). In this bold, intriguing study, he delves further…Pollan even ‘shakes the snow globe’ himself, chemically self-experimenting in the spirit of psychologist William James, who speculated about the wilder shores of consciousness more than a century ago.”—Nature, International Journal of Science
“Revelatory . . . Immensely fascinating . . . Pollan approaches his subject as a science writer and a skeptic endowed with equal parts rigorous critical thinking and openminded curiosity.” —Maria Popova, Brainpickings
“Pollan, Cooked, 2013, has long enlightened and entertained readers with his superbly inquisitive and influential books about food. He now investigates a very different sort of comestible, psychedelics (from the Greek: “mind manifesting”), and what they reveal about consciousness and the brain. Pollan’s complexly elucidating and enthralling inquiry combines fascinating and significant history with daring and resonant reportage and memoir, and looks forward to a new open-mindedness toward psychedelics and the benefits of diverse forms of consciousness.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Pollan, Cooked, shifts his focus to other uses of plants in this brilliant history of psychedelics across cultures and generations, the neuroscience of its effects, the revival of research on its potential to heal mental illness—and his own mind-changing trips…. This nuanced and sophisticated exploration, which asks big questions about meaning-making and spiritual experience, is thought-provoking and eminently readable.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A trip well worth taking, eye-opening and even mind-blowing.” —Kirkus (starred review)