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Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World
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Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

4.43 of 5 stars 4.43  ·  rating details  ·  1,025 ratings  ·  111 reviews
Mycelium Running is a manual for the mycological rescue of the planet. That’s right: growing more mushrooms may be the best thing we can do to save the environment, and in this groundbreaking text from mushroom expert Paul Stamets, you’ll find out how.

The basic science goes like this: Microscopic cells called “mycelium”--the fruit of which are mushrooms--recycle carbon, ni
Paperback, 356 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by Ten Speed Press (first published 2005)
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Here's (one of) my problem(s) with Stamets and his book: I just think it's frikin' heartless. He immediately goes into a convincing argument that mycelia (the underground structure of mushrooms) are sentient: they know that you're walking on them, they communicate, and so on. And then he dives straight into a discourse on how someday, we'll be able to harness these abilities for our own purposes, and use fungi as our communications devices. Yuck. It makes my heart hurt, and I can never make it m ...more
I was fairly disappointed in this book, given the amount of hype that surrounds it in some circles. A couple specific gripes: muddling hypothesis and proven facts/theories, making huge, sweeping statements without footnotes or references - ie, this mushroom might cure cancer... sure, it might , so might dancing the tango, but how likely is it - when there are references, they are to the author's own work or to incredibly small science-fair-esque experiments. Further, I was put off by the whoo ...more
Andrea Marley
Wow, I got my mind grapes blown on this one. I remember hearing about this book on NPR.

Mushrooms are the link between plants and animals. (!!!!!!!!!) They have existed for eons, for billions of years. Throughout cosmic wind storms, when 90% of the life on the planet was decimated, throughout dinosaur evolution and extinction, and now up to this teeny tiny period of time humans have been around.

Mushrooms are in many ways the earths largest organism. They can spread a network of communicating spo
Jun 22, 2008 Justin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: The human race, but specifically poeple interested in habitat restoration
Basically, Dr. Stamets and his work is having profound effects in the way i look at the world and our ability to prevent ecological disaster. From watching his TED conference talk ( to reading this book and then spending a weekend within the old growth forest on the clackamas river my brain has been stewing with possibility and opportunity.
Not only will you never see fungi the same way, but for the frst time in a long time i am positive about the human race's chances for contin
This book is so exciting and inspiring! Stamets is not kidding - mushrooms really do have an important place in restoring a lot of damage we have done to the earth, and in keeping us alive and healthy on it! I love the instructions for starting your own outdoor mushroom patches, and the different ways his research into fungi has taken him. Did you know the largest living organism on earth is a fungus? That the pesticide industry is unnecessary? That saving the Northwest's old-growth forests is a ...more
Mo Tipton
This book is excellent. Stamets covers everything from mycofiltration with tips on using mycelial mats for water treatment on a home-scale level to gardening with fungi, including tips on which fungal species to use with different garden plants for maximum results. Gourmet and medicinal uses of fungi, mycoforestry, mycopesticides, and mycoremediation of ecosystems damaged by chemical and heavy metal contaminants are also covered. I will definitely grab a second hand copy of this for use on my fu ...more
Mike Mcconnell
Amongst the many insights in this book one of the most interesting was a passage where Stamets discussed the number of anti biotics and anti vitals that originated with different kinds of mycelium and goes on to posit that given the mycellial biodiversity there's probably an antiviral there for every virus we encounter.
There's definitely some interesting ideas here, but the book could have used some more editing. Also, it's weird how Paul Stamets patents all of his most useful discoveries so that nobody can use them without paying him.
Jan 02, 2008 Walker rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
This book, written for the lay person, describes in an interesting and fun way how fungi might just save the world. Topics include using fungi to clean oil spills and toxic waste, fungi as organic pesticides in agriculture or for termite control, medicinal properties of fungus, and much more. After reading this book, i believe that studying and working with fungi will yield many significant technological and cultural advances for decades, if not centuries to come. Understanding fungus will help ...more
Paul Stamets is kinda like a mycological Paul Farmer. He's that cool. If you are a mushroom forager, you may already have heard some things about him. If you are a gardener, you will be intrigued by the things he has to say about no-till and sustainable agriculture. I think this book is sheer genius. I guess I gave it only four stars because I think that there are some commercial tie ins which I am unsure as to how I feel about. How was that for a prepositional cluster?
This was fantastic!

I'd previously read another book by Stamets but found that a lot of the techniques required access to a lab and were directed at the commercial grower. This was filled with DIY techniques suitable for interested beginners.

He introduces the importance of the mushroom in the forest ecosystem before giving a wide range of practical examples showing how they can be used for mycoremediation.

His passion for the subject is clear.

This is a must read for anyone with an interest in natu
Jim Davis
terrific how to save the world with mycological techniques.
brilliant, prescient and timely.
so many good ideas for integrating the fungal kingdom into gardens and increasing soil health.
Julie O'toole
Oddly, this is one of the best books I've ever read
I liked this book but it seemed too pro-mushroom and only the first half of the book was really interesting to me (the second half was more how to actually get active in mycology whereas I'm just interested in the theory not the application). I think the book is impressive with color illustrations and no expense spared on that count, but I've seen maps and charts on the internet that would have been good to include in this book. It's the only book I've read on mushrooms so I have no basis for co ...more
Will Szal

Four kinds of mushrooms:
*Saprophytic - decomposers [primary, secondary, tertiary]
*Parasitic - “blights of the forest or agents for habitat restoration?”
*Mycorrhizal - “fungus and plant partnerships”
*Endophytic - mutualistic, fungal partnerships

*Mycofiltration - filtering out manure
*Mycoforestry - preventing parasitic fungi with other fungi
*Mycoremediation - restoring logging roads, digesting diesel fuel, collecting radiation and heavy metals
*Mycopesticides - ant-proofing
Loree Burns
About a month ago, I picked a book that had been sitting on my desk for more than a year, MYCELIUM RUNNING, and finally started reading. Within days, the Deepwater Horizon exploded and oil from below the Earth’s crust began pouring into the Gulf of Mexico. Serendipitous, that, because while my mind has since grappled with the enormity of the disaster in the Gulf—massive amounts of oil and massive amounts of dispersants pouring and shooting into our oceans—I have been saved from complete despair ...more
I borrowed this book in kindle format from my local library because the price to purchase the kindle version seemed rather high to me ($24+ at Amazon). However, after reading it, I could recommend paying a higher price for the book, especially if you are interested in growing or gathering mushrooms.

I was looking for a general introduction to mushrooms and their myriad uses. This book gave me that and much more. The first part of the book goes into great detail about the amazing uses of mushroom
Mar 06, 2009 Kitty added it
I first discovered author Paul Stamets at a lecture he gave in Los Angeles promoting his book How Mushrooms can save the World.

I was leary myself coming from the Pacific Northwest where all is damp and moldy and fungi grow amouk.
I thought if anything mushrooms to be destroyers of not so much the world, but of good health.

I knew that a variety of mushrooms and fungi are advocated for good health , particularly in Asian medicine , but being a person who has always been prone respiratory and joint
This is a fabulously exciting book for mycophiles. I had the privilege of seeing Paul Stamets speak at the Fungus Fair in Oakland this year about the history and cultural significance of psychotropic mushrooms fir various peoples. He is funny and humble and highly intelligent.
This book has amazing pictures of unbelievably huge and gorgeous mushrooms mostly from the Pacific Northwest forests.Stamets has researched how mushrooms can help restore and remediate toxic substances polluting natural en
David Koblos
I always liked mushrooms, and knew they were beneficial... for our body and for our environment. But never would I have imagined all the incredible uses they have. Filtering water, cleaning up toxic waste, keeping insects in check, and not lastly discouraging mold and other parasitic fungi from attacking trees. This book is a great eye-opener, and a great step in getting to know our friends, the fun-guys.
Jan 03, 2011 Charles rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: health nuts, gardeners, environmentalists

Mycelium Running is a pretty interesting resource about mushrooms and fungus in general, especially the friendly and edible varieties. Some fungi are harmful to forests and some are very beneficial. Old growth forests would not be possible without beneficial mushrooms that live in symbioses with the other living things.

Many mushrooms have unexpected and potent health benefits, this book contains a table with this information. This book is also full of pictures to help one identify safe vs. unsaf
This book is crazy. Just to get that out there. But nature is kind of crazy, and mushrooms are absolutely bonkers wacko nutty. I am continually awed by the diversity and difference of fungus--it is so very not mammalian.

The author has a theory about saving the world using mushrooms, and he pushes the point to be dramatic, but there certainly is a lot of unlocked potential. Mushrooms can filter water, remove pollutants, kill parasites, etc. They can also be parasitic, but the author's point is th
This book was a pleasure to read. I am certainly a layman when it comes to the biology of Mycelium and the Fungi kingdom. Mycelium Running was very kind on my ignorance and conveyed the points and learnings very effectively. I could feel Paul Stamets excitement in the writing and some of that rubbed off especially when describing how easy it is to get started "running with mycelium".

Once again a great introduction to the topic for me with lots of practical advise for getting started on small sca
Shane Mandarijn
Just as fungi are a gateway species for other organisms;
this book was a gateway for my perception of the complexity of our ecosystem.

Very inspiring and full of hope.
Mar 11, 2014 Elle marked it as to-read
Although I've barely started this book I'm already disappointed in how un-scientific it is. There's no doubt Stamets is an enthusiast and maybe one of the most knowledgeable people when it comes to mushrooms, but through his writing he comes off as a bit of a wack-job. It's pretty unprofessional sounding and loaded with unnecessary pictures on every page. I can't imagine a credible scientist being able to take any of his suggestions seriously. They wouldn't even make it past the introduction and ...more
Jul 28, 2008 Amy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Forest
Recommended to Amy by: Ryan
The first chapter almost made me quit reading, since the author is clearly a lunatic. However, we were slow enough at work that I was forced to give this another chance and the first half, excepting the intro, is quite fun to read. For anarchists and foresters alike. The second half is an encyclopeadic cookbook for "medicinal mushrooms" also quite skip-able.

The ecology, cultivation, and experiments are great. The photos of the authors hundreds of children and hippy lover are amusing. But what re
Wow! I asked for this book for Christmas simply because I'm interested in mushrooms and the Amazon reviews were great, too. It's more than lived up to my expectations and surpassed. I'm now contemplating full scale mushroom cultivation. For numerous reasons! Food, medicine, reducing land toxicity...

I've now read the whole book, and I'm even more impressed. Mushrooms can sop up and breakdown heavy metals, excess manure runoff from animal lots, malaria causing larvae, and on and on. Stupendous. Ca
Lana Roach
Wonderful information and presentation. It answered a lot of questions when I was learning how to cultivate medicinal mushrooms.
Mary B
I've gone through this book multiple times since it's publication. Every time that I get sick of being a science student, I pick it for inspiration. I'm soon to be pursuing my PhD in mycology; Paul Stamets has a lot to do with that. I think that this book and the general publicity Dr Stamets has generated with this and other works is exactly what the science of mycology needs at this very moment. With so much research to be done, and so little funding available, this work is a boon to all of us ...more
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Mushrooms 1 21 May 08, 2008 09:26AM  
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Stamets is on the editorial board of The International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, and is an advisor to the Program for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Medical School, Tucson, Arizona. He is active in researching the medicinal properties of mushrooms,[2] and is involved in two NIH-funded clinical studies on cancer and HIV treatments using mushrooms as adjunct therapies. Havin ...more
More about Paul Stamets...
Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms The Mushroom Cultivator: A Practical Guide for Growing Mushrooms at Home Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World: An Identification Guide Mycomedicinals: An Informational Booklet on Medicinal Mushrooms Truths Among Us: Conversations on Building a New Culture

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“I believe that mycelium is the neurological network of nature. Interlacing mosaics of mycelium infuse habitats with information-sharing membranes. These membranes are aware, react to change, and collectively have the long-term health of the host environment in mind. The mycelium stays in constant molecular communication with its environment, devising diverse enzymatic and chemical responses to complex challenges.” 10 likes
“I see the mycelium as the Earth's natural Internet, a consciousness with which we might be able to communicate. Through cross-species interfacing, we may one day exchange information with these sentient cellular networks. Because these externalized neurological nets sense any impression upon them, from footsteps to falling tree branches, they could relay enormous amounts of data regarding the movements of all organisms through the landscape.” 9 likes
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