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Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  2,215 ratings  ·  197 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, n
Paperback, 356 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by Ten Speed Press (first published 2005)
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Nov 25, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Andee Marley
Nov 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 28, 2015 marked it as to-read

Today, there wasn't much moist; rain has been absent for days; so, new mushrooms aren't that abundant, but many decomposing. I wonder about their short life. Stamets believes they have a good impact on the soil. His "mycorestoration" is a good idea.

(You may click on any of the photographs)

(I think there's a part missing in the whole shape....)

(by the window I caught the spider preparing her meal...)

But then, before s
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
Julie O'toole
Nov 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Oddly, this is one of the best books I've ever read
Jan 20, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Paul Stamets does a thorough job of explaining "How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World". Apparently mushrooms can absorb toxic waste. Yay! Mushrooms! I've been reading small parts of this book for six months. I found it hard to concentrate on the technical descriptions if I read too much in one sitting.

The beginning stated how mushrooms help clean the environment. The middle instructs readers how to grow mushrooms. The last part of the book describes major types of mushrooms. Stamets speculates w
Jul 28, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Aug 28, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
Oct 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Mike Mcconnell
Jun 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Jan 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Probably the top book of the year, full of fascinating information that opened my eyes to the role of fungi in the garden and the world. Full review at ...more
David Wilson
Feb 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the most fascinating piece of literature I have ever laid my eyes upon.

This should be a M A N D A T O R Y book for all high schools.

I did an internship at a science center and used handfuls of information from this book to teach high school classes about ecosystems and their symbiotic relationships. My bosses/teachers at the time, who were supposed to lead the classes, let me have full control at some point because they were even dumbfounded by my information.

If you want to actually fi
Apanakhi Buckley
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Paul Stamets' book has influenced my fantasy writing. Potential uses of mushrooms for cleansing the environment; mycelia connecting plants within the forest floor are astonishingly good fodder for the imagination. On a more practical note, I especially enjoy the charts on medicinal uses and nutritional values of mushrooms.
Dec 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: handbook, biology
This is an extraordinary book. Very broad (fitting for a book on a whole kingdom of life), very detailed and learned, and most importantly immediately practical. The last, long chapter is a great reference of some of the most potent and good-to-know species of medicinal, mycoremediating mushrooms.
Paul Conant
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Maybe we could save the world with this book alone. Maybe not, but the fact that I could even posit such a question in the first place should be an indicator as to how mind blowing this book really is. This book almost singlehandedly makes me want to become a mycologist.
Christine Kenney
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is two books grafted together; a review of the biology of mycelium and an overview of ways that fungi can be used for environmental restoration; and a practical manual for growing mycelia and mushrooms. I was interested in the first part; look to other reviews for the adequacy of the manual section. The author is known as an evangelist for fungi and mushrooms and the book's evangelical tone is accurately signaled by the title. The evidence for the claims for mycoremediation comes in the for ...more
Elizabeth Theiss
Apr 05, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My one star rating reflects the fact that I don’t share the author’s enthusiasm for the technical details of fungal life. After the first chapter, I got lost in the mushroom forest and could not maintain my interest, so this is a DNF for me. If you adore mushrooms and detailed info on them, I suspect you will love this book.
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biology
What I think is so fascinating about this work is that fungi are great at transforming chemicals and waste into something plants can use. They are effective at remediation and restoration. I will return to this book often for refreshing my information about the various species.
Jun 22, 2020 rated it liked it
I found this book fascinating, but also slightly frustrating.

The fascinating:
- Stamets' detailed accounts of his own experiments and discoveries, and the broad possibilities these could create for the future of forestry, food and generally looking after the natural world.
- The in depth practical guidance on growing your own mushrooms. Whilst it's geared towards people with a fair bit of land, and isn't a "step by step" how-to guide, it gives a lot for gardeners to think about too.
- The overall
Apr 02, 2020 marked it as to-read
As a Czech I'm highly intrigued by the topic. Mushrooms as a the long-sought messiahs to save our world.
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The best of Stsamets' books on growing mushrooms for beginners, AND the best for those who are curious about other ecological uses of our fungal friends, many of which most people are unaware.
Kristen Gast
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
You learn a lot about the many wonderful things mushrooms can do for the world, and also, you see a lot of sweet references to and pictures of his wife. So like, win-win all around.
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There are many mysteries of the Fungi kingdom, and many uses yet to be discovered. This book does a great job of bringing this to light for someone who isn't already an expert on the subject. It provides a good foundation of knowledge on several facets of fungi, including biology, relationship to other organisms, and a myriad of uses for humans. I found the uses for health and environmental remediation most interesting. The knowledge presented to the reader is sufficient to inspire further resea ...more
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic book, wonderful stuff, a fine review of the seemingly endless contributions of the mycelial family, in ways I could never have imagined. This is a remarkable compendium of almost magical proportion. Be truly amazed... read this book.
Jan 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is awesome, assuming you can hold your breath during the author's occasional dopey tangents into the Gaia hypothesis. He highlights exactly why mushrooms are freakin' AMAZING, and will certainly convince you of that, if not of all the crappy pseudoscience about mycelia being the neural networks of the Earth. If you're even remotely curious about everything mushrooms are capable of, you should read this book -- with many grains of salt.

P.S.: Later, watching Star Trek Discovery: OMG I GE
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Mycelium Support: Consider Mycelium Security Tools 1 1 Oct 08, 2019 11:46PM  
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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

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20 likes · 13 comments
“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.” 25 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.” 19 likes
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