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Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  1,859 ratings  ·  163 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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4.44  · 
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 ·  1,859 ratings  ·  163 reviews

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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
Owlseyes inside Notre Dame, it's so strange a 15-hour blaze and...

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 sunset, I still had time for a few more shots.

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
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
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
Julie O'toole
Nov 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Oddly, this is one of the best books I've ever read
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.
Paul Stamets does a thorough job of explaining "How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World". Apparently mushrooms can absorb chemical 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. He speculates whi
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Excellent reference book regarding the practical uses of mushrooms and fungus to clean up polluted waterways and ponds, strengthen the human immune system and fight viruses in a way that antibiotics cannot.

Fungus has evolved to fight and kill many of the bacteria that afflict mamals, same for viruses. Paul Stamet works with the National Institute of Health, CDC, and of all agencies, DARPA (prevent biological agents from spreading for defense). It takes focused reading but the author makes sure
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
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
Jun 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
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?
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.
Diana Isaura
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Incredibly exciting and inspiring!

Fun beginner's guide for those interested in growing, identifying, and understanding the different applications and benefits of mushrooms; easy to follow and understand, full of mushroom illustrations and instructions on how to grow mushrooms.
Chris Jones
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
Probably one of the most important books on natural science ever written. This book is utterly groundbreaking in the scope of it's content and it's aim. This book will blow your mind. You will never look at mushrooms the same way ever again. Highly recommended.
Dec 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biology, handbook
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.
Govinda Levi
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was fascinating. I gained a whole understanding of fungi that I just never had before. I highly recommend it.
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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
“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.” 20 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.” 15 likes
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