Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Revolutionary Genius of Plants: A New Understanding of Plant Intelligence and Behavior” as Want to Read:
The Revolutionary Genius of Plants: A New Understanding of Plant Intelligence and Behavior
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Revolutionary Genius of Plants: A New Understanding of Plant Intelligence and Behavior

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,169 ratings  ·  187 reviews
Do plants have intelligence? Do they have memory? Are they better problem solvers than people? Plant Revolution—a fascinating, paradigm-shifting work that upends everything you thought you knew about plants—makes a compelling scientific case that these and other astonishing ideas are all true.

Plants make up eighty percent of the weight of all living things on earth, and ye
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published August 28th 2018 by Atria Books (first published 2017)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Revolutionary Genius of Plants, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Flutlicht Wohlleben is more into esoterics, Mancuso more into pseudo science.
Cannot recommend both books.

The best one about this topic (plant intelligence) I f…more
Wohlleben is more into esoterics, Mancuso more into pseudo science.
Cannot recommend both books.

The best one about this topic (plant intelligence) I found so far, is " What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses: Updated and Expanded Edition" by Daniel Chamovitz. This one is science based.(less)
Eric Nguyen I would say to fully understand the book you have to at least know some basic biology. For example, what anthers are (and basic structures of flowers …moreI would say to fully understand the book you have to at least know some basic biology. For example, what anthers are (and basic structures of flowers and seed), who Charles Darwin is, what basic structure a leaf has (vein, stomata, etc). (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,169 ratings  ·  187 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Revolutionary Genius of Plants: A New Understanding of Plant Intelligence and Behavior
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love reading science books straight from the scientist who is doing the research--when the book is well-written. And, in this book Stefano Mancuso, the founder of the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology, has written a superb gem. It is a short book, only 256 pages, and many of them are filled with photographs. But in this short space he covers a broad range of topics related to plants.

Now, I have to say that the title and subtitle are somewhat misleading. Plants do not revolt--they
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing

“We lived on a street where the tall elm shade
Was as green as the grass and as cool as a blade
That you held in your teeth as we lay on our backs
Staring up at the blue and the blue stared back

“I used to believe we were just like those trees
We'd grown just as tall and as proud as we pleased
With our feet on the ground and our arms in the breeze
Under a sheltering sky”

--Only a Dream, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Songwriters: Mary Chapin Carpenter

A few times in the past few years, I have been surprised by
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, biology
Lots of interesting facts about plants, not widely known because they are not completely understood even by scientists. Among them intelligence, vision and memory, all supported by research and examples of behavior, some of them truly amazing, such as mimicry.

There are also parallels with architecture, robotics and other branches in which plants were used as inspiration. Their evolution is also nothing less of fascinating, not to mention their contribution for our survival and development.

Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I really need to stop reading non-fiction books about things that end up being food, because I get a horrid complex about eating other living things, such as pigs, chickens, etc. I thought I would be safe with reading about plants. WRONG!! They seem to have rudimentary vision, can think to a degree and can mind control ants and goodness knows what else by manipulation and deception. So not only worried they can feel and get upset, but also kind of creepy too. Horror fans take note!

This book was
Sue Burke
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stefano Mancuso, an authority on plant neurobiology, begins by showing how plants can remember things, although they don’t have a brain. They can move, although they have no muscles. They can imitate items in their surroundings like stones or other plants, although we don’t think they can see. It’s clear that plants pay scrupulous attention to their environment. He describes the ways plants do all this in an entertaining and easy-to-understand way.

Then, in Chapter 4, he pulls these abilities tog
Peter Tillman
Sadly, I didn't get far with this one. Author rambles on, text is loaded with weasel-words -- and the author claims to be the "world's leading expert in plant neurobiology." Which I imagine is an uncrowded specialty, since plants lack neurons. There's ample evidence elsewhere of (slow) communication between plants, and reactions to predators, but this isn't the book to learn about them, at least to where I gave up.

OK, let's see what others have said: here's Kim's 3-star:
"I read this all in one g
Aug 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Among other things it talks about plants with memories, plants that can see and mimic, and how rye was a weed and weedled its way into being harvested by being hardier.

The chapter on democracy and its significance to plants escaped me. I followed the example of bees and there was some interest in the summary and utility of democracy in ancient Greece.

The Jellyfish Barge a self sustaining octagonal shaped raft for producing plants was intriguing as was its not being adopted. The author noted inn
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beyond my poor ability to describe. Plus at least a third of it was quite over my head. And I'm a gardener and yard farmer.

The graphics and photo sheets are 6 star. And the science is exact and not for the uninterested.

It's deep and 80% of the weight of life on the Earth.

Some of the mimicry is so beyond exceptional that the fact that plants may have cells that act as "eyes" and can copy what they "see" in light and patterns. And forms.

But the author is extremely erudite. So don't think this is
Bianca Christine
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So relevant, so necessary. It does exactly what a good book should: teach and challenge the perceptions of our current reality.
R Nair
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My apologies for writing this review in the same tone as a click-bait article, but if garbage on social-media can rely on it, then why not something actually useful, intelligible, informative and helpful for a change?
Were you taught in school that plants can't see? Well, your teachers might have been wrong.

Did you think that plants change colour in autumn/winter because they pull their chlorophyll away from their leaves to defend against frost? That probably isn't as true and as scientifically
Laura Harrison
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an absolutely glorious book. A must have for naturalists, environmentalists and truly all of us. A captivating and eye- opening read, perfect for fans of Peter Wohlleben. My favorite non-fiction book of the year.
Benjamin L.
The central thesis of ‘The Revolutionary Genius of Plants,’ at least as presented by the marketing, is that plants are intelligent, behavioural agents. Unfortunately, the book falls short of providing convincing evidence for this, and a lot of the arguments are confused and contradictory.
Before I dig into my review, I want to make a few things clear. I am a neurophysiologist by training, and I’m very familiar with the plant intelligence literature. Both personally and professionally, I’m very s
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found this book fascinating and refreshing. It has beautiful photography, great information, and wonderful stories. The author talks about the wisdom we have gained from observing and in-depth study of plants. His chapters are arranged into very interesting and rarely discussed topics, e.g., memories without a brain, mimesis, green democracies, "plantoids," and my favorite -- archiplants. He mentions research topics and describes some experiments, plus he often expands into somewhat related an ...more
Erica Hernandez
Mar 04, 2019 rated it liked it
As someone who has a MS in Horticultural Biology, I enjoyed a lot of the history and examples provided in this book. However, I found many of the "motives" ascribed to the plants or mechanisms in these examples difficult to swallow. After reading this book, I almost feel a better title would be "The Revolutionary Genius of Evolution: A New Understanding of How Natural Selection Has Overcome Selection Pressures Against Immovable Life Forms". I felt like the author went too far in implying that pl ...more
Vishakha ~ ReadingSpren ~
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, non-fiction
This book is criminally underrated and unpopular. If you have read "The hidden Life of Trees" then this is surely what you need to read next. The two books share nothing except, perhaps, an uninhibited fascination with the genius of plants.

I guarantee this will change your entire perception on who you think plants are. The book deals mostly with how we need to incorporate more and more of what plants are doing into our own lifestyles. From architecture to robotics, humanity has time again found
Jeff Brown
Nov 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2018
If you buy this book, hopefully you aren't expecting to read much about plants. Or really read much period. For starters - it clocks in at 40,000 words, which is about half the length of a typical short book (to chose a popular example, HP Philosopher's Stone is 77,000 words).

The bigger problem though is that the book is mostly a bunch of tangents that have little to do with plants (or "plant intelligence and behavior", as is explicitly spelled out in THE TITLE OF THE BOOK), and much of it is ha
Shorter than I expected. I feel like much of the actual "plant" information I've already read in other books, but I would have liked for the author to have expanded more about technological inspiration from plants. ...more
Ben Schnell
Jul 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Pretty fascinating plant facts.
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fascinating study by Mancuso of plants, he posits thought-provoking facts, such as that plants, being rooted, have devised their own solutions to inevitable problems (unlike animals, which usually choose flight as the best option). Another interesting fact - plants are composed of individual architectural units that together make up the composite. Plants, being divided, will grow - which cannot be said of animals, which have to keep their individual organs in order to survive. It's facts like ...more
K.A. Ashcomb
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I start by saying that if you read one fact book this year, read this one. It is inspirational and it makes you see the world differently. Bold statements, I know, but there is something special about this book. It goes beyond the facts. It is the passion for plants and what we can learn by studying them that seeps through every page. I'm in awe with this book. Okay, I'm partial. I'm a nature nut. But to be honest, so should you be too. It is the foundation we live on. Without plants and agricul ...more
Do plants have memory and consciousness?

Plants do not have a central nervous system or neurons, but they have intelligence, because they perceive their surroundings; actively compete for the limited resources in the soil and atmosphere; they perform cost-benefit analysis; and take appropriate adaptive actions in response to environmental stimuli. plants have integrated signaling and communicative systems with complex adaptive behavior. Most animals choose their environment to find food, mate, a
Apr 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020

The animated gif is a Codariocalyx motorius, which is capable of rapid movements. This and other plants are widely discussed in the book.

It is impossible not to love “The Revolutionary Genius of Plants” for its wide number of facts about plants despite for its quite simplicity. Stefano Mancuso is a botanist who cherish plants and he wanted to share his love and knowledge with the rest of the world.

Author gives examples how plants became an important part of all living creatures around the glob
Karen Douglass
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What do I think, you ask? I think everyone should read this book. For one thing, the book is a beautiful object, with its glossy interior, fine and meaningful photographs, and a beautifully designed cover. Don’t worry, I would not read a book just because of its appearance on the library shelf any more than I would date a gorgeous person with no substance beyond good looks. Maybe because my undergrad degree is in science, I fairly often revert to that interest and momentarily set aside my deep i ...more
Klaas Roggeman
Interesting book about how plants work and how they can teach us how to develop new sustainable technologies. Yet it sort of lacks an overarching idea and seems more like a sequence of research projects. In the beginning it also seemed very difficult for my non-scientific mind. Mancuso was recommended by a fellow Goodreads guy (Marc) as an more scientifically sound colleague of Peter Wohlleben. I can see how that might be the case, but Wohlleben is more accessible for the general public. Perhaps ...more
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
A neat little book I found while browsing, The Revolutionary Genius of Plants is an overview of new ways we should be looking at plants in terms of new scientific research and in terms of models for how humans can build a more sustainable future for ourselves. I wasn't all that thrilled with the theoretical chapters in the beginning (they were a bit boring), but the chapters on practical application and potential modeling were awesome. ...more
Geoffrey Kleinman
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
While the book gets a little insufferable in parts, the core info here is absolutely fascinating and is a good book to read after reading "The Hidden Life of Trees", which is a much better written and more entertaining book. The author's storytelling craft aside (as it's clumsy), it's another book that will fundamentally change the way you look at plants. ...more
Serena Lisai
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading Plant Revolution. The way that Mancuso explains scientific experiments is understandable also for not scientists. At the end of the book I felt to know so much more about the green world and to be even more in love with it. Mancuso teaches to respect the amazing world of the plants and to learn from it how to live in a much more efficient way.
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
This was one of those books where I found myself talking to people about. A lot of conversations like, "Did you know..." Or, "Guess what!"

This was an enjoyable read but, I found it best before bed. Something about learning makes me sleepy! Regardless, a great read for anyone interested in plants and the future of them.
Sep 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is a love poem to plants.
I didn’t expect the direction this book took, exploring how plants can and do influence technology, architecture, and our futures on—and off—the planet. Floating oceanic farms based on the natural design of a giant leaf? Robots designed to mimic the explosive scattering of seeds, used for extraterrestrial exploration? Buildings constructed to mimic the branching of trees? This is world I’d like to live in.
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an absolute delight of a book. Mancuso is brilliant and also injects his writing with a childlike wonder and curiosity. The second-to-last page has a photo of him floating in zero-G during a parabolic flight experiment. (If you’re confused what this has to do with plants, READ THE BOOK!)
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects
  • Sää joka muutti maailmaa
  • Thus Spoke the Plant: A Remarkable Journey of Groundbreaking Scientific Discoveries and Personal Encounters with Plants
  • Avaruudesta
  • Metsä meidän jälkeemme
  • Os donos da terra
  • Monimuotoisuus – kertomuksia katoamisista
  • Lihan loppu
  • Torto Arado
  • Inheritors of the Earth: How Nature Is Thriving in an Age of Extinction
  • Depois do futuro (Exit)
  • Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln's Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities
  • Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures
  • A Vida Não É Útil
  • Fungipedia: A Brief Compendium of Mushroom Lore
  • Sensuous Knowledge: A Black Feminist Approach for Everyone
  • Un féminisme décolonial
  • Nainen joka rakasti hyönteisiä
See similar books…
Stefano Mancuso is the Director of the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology (LINV) in Florence, Italy, a founder of the International Society for Plant Signaling and Behavior, and a professor at the University of Florence. His books and papers have been published in numerous international magazines and journals, and La Repubblica newspaper has listed him among the twenty people who will ...more

News & Interviews

According to some historians, the month of April is actually named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, by way of the Romans....
44 likes · 26 comments
“Во многих случаях поразительные способности растений к мимикрии помогают обмануть животных к выгоде и удобству растений. Ничего нового: на самом деле, обман и дезинформация являются универсальным инструментом для выживания всех живых существ, включая растения.” 0 likes
“Стремление поддерживать в порядке внутреннюю организацию перед лицом естественного стремления к деградации и беспорядку – важнейшая и необходимая способность живого организма, не зависящая от его сложности. Эта способность проявляется через умение существа делать правильный выбор.” 0 likes
More quotes…