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Trip: Psychedelics, Alienation, and Change

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,156 ratings  ·  179 reviews
Part memoir, part history, part journalistic expos�, Trip is a look at psychedelic drugs, literature, and alienation from one of the twenty-first century's most innovative novelists--The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test for a new generation. A Vintage Original.

While reeling from one of the most creative--but at times self-destructive--outpourings of his life, Tao Lin discovered
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Vintage
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Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
My first nonfiction book and first book in five years.
Sam Pink
Dec 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
fucking sweet. i like all of tao's stuff but this one is beyond the others. it takes place in a completely new mindset and lifestyle/worldview. the reading experience felt extra important because roughly a year ago i started practicing/realizing some of the things he gets into with this book, ie reformed perspective on what a drug is and can do, how society and the media sculpt harmful narratives to help corporations profit and keep people relatively helpless/enslaved, and changing perspectives ...more
Lee Klein
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved reading this, loved holding it on the subway with its subtitle and author-drawn mandala, wanted nothing other than to read it when I wasn't reading it, loved the symbiosis of life and literature in the third-person epilogue, loved how this champions complexity and at least once uses the word "complexify," but ultimately it's the overall structure I most appreciated the morning after finishing it, the clearly delineated rational movement through its subjects, with every conclusion more like ...more
George Wu Teng
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Trip's very first word is the first-person inclusion "I," opening the book's introduction. Aside from his very early short fiction, and in some of his poetry, Tao has wholly refrained from this sort of direct, first-person inclusion, opting instead to frame his otherwise semi-autobiographical works in a third-person, arbitrarily-named fashion, be it Taipei's "Paul," or Richard Yates's "Haley Joel Osment."

It's this direct connectedness that runs throughout Trip which places it separate from anyth
Sep 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
Hot garbage. I was hopeful at the beginning, when Lin complained that many advocates of psychedelics are irrational and strange, and hoped that he'd present a more rational, introspective approach. But no, it was totally self-indulgent and weird.

The "research" was mostly reading the assorted works of Terence McKenna, whose wild theories are the exact hyperbolic bullshit Lin claims to dislike. Add in an assortment weird anti-science (electromagnetic radiation is our generation's DDT, and "inflam
Ken Baumann
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading Trip: Psychedelics, Alienation, and Change by Tao Lin. The book reminded me of Tolstoy's Confession, because both books are about recovering from depression by trying to live in ways boring people call "radical." Trip is an informative book, written in a calm and curious style, that encourages us to think broadly, seek awe, and heal. I imagine rereading Trip in the future; when I imagine this, I feel warm. ...more
Chelsea Martin
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
extremely extremely good
James Payne
Jun 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
Not good. A shocking number of adverbs. Confused structure. Purposeless pomo crutches. Interminable descriptions of tedious drug experiences. Conspiratorial mindset. Hero worship of a sophist. The work of a muddled mind. Joe Rogan on first page. Many citations of YouTube videos.
Steve Erickson
Jun 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Tao Lin makes a good case that recovery from substance abuse can be accomplished better by disentangling from the Internet, eating organic foods, engaging with the world and changing exactly which substances one takes (in his case, dropping benzos, opioids, Adderrall and MDMA for DMT, salvia, cannabis and mushrooms) instead of completely stopping using all drugs, however one defines them. He also makes the late Terence McKenna's ideas, especially about the value about disbelief and the inevitabi ...more
Chandini White
Feb 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
truly inspirational..this book gave me many dreams and visions to manifest. and more books to add to my reading list
Devon DeRaad
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The working title of this book was Beyond Existentialism which may be less descriptive of its contents than "Trip, psychedelics, alienation, and change" but is undoubtedly more descriptive of its intent. It is one of the only pieces of literature I've come across that recognizes the inherent bleakness and isolation of existentialism and works toward transcending what has become the standard state of being (frustrated, cynical, searching) in our post-modern time.

Lin's gift is to write with comple
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I approach any Tao Lin content with the same apt attention that I would apply to watching a slow motion car crash drawn out to the time span of a career. I can earnestly say that, in spite of a lack of interest in the subject matter and a passive hatred of the author (if I’m being frank: I find the subject matter of drugs over-mythologized and dull, but it is interesting to see his turn towards nonfiction and exploring the ideas of the nutty egoist Terrence McKenna), this is Tao Lin’s most coher ...more
Robert Frecer
Jan 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
Vapid reading by the most self-important of self-proclaimed nihilists. Oh, will you please pity him? But... but..he's taken so many drugs!

Books like this should be considered a public health hazard - they can make lay readers believe there is no such thing as a normal, fun and helathy psychedelic experience. You either don't get it or go absolutely nuts, lost in your "revolutionary" observations and your own in vanity. I'm glad to know that's not true.

Jul 22, 2019 rated it liked it

(Tao Lin is a decidedly unsavoury person but this book nevertheless managed to make me feel calm and collected and stuff on account of having come to me at the right time)
Theo Thimo
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I initially tried to publish this review on amazon but it wouldn't let me so I'm copy/paste here but I think it didn't format correctly:
contains very courageously published, I felt, DMT trip report in which the majority is spent in a confused, paranoid fugue coming down from a psychedelic trip he can't recall, ~pg108, a depiction of breakthroughs that goes often unheard or untold in the genre but I think is relevant, dosage is difficult for DMT, I have thought in the past
cannabis is very sentime
Tao Lin has been perhaps my favorite contemporary prose author since shortly after my friend in 10th grade introduced me to the man's name, within the statement "Friends don't let friends read Tao Lin," after which I found a copy of Richard Yates among my local library branch's "New Releases," drawn in by cover art, which, at a distance, looked like a man with a cunt for a face, spreading it open (it turned out to be, upon closer inspection, a mere seashell, which made a hell of a lot more sense ...more
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really, really loved this book. As a person who is curious to a fault and frequently experiences some sort of existential/mental health crisises, I found this book fulfilling, refreshing, creative and thought provoking.

First off, I love the style. I felt like I was being given access to a slice of Lin's brain, while also being presented with the worldviews and ideas of others. I loved how the book goes from McKenna to Harrison, from McKenna's intense psychedelic perspectives to Harrison's mor
Christopher Gutierrez

I didn't realize how much research went into this book until I glanced through the end of it. Tao Lin did a great job of explaining psychedelics and the ideas of Terence Mckenna and Kathleen Harrison. I loved his takes on Cannabis, why drugs are illegal, and how modern-day humans have numerous genetic deficiencies for many reasons.

My least enjoyable part of this book was the writing style. Lin sure does love long, hard-to-read sentences. It took me longer than usual to adapt to his writing s
Trip, Tao Lin’s first explicitly nonfiction work, was a fascinating account of his personal transformations regarding psychedelics and the role they played in stabilizing his life and giving him a sense of well being. It was very interesting to see him use the first person for the first time, allowing him to inhabit the role taken by various ostensible self inserts in his works of fiction. In some ways, this is definitely a sequel to the events and moods of his earlier semi-autobiographical work ...more
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tao
I like this book. I can read this book in any mood and enjoy it, I think. This book is sweet, insightful, positive and smart.
The words all have meaning that my brain can process. After I read the words I feel emotions. Each drug makes me feel awe.
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The first book on psychedelics I'll recommend from now on, I think. Phenomenal. Wonderfully experimental in form, rich in content. One of the best non-fiction books I've read. ...more
Paul Wilner
Jun 16, 2018 rated it liked it
He's a bright guy and he can write. Terence McKenna, the subject of much of his, was also bright, and surprisingly funny, for a psychedelic pioneer- Lin cited a You Tube discussion between McKenna and Ram Dass, in which the old man, who's been around a lot more of these movies, added some badly needed perspective. But he's also, objectively and subjectively speaking, nuts. (I won't get into the specifics, I'm sure the fractalites, believers in mushrooms that talk to you and UFO junkies will have ...more
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Couldn’t put it down
Jul 02, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: want, lyfe
My first Tao Lin, and I was surprised by how poorly written it was. Here he describes the minutia of his diy-homework-assignment-like trips, whose significance in the moment do not seem nearly as profound as he later attributes them. His mode of description involves stringing adjectives together into a misshappen clump. He seems stuck in a cycle of anhedonia and hedonism. One set of drugs (pharmaceuticals, attention-focusers) stops working for him, so he switches to another ("natural" psychedeli ...more
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Unbelievable book that I see myself returning to many times in the future. Really uniquely laid out and interesting techniques used by the author throughout and he does a good job explaining his point, which I would say is that you should question everything and that psychedelics can greatly open one's understanding of the world. ...more
Sep 08, 2018 rated it liked it
this wasn’t bad actually. his weirdly rigid neurotic style works much better here than it does in his fiction, though disappointingly he reverted to his old minutiae detailed third person in the ‘epilogue’. I’d be interested to read more of his non-fiction in the future if he continues in that direction.
Neal Jochmann
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I recommend this book.
May 27, 2018 rated it liked it
How did I end up with this books: I picked it from Dog-Eared Books when I was buying The Vegetarian (along w/ Diary of a Teenage Girl).

Tao Lin chronicle's his re-discovery and academic exploration of psychedelics, thinking of them as a way to explore his own mind and re-discover the world. In particular, he talks about how cannabis can moderate his own social anxieties and gloomy seriousness. The book also explores the philosophies of Terence McKenna, Kathleen Harrison, as well as other
Kyle Todd
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very informative and reflective book, more so the latter than the former, which I think works quite well for Tao Lin. He informs us about Terence McKenna broadly and then more concentratedly as the memoir / non-fiction piece moves along, using McKenna's philosophies and opinions to enrich his own experiences . He reflects broadly on his drug history and then focuses on several psychedelics: Salvia and Psilocybin somewhat briefly and DMT and Cannabis at a greater length. I've only ever tried Ca ...more
Jun 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Drug use, particularly psychedelics is often romanticized within the arts. There's a whole mythologizing of the role of drugs within the creative process. As such, I have some rules of thumb about people I meet--do you like Hunter S. Thompson? If so, are a Raoul Duke fan? That's an acid/litmus test for how much I can stand someone.

I came into reading this book due to comments that it was the new "Electric Kool Aid", which is is not. Instead, it's a relatively level and even-handed overview of w
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Tao Lin is the author of Trip (2018), Taipei (2013), Richard Yates (2010), Shoplifting from American Apparel (2009), cognitive-behavioral therapy (2008), Eeeee Eee Eeee (2007), Bed (2007), you are a little bit happier than i am (2006), and Selected Tweets (2015). He edits Muumuu House. He can be followed on Twitter and Instagram. ...more

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