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Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  4,994 ratings  ·  842 reviews
There is a lifeform so strange and wondrous that it forces us to rethink how life works…

Neither plant nor animal, it is found throughout the earth, the air and our bodies. It can be microscopic, yet also accounts for the largest organisms ever recorded, living for millennia and weighing tens of thousands of tonnes. Its ability to digest rock enabled the first life on land,
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 12th 2020 by Random House
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Sahar Ansari I have only seen the documentary, also I haven't read far into the Entangled life either. I'd say if Entangled Life is made into film, they could be q…moreI have only seen the documentary, also I haven't read far into the Entangled life either. I'd say if Entangled Life is made into film, they could be quite similar in some ways, because the world of fungi is magical and surreal... I think I will come back to this after finishing both (must order Fantastic Fungi to now).(less)
Leslie There are photographs. The illustrations are sweet but certainly you don't need them.…moreThere are photographs. The illustrations are sweet but certainly you don't need them.(less)

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Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ Campbell

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Okay, before I even get into this review, how perfect is this guy's name? Not only does he study mushrooms, he has a name like a professor in one of the Harry Potter books. Which is perfect, since mushrooms do have a bit of a reputation for being mysterious, sinister, and even kind of spooky. Which, if you read this book, you'll find out is a reputation that they totally deserve.

ENTANGLED LIFE is all about fungi (because they're fun, guy
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, nature
I have always found mushrooms magical. The way they suddenly appear overnight after a rainstorm amazes me. Walk down a forest path one day and see nothing. The next morning, suddenly you encounter hundreds of them. Bright or dull, colourful or drab, they are everywhere you look.

But where do they come from and how do they burst through the ground, fully formed, overnight? 

What I didn't know before reading this book, aside from how they appear like magic, is that mushrooms are the fruit of fungi.
Nov 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
4.5 This book, is a perfect length for the content, just enough to feel sated, and it’s organized into sections of thought from

1) how mushroom trips can rewire the neural pathways in your brain to alleviate depression, anxiety and addiction, and inspire creativity and new ways to solve problems, to

2) a section on the environment and how fungi could save our planet by both decomposing toxic waste and composing organic materials to replace leather and wood, in addition to possibly saving our bees
I have a life-long love for and fascination with mushrooms. Partially because they are delicious, but I also remember finding them almost magical when I was a kid: they could appear overnight, had the strangest shapes, colors and textures. In my mind, they were almost like alien plants. Later, I learned a little bit about their complex interconnectedness, their adaptability and strange reproduction method – and that only made them more fascinating!

Merlin Sheldrake’s book is an engrossing, entert
Dec 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, biology
Some books deserve all the stars in the world, Entangled Life being one of them. I’ve read quite a few science books so far, and in each of them I have found something to fascinate me. But none of them managed to immerse me so deeply into it like this one.

Fungi must be the most incredible subject out there, along with universe and brain, due to their similar structure.* The book has 229 pages (the rest are notes and bibliography) and it took me more than two weeks to finish it. And that’s becau
Luca Tanaka
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"We commonly think of animals and plants as matter, but they are really systems through which matter is constantly passing."

Things that delighted me:
– 2 citations from Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, which everyone should also read
– a quoted passage from Galadriel in LOTR and the newfound knowledge that J.R.R. Tolkein was a consumer of mycelial research
– illustrations rendered in ink made of mushrooms

"Our descriptions warp and deform the phenomena we describe, but sometimes th
Nov 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Let's start with some music, appropriately "Women Gathering Mushrooms", a recording of the Aka people living in the forests of the Central African Republic. It's an example of musical polyphony. Polyphony is singing more than one part, or telling more than one story, at the same time. Unlike the harmonies in a barbershop quartet, the voices of the women never weld into a unified front. No voice surrenders its individual identity. Nor does any one voice steal the show. There is no front woman, no ...more
Dennis Mckenna
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Merlin Sheldrake, the author of Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Future, kindly sent me an advance copy and asked for comment. It is due to be published this May by Random House.
One might naturally be inclined to form certain assumptions about someone named Merlin. That they are a wizard, perhaps, or at least capable of casting spells. I don’t know if he is a wizard, but what I can tell you is that he has written an enchanting book. It has had me spell-b
K.J. Charles
Giving up on this, it's slow going and spends a lot of time going over the same ground, and so far what we've gone over isn't grabbing me as I'd hoped. Possibly I had excessive expectations for a book about mushrooms. Feels like an expert trying to write popular science and not quite hitting the sweet spot. ...more
Jun 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: science
Lots of drawn-out writing, especially about anthropomorphization and linguistic issues. Not so much science. Do we have the wrong metaphors for fungi and plants? I couldn't care less. It is easy to write about, but not very scientifically productive.

Furthermore, even when it comes to science, every point is drawn out excessively, and the author gives a completely non-critical summary of lots of well-known phenomena. For example, fungal networks for computation. This is something that should be
Hazel Bright
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Yeah, I'm married to a professor, so if I want to have someone tell me the same thing seventeen different ways for hours on end, I will just have dinner with my husband. ...more
Diane S ☔
Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nf-2021
Thoughts soon.
Camelia Rose
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ecology, science, audio
Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures is an up-to-date book about fungi and everything fungal. It's so beautifully written that I sometimes forget it's a science book. Don't get me wrong, the book is scientific, but it is the opposite of the dry, academic style.

What strikes me most is the mycorrhizal network. Apparently the term Wood-Wide-Web is an inaccurate metaphor for several reasons: 1. It's plant-centric, unable to convey the symbiosis between fun
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I cannot stop talking to people about this book--it's fascinating! I did not realize how much I needed to read a book about a species other than humans until I read this. It's the perfect antidote to this year's human disasters. The book is well-written and at times pretty mind-blowing. ...more
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures, by Merlin Sheldrake (brother of famous musician Cosmo Sheldrake, by the way - they pair well together), is an absolutely fantastic book on the mycorrhizal world of fungi, and all the interesting and amazing things they can do. Fungi are infinitely fascinating - they explode out of the ground almost right before your eyes, they pair with algae in symbiosis to form lichens, they can eat anything from dead wood, to pla ...more
L.G. Cullens
Feb 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: eco-lit
In my natural sciences studies over the years, though I was aware of fungi roles I hadn't focused much on them. I found this book an important other dimension, adding considerable complexity to physical being. It is not only informative, but also interesting — at least I would think so for those that strive to broaden their perspective.

Paraphrasing the author, the relationship between plants and fungi gave rise to the biosphere as we know it and supports life on land to this day, but there is s
[15 Feb 2021]
This is a rambling but fascinating paean to fungi. The author is very enthusiastic about the subject, especially mycorrhizal networks, and makes them interesting to the reader. His style is accessible and clear. But the organization of the book is somewhat lacking. It's as though you were sitting with an expert on a subject and just talking. He moves from one topic to another, with interspersed personal anecdotes, but without clear logic. I enjoyed the book on the whole but there we
I remember reading Ed Yong's I contain multitudes and, even though I had already read so much about the role of microbes in the human body, I was captivated and steeped in a world of tiny microbes that came alive to me and helped me see things in a whole new way. I had a similar experience when reading this book. 

Fungi are inside of you and all around you. They eat rock and turn it into the soil in which plants grow and provide the nutrients for animal life. They ingest pollutants and help the e
Dec 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every single thing on this planet is interlinked and intertwined and often the thing that links them is fungi. They are everywhere and they bring life and death to every living entity on this planet. They can source life-giving nutrients from all manner of things, including plastic, oil and even explosives. Almost every living thing on this planet relies on them. We use them to make bread and beer, plants use them to extract nutrients. He even grows mushrooms on a copy of his book and then cooks ...more
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I saw the cover for this and I was sold on it immediately. I have a burning passion for Ecology, Biology, Botany, and nature stuff in general. Yet, I’ve never delved into the realm of Fungus before, something I’m kicking myself about now.

There’s a certain feeling of awe I get when I hit a topic that I know virtually nothing about and I feel like my brain just absorbed so much brand new information that it changes the way I think about things. When I hit a book that reminds me that there’s still
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When we think of fungi, we likely think of mushrooms. But mushrooms are only fruiting bodies, analogous to apples on a tree. Most fungi live out of sight, yet make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that supports and sustains nearly all living systems. Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live, and the ways we think, feel, and behave.

In Entangled Life, the brilliant young biologist Merlin Sheldrake shows us the world from a fungal point of view, providing an exhil
Esther Espeland
Oct 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lovely book! Great for if you already like mushrooms but you want to LOVE mushrooms.
Oleksandr Zholud
Jan 29, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a non-fic about fungi, it was Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Science & Technology (2020). I read is as a part of monthly reading for January 2021 at Non Fiction Book Club group.

This book contains a wealth of different info about fungi and related subjects, some as bizarre and the author’s experience with LSD (discovery of which linked to mushrooms) to musing if fungi affected human evolution and love for booze.

The topics discussed in the book (only a few, not a complete list):
- Wood
Feb 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Another science book win! Lets call Sheldrake the Daniel Kahneman of fungi. Fantastic discussions about how and why fungis do what they do. I listened to the book and Sheldrake has a very poetical reading of Entangled Life that I very much enjoyed.

I not only liked the hard scientific parts which were well explained and thought provoking, but the slightly less scientific musings on intelligence and fungi motivation as well.

Recommended for everyone, science fans or not.
(3.5) I first heard about Sheldrake through Robert Macfarlane’s Underland. He struck me as a mad genius – an impression that was only strengthened by reading his detailed, enthusiastic book about fungi. Sheldrake researches fungal life in the tropical forests of Panama, accompanies truffle hunters in Italy, takes part in a clinical study on the effects of LSD (derived from a fungus), observes lichens off the coast of British Columbia, and attends a conference in Oregon on Radical Mycology. But m ...more
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book alongside Robin Wall Kimmerer's "Braiding Sweetgrass" was an enrichment to my mind and soul this last week.

There was so much new to learn (I studied plant physiology, but it's been some years and I'm not up to current topics), so much fascinating interactions and insights. Sheldrake's question whether there are any individuals at all since all of us are a multitude of organisms working together blew my mind and changed my conception of life in general. Boldly stated and enterta
Alicia Bayer
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fascinating look at the fungal world like never before. The author is not just an expert but a devotee of mushrooms and provides an endless amount of fascinating information and stories. Sorry but fascinating is the only word that will do for much of it. Few illustrations done with inky mushroom ink add to the book but it would benefit from photos and more illustrations since it's so text heavy and some of us can't read 200 pages of even fascinating mushroom information without going a little cr ...more
Nov 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Mycelium Running

This book explores the beneficial effects of the symbiotic fungi in the soil. Mycorrhizal fungi are microscopic organisms that partner with root systems of plants and sequester carbon in much more meaningful ways than human “carbon offsets” will ever achieve. Most of these soil fungi support plant health in elegant ways. They boost green immune function in plants and community-wide networking that forms the basis of ecosystem resiliency. The mycelium’s digestive power and its use
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Rachel (Kalanadi) by: Andreea (Infinite Text)
4.5 stars
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This, simply, was one of the most beautifully written things I've ever had the pleasure of reading.

I've always been a big fan of mushrooms for eating, and a big fan of the fungal world for exploring. Fungus gets short shrift, which is sad, given that it's one of the more integral and interesting forms of life on this planet (though it stands to reason that it might seem so interesting because its been ignored and unexplored for, oh, all but the last 60 years, at least by Western standards). Beca
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“The authors of a seminal paper on the symbiotic view of life take a clear stance on this point. “There have never been individuals,” they declare. “We are all lichens.” 7 likes
“Some fungi have tens of thousands of mating types, approximately equivalent to our sexes (the record holder is the split gill fungus, Schizophyllum commune, which has more than twenty-three thousand mating types, each of which is sexually compatible with nearly every one of the others). The mycelium of many fungi can fuse with other mycelial networks if they are genetically similar enough, even if they aren’t sexually compatible. Fungal self-identity matters, but it is not always a binary world. Self can shade off into otherness gradually.” 5 likes
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