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Entangled Life

How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures
Written by: Merlin Sheldrake
Narrated by: Merlin Sheldrake
Length: 9 hrs and 32 mins
5 out of 5 stars (29 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A mind-bending journey into the hidden universe of fungi, “[O]ne of those rare books that can truly change the way you see the world around you.” (Helen Macdonald, author of H Is for Hawk)

“Dazzling, vibrant, vision-changing...a remarkable work by a remarkable writer, which succeeds in springing life into strangeness again.” (Robert Macfarlane, author of Underland)

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 exhilarating change of perspective. Sheldrake's vivid exploration takes us from yeast to psychedelics, to the fungi that range for miles underground and are the largest organisms on the planet, to those that link plants together in complex networks known as the "Wood Wide Web", to those that infiltrate and manipulate insect bodies with devastating precision. 

Fungi throw our concepts of individuality and even intelligence into question. They are metabolic masters, earth makers, and key players in most of life's processes. They can change our minds, heal our bodies, and even help us remediate environmental disaster. By examining fungi on their own terms, Sheldrake reveals how these extraordinary organisms - and our relationships with them - are changing our understanding of how life works.

Praise for Entangled Life:

"Entangled Life is a gorgeous book of literary nature writing in the tradition of [Robert] Macfarlane and John Fowles, ripe with insight and erudition...food for the soul." (Eugenia Bone, Wall Street Journal)

"[An] ebullient and ambitious exploration.... This book may not be a psychedelic - and unlike Sheldrake, I haven’t dared to consume my copy (yet) - but reading it left me not just moved but altered, eager to disseminate its message of what fungi can do." (Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times)

©2020 Merlin Sheldrake (P)2020 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"Fungi are fascinating! Elegant life strategies meet with delicate omnipresence, driving global ecosystems. Sheldrake's book informs and offers new concepts. Looking through Sheldrake's lens, fungal biology integrates with art, philosophy, and human society. His voice is real and personal. His book educates and entertains." (Uta Paszkowski, professor of plant molecular genetics, University of Cambridge) 

What listeners say about Entangled Life

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  • Overall
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Fascinating

Lots of detail. I will listen to it immediately again to catch all the bit research. I found it amazing and so well studied.

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  • MM
  • 2020-07-26

Loved the epilogue

This book is so poetic. It is to be savored over multiple days, instead of at one stretch. I found myself musing on its contents at night. I was happy that he referenced Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, which has a similar meditative feel to it. And the epilogue stands on its own as a beautiful short essay.

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A True Fairy Tale!

Inspired and Inspiring! I'll be meditating to this again and again....Merlin reading his own words, is soothing, as well as projecting/weaving the concepts and stories with elegance👌 What a Gem!!!

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  • jae
  • 2020-06-24

thrilling

Merlin is incredible to listen to and he proves to you nothing is more thrilling than the life of fungi!!!

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Fascinating!

This book is an utterly brilliant foray in to the fascinating world of fungi and lichen.

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  • JacksonTimothyHemingway
  • 2020-05-12

Mycology for Everyone

Call me a biased Mycophile, but this was such a great book.
I preordered it, and downloaded as soon as it was available.
The pictures Merlin paints with his words are fantastic, not to mention his wonderfully soft voice that makes for easy listening. (Maybe don’t listen at night while driving, could be mistake for a lullaby).
A perfect book for the times of isolation and quarantine as it fills our minds with the childlike excitement of discovery in our neighboring woods.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Elan Sun Star
  • 2020-06-20

Brilliant and insightful! plant wisdom and science

What an incredible book /audiobook. I have read 40 books on this subject but this is quite the best.. and very accessible.
From a family of plant wise elders (Rupert Sheldrake) and a very worthy leader in the field. With a fantastic narration voice and the insights from a lifetime of observation fosters by his Dad , Rupert Sheldrake , this book incorporates many of the essential wisdom needed to solve some of the most challenging issues of our time.
it is an amazing and rich compilation of philosophy and biocentrism and biophilia


I highly suggest this book

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  • Ran Away
  • 2020-06-18

Beautiful and Informative

Wonderfully written and read! You’ll learn about fungi, be confronted with ambiguities and complex relationships, while enjoying poetic metaphors that bring the ideas to life and closer to home

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  • Stacy Martin
  • 2020-06-18

So good that I went and bought the book too!

First, Mr Sheldrake has a lovely, mesmerizing voice and pleasant cadence to his reading. The content is very rich and detailed, so several times I re-listened to parts just to retain as much as I could. It’s a great mix of natural history, scientific discovery, human culture and Sheldrake’s musings on how it’s all interwoven and dependent on mycelium-but yet still mysterious and emanating wonder. Didn’t want it to end!

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  • Arik
  • 2020-08-06

Joy to listen to

Extremely poetic take on topics that are cutting edge mycology. The mood balances the fine line of real truths and the mysticism associated with fungi in general.

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  • C Jewell
  • 2020-07-24

Incredible

This is one you'll listen to over and over again. Then you will try endlessly to figure out how to get Merlin's beautiful voice to narrate your dreams.

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  • Richard
  • 2020-07-08

Intriguing book, poor narration by author

A fascinating book about fungi. The author constantly finds way to shift your anthropocentric perspective. Unfortunately the author, Merlin Sheldrake, is not a professional reader and has a monotone voice that detracts from the experience rather than, as a good narrator does, adds to it. I still recommend the book, as it is so unusual and informative.

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  • Karinka
  • 2020-07-06

Fascinating insight into a hidden world

I am an educated medical professional who had no idea that the mycelial internet existed until a couple of years ago when I saw a popular film about the life of mushrooms. This wonderful book blows open one’s doors of perception with an amazing depth and breadth of information I never knew that I needed to know. Wow! Great book, highly recommend for the scientifically curious and lovers of the earth.

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  • The Z
  • 2020-07-03

Amazing.

Fascinating book and incredibly well-written. Describes the interplay between fungi and other life on earth using clever visual metaphors and concepts in robotics, economics, and philosophy.

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  • Gerald Albertson
  • 2020-06-27

Unusually marvelous

One of the most fascinating books I have ever listened to. Sheldrake voice is made for audio books. His voice is soothing and captivating. And the subject of fungi has so much depth we doubtless will be part of its story as technology begins to unlock wonderful secrets from a life form we know so little about. In my top 10 of all time.

1 person found this helpful