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30 review for How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics

  1. 4 out of 5

    Todd

    A really interesting history of psychedelics (LSD, Psilocybin, and a few others). The book examines how the drugs were originally being studied and the problems with psychedelics becoming associated with hippies and the counterculture of the 60's and 70's. Then the author talks about his experience meeting with and using psychedelics under some therapists and spiritual guides who use psychedelics in as part of their practice. The last part of the book then looks at how psychedelics are currently A really interesting history of psychedelics (LSD, Psilocybin, and a few others). The book examines how the drugs were originally being studied and the problems with psychedelics becoming associated with hippies and the counterculture of the 60's and 70's. Then the author talks about his experience meeting with and using psychedelics under some therapists and spiritual guides who use psychedelics in as part of their practice. The last part of the book then looks at how psychedelics are currently being studied and a possible push for psychedelics to be removed as a schedule 1 substance so they could be used as part of a prescribed psychiatric treatment for select conditions.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra Burr

    The majority of this book was surprising to me. I was expecting science in an informative tone but the first half was primarily experiences written as a narrative. I loved that by the time I go to the last chapter I had a deep understanding for what the experiences were like and could better connect that to the science. I have never taken psychedelics but I feel that reading this gave me a new perspective on the mindfulness practices I do partake in. Very interesting content and I'm going to rea The majority of this book was surprising to me. I was expecting science in an informative tone but the first half was primarily experiences written as a narrative. I loved that by the time I go to the last chapter I had a deep understanding for what the experiences were like and could better connect that to the science. I have never taken psychedelics but I feel that reading this gave me a new perspective on the mindfulness practices I do partake in. Very interesting content and I'm going to read some of the books he mentions here next!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matt Shaqfan

    This made me want to do acid again, so that's cool. But some of it was a little slow for me. I wouldn't say this was a gripping page-turner, but it was good and I'm glad it was written. Can I have some drugs? This made me want to do acid again, so that's cool. But some of it was a little slow for me. I wouldn't say this was a gripping page-turner, but it was good and I'm glad it was written. Can I have some drugs?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kara Henry

    Admittedly, I am very interested by psychedelics but was very wary to pick this book up. It was the James Turell pictured on the cover that convinced me to go for it haha. Curious, interesting, and objectively presented, this book answered a lot of the questions I had about psychedelics and left me asking even more about existence, consciousness, and reality. Pretty cool, however, still not interested in trying it out.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Eshan

    The first half of the book was a solid and thoroughly researched look into psychedelics in Western culture, covering both the history and current state of affairs. This portion did get quite slow at times, but I think it’s more to do with the fact that I generally am not a fan of long historical narratives. That being said, I don’t want to turn anyone off from reading this section as the history of psychedelics is full of intelligent, bizarre, and passionate people doing awe-inspiring shit. I al The first half of the book was a solid and thoroughly researched look into psychedelics in Western culture, covering both the history and current state of affairs. This portion did get quite slow at times, but I think it’s more to do with the fact that I generally am not a fan of long historical narratives. That being said, I don’t want to turn anyone off from reading this section as the history of psychedelics is full of intelligent, bizarre, and passionate people doing awe-inspiring shit. I also think it adds a necessary context for the second half of the book. This section is meticulously researched and the fascinating first hand accounts Pollan has with many of the movers, thinkers, and shakers in the field speaks volumes to his ability as an author and journalist. The second half of “How To Change Your Mind” is where the magic is –pun intended. Pollan begins by detailing his experiences with Psilocybin, LSD, and 5-MeO-DMT. Anyone who has tried to explain the experience of using such a substance knows how impossible it is to capture the essence of the experience with words alone, but to me, Pollan has come the closest to achieving this. On top of this, he shows a lot of courage by being vulnerable with the reader and is never shy about sharing the intimate moments experienced throughout his trips. The fact that Pollan is in his sixties while undertaking all of this, and would have come of age during the start of the war on drugs and crashing of the first wave of the psychedelic movement, was all the more impressive and inspiring. I wish I could say more about this section, but I don’t think I could do it justice in the way Pollan does. So I’ll just say this: read the book. Finally, I’m a sucker for the science. The book really gets into the science behind what’s going on in your noggin when you trip and it is fascinating. It does a great job of straddling the line between the pure science and the spiritual/mystical aspects of the field which I think is so hard to do. Pollan doesn’t just focus on the drugs themselves either, but also makes sure to hit on the wider discussion of consciousness, doing a great job of exploring interconnected topics like meditation. More than anything, I was absolutely blown away by the discussion of how psychedelics can play a role as therapeutics for dealing with death, addiction, and depression. I left this section convinced that psychedelic assisted psychotherapy will be one the landmark achievements in mental health, supercharging treatment and also fostering a paradigm shift in the way we think about what mental health even is. This book felt very personal for me, as I’m sure it will be for anyone who reads it, since it hits on many fundamental concepts about the human experience. I’m grateful that Pollan wrote this book because it has helped make some of those concepts more approachable and a little less intimidating for me. I’ve certainly become inspired and excited to explore my own human experience more deeply through the realm of psychedelics.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tom Hill

    I have to admit I learned quite a few things I did not know from this book. The first is that not all psychedelic drugs are addictive. The second was that back in the sixties there was some serious research going on in the use these drugs to address mental problems like depression and addiction. It was not all just hippies turning on and dropping out. As society has loosened the reins on the research into the use of psychedelic therapy there is still that big question of its use by “well” people I have to admit I learned quite a few things I did not know from this book. The first is that not all psychedelic drugs are addictive. The second was that back in the sixties there was some serious research going on in the use these drugs to address mental problems like depression and addiction. It was not all just hippies turning on and dropping out. As society has loosened the reins on the research into the use of psychedelic therapy there is still that big question of its use by “well” people. Would the world be a better place if each of us, once, experienced the dissolution of our ego and used an alternative consciousness to view the world? Would war cease to exist, violence against our fellow man be a rarity and the world of love promised to us in the 60’s finally be realized? Nothing in life is so simple and no drug is our salvation. Keep the genie in the bottle, help those who can most benefit from the therapy, keep up the research into new ways to use these drugs to benefit society and hope it does not all go off the rails again.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Keith

    An incredible journey into the world of psychedelics. Pollan gives what I believe to be a unique experience to the reader by laying the mycology and its importance to our world and then diving into the wild human history with mushrooms and other psychedelics. The latter parts of the book yield thought-provoking tales as he reclaims his personal trips and then wraps up with suggestions for how they can (and likely should) be implemented into modern medicine. A great read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    I really enjoyed the mixture of personal and scientific narrative. I didn't know much about psychedelics prior and this debunked a lot of DARE narratives and opened my mind to their psychiatric usefulness. It can be dry at times but that's part of the gist - a comprehensive look at psychedelics via scientific fact and personal experience. I really enjoyed the mixture of personal and scientific narrative. I didn't know much about psychedelics prior and this debunked a lot of DARE narratives and opened my mind to their psychiatric usefulness. It can be dry at times but that's part of the gist - a comprehensive look at psychedelics via scientific fact and personal experience.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Interesting history. But too many misuses of words like “metaphysics”, “philosophy”, almost at an abusive level. Keep in mind that mentioning “philosophy professors” without many concrete details don’t give the book more credentials. Only read half way through, though.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christina Goodwin

    I always thought the 60’ seemed like such a cool time. This book certainly confirms that - classes at Harvard where you do drugs?! Great stories about the players, science, and cultural history along with details of the trips for those of us who haven’t yet personally experienced one.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Kent

    Finally, an author who writes credibly about the psychedelic experience. A little repetitive, but a fascinating.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Diego Kuri

    One of those life changing books. Highly recommended.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline Mast

    Pollan does a spectacularly thorough review of the historical and present day account of mind-bending approaches to experiencing reality, including psychedelics from both an indigenous and synthetic approach, as well as the concepts of neuropsychology and transformative mystical perspectives. He utilizes a balance of personal experience and valuable, diligent research with all of the pertinent and relevant pioneers and present-day professionals in the fields, to address the tremendous possibilit Pollan does a spectacularly thorough review of the historical and present day account of mind-bending approaches to experiencing reality, including psychedelics from both an indigenous and synthetic approach, as well as the concepts of neuropsychology and transformative mystical perspectives. He utilizes a balance of personal experience and valuable, diligent research with all of the pertinent and relevant pioneers and present-day professionals in the fields, to address the tremendous possibilities inherent for healing and growth through the exploration of plant-based wisdom in safely guided, experienced therapeutic settings. I found this book to be a gold-mine of information in the evolution of our world's dance with Mind and healing and the inspiring movement of realistic progress in bringing the worlds of mysticism and science together for the betterment of all. If these topics interest you I would HIGHLY recommend!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joel Cain

  15. 5 out of 5

    Komal Fatima

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Sbriglia

  17. 5 out of 5

    Molly Bolton

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bryn Kathleen

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Lewis

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Harper

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eric Smith

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ciara Lynsey

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jane Hayes

  24. 5 out of 5

    Koji Gardiner

  25. 4 out of 5

    Malikald

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brian Kelly

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anton Osika

  28. 5 out of 5

    David

  29. 5 out of 5

    John Mitchell

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alex Porcelli

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