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VIRTUAL: Michael Pollan / This Is Your Mind On Plants

July 6, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT

Booksmith is thrilled to present Michael Pollan again for his new book, This Is Your Mind On Plants, a radical challenge to how we think about drugs and an exploration into the powerful human attraction to psychoactive plants—and the equally powerful taboos—from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Change Your Mind.

Please note:

  • Each ticket includes admission for one to this exclusive event, 1 **signed** copy of This Is Your Mind On Plants (while supplies last), and domestic shipping.
  • Event link will be sent to everyone who gets tickets.
  • Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.
  • Any questions? Contact us at events@booksmith.com.
About the book

Of all the things humans rely on plants for–sustenance, beauty, medicine, fragrance, flavor, fiber–surely the most curious is our use of them to change consciousness: to stimulate or calm, fiddle with or completely alter, the qualities of our mental experience. Take coffee and tea: People around the world rely on caffeine to sharpen their minds. But we do not usually think of caffeine as a drug, or our daily use as an addiction, because it is legal and socially acceptable. So, then, what is a “drug”? And why, for example, is making tea from the leaves of a tea plant acceptable, but making tea from a seed head of an opium poppy a federal crime?

In This Is Your Mind on Plants, Michael Pollan dives deep into three plant drugs–opium, caffeine, and mescaline–and throws the fundamental strangeness, and arbitrariness, of our thinking about them into sharp relief. Exploring and participating in the cultures that have grown up around these drugs while consuming (or, in the case of caffeine, trying not to consume) them, Pollan reckons with the powerful human attraction to psychoactive plants. Why do we go to such great lengths to seek these shifts in consciousness, and then why do we fence that universal desire with laws and customs and fraught feelings?

In this unique blend of history, science, and memoir, as well as participatory journalism, Pollan examines and experiences these plants from several very different angles and contexts, and shines a fresh light on a subject that is all too often treated reductively–as a drug, whether licit or illicit. But that is one of the least interesting things you can say about these plants, Pollan shows, for when we take them into our bodies and let them change our minds, we are engaging with nature in one of the most profound ways we can. Based in part on an essay published almost twenty-five years ago, this groundbreaking and singular consideration of psychoactive plants, and our attraction to them through time, holds up a mirror to our fundamental human needs and aspirations, the operations of our minds, and our entanglement with the natural world.

About the author

Michael Pollan is the author of eight books, including How to Change Your MindCookedFood RulesIn Defense of FoodThe Omnivore’s Dilemma, and The Botany of Desire, all of which were New York Times bestsellers. A longtime contributor to The New York Times Magazine, Pollan teaches writing at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley. In 2010, Time magazine named him one of the one hundred most influential people in the world.

Please note: This is a ticketed, all-ages event. Each ticket includes a copy of This Is Your Mind On Plants – no exceptions. If you already have a copy, remember that books make great gifts! If you’ve already gifted this title to all of your friends, please write events@booksmith.com and we’ll work things out.


July 6, 2021
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT
Event Category:


The Booksmith
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