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The Botany of Desire | [Michael Pollan]

The Botany of Desire

Every schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: The bee collects nectar and pollen to make honey and, in the process, spreads the flowers' genes far and wide. In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why You Should Download This Audiobook: It's hard to believe how much interest one man can generate in plants, but Michael Pollan does it. And he's a bit of an iconoclast, revealing a side of Johnny Appleseed (think hard apple cider) you might not have known, and tiptoeing through generations of tulip hybridization to account for a dearth in rarity. Offbeat or unexpected nonfiction works like this are a pleasure to listen to, placing the most common of things in new light. We learned a lot from this audiobook.

Publisher's Summary

Every schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: The bee collects nectar and pollen to make honey and, in the process, spreads the flowers' genes far and wide. In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship. He masterfully links four fundamental human desires, sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control, with the plants that satisfy them: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato. In telling the stories of four familiar species, Pollan illustrates how the plants have evolved to satisfy humankind's most basic yearnings. And just as we've benefited from these plants, the plants have also benefited at least as much from their association with us. So who is really domesticating whom?

©2001 by Michael Pollan; (P)2006 by Audio Evolution, LLC

What the Critics Say

"[Pollan] has a wide-ranging intellect, an eager grasp of evolutionary biology and a subversive streak that helps him to root out some wonderfully counterintuitive points. His prose both shimmers and snaps, and he has a knack for finding perfect quotes in the oddest places....Best of all, Pollan really loves plants." (The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (1464 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Maeve Lewisville, TX, United States 01-09-12
    Maeve Lewisville, TX, United States 01-09-12 Member Since 2010

    mepwave

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    "Great thought piece!"
    If you could sum up The Botany of Desire in three words, what would they be?

    Plants manipulate humans


    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved the case study approach Pollan took to illustrate greater truths about the interconnectivity between plants and humans.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I loved the scenes in which Pollan was in his own garden exploring what he was learning in his own patch of land.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Do we control what we plant or does it control us?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chet Vernal, UT, United States 01-08-12
    Chet Vernal, UT, United States 01-08-12
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    "Not bad..."

    When I downloaded this book I didnt know what to expect. I usually go for fiction, but when this book came on sale I thought I would give it a shot. It was pretty good. Informative, and steady moving. Over all, OK.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Neil Chisholm Buninyong, Australia 12-30-11
    Neil Chisholm Buninyong, Australia 12-30-11 Member Since 2011

    "fabric artist and quilter"

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    "Fascinating botanical history"

    This book was a fascinating botanical history taking four examples from the floral world - apples, tulips, cannabis and potatoes. Each is a good example of man and botany's interaction and how as a species it was developed to what it is today. It is also a warning to us as species become so specific and the DNA downgrades leaving us with the threat of a botanical catastrophe of our own making. A very interesting book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ,Louis-Philippe NOTRE-DAME-DU-PORTAGE, QC, Canada 12-27-11
    ,Louis-Philippe NOTRE-DAME-DU-PORTAGE, QC, Canada 12-27-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Profound, thought-provoking writing, +well read"
    What made the experience of listening to The Botany of Desire the most enjoyable?

    The humanity, the history of those 4 plants, the sincerity of the author, his curiosity and the general tone of his refined reflections and deep knowledge. The narrator's excellent intonation couples intimately with the text and makes for an easy listen.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The book's whole plan of choosing four plants and digging into the history of their domestication and their corresponding human desires. Pollan is a profound humanist and awakens deep love-of-life thoughts and feelings.


    Have you listened to any of Scott Brick’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but I'm interested in hearing other books he chose.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The intimate relationship between bipeds and plants


    Any additional comments?

    My best audiobook yet!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer ROSCOE, IL, United States 12-26-11
    Jennifer ROSCOE, IL, United States 12-26-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Informative and entertaining"
    Would you listen to The Botany of Desire again? Why?

    I plan on listening to this book again. This book has enough scientific food for thought that a second listen is a good idea. I definitely enjoyed it enough to listen twice! It was written to entertain in addition to providing a paradigm shift on how we view coevolution of certain plants with humans. Michael Pollan is a great story teller!


    What other book might you compare The Botany of Desire to and why?

    The structure of this book reminds me of the way the author set up The Omnivores Dilemma -the story is divided into four sections, each focusing on a different plant (apple, tulip, cannabis, potato), but all with the same purpose of helping us view our human interaction with each from the plant perspective (who's manipulating who?)


    What does Scott Brick bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Scott Brick has a great speaking voice and tells this story as if it were his own. As I listen, I forget that he is reading a book - it feels more like he is explaining his ideas to me.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    You will never look at your plants the same way again!


    Any additional comments?

    You don't have to be a botanist to enjoy and benefit from this book - enjoy it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lissa San Diego, CA, United States 12-12-11
    Lissa San Diego, CA, United States 12-12-11 Member Since 2007
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    "Parts were interesting, parts were boring"

    I listened to this because my mother recommended it and I have a new-found interest in plants, food and our connection to them. So I thought I would learn something new. There were parts that were quite interesting, mostly the section on marijuana, and others that were disconnected and boring.
    I never really knew where the author was going with his essays and when I was done listening I still didn't know. He rambled on and often I lost interest and just tuned out.
    I have not yet read his other popular books but I don't think I will in the future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    EMIL Brazil 12-10-11
    EMIL Brazil 12-10-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Michael Pollan is always nice but...."
    Where does The Botany of Desire rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I found the content of Botany of Desire a little bit disappointing after all other Pollan's book that a read in the past. The level of detail of some part are sometimes boring...


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melissa Australia 12-02-11
    Melissa Australia 12-02-11 Member Since 2010
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    "super interesting"

    This book was super interesting, especially the apples and potatoes! Will re-read this one for sure!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Sanibel, FL, United States 11-29-11
    Thomas Sanibel, FL, United States 11-29-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Mankind's influence on natural selection"

    The Botany of Desire provides a fascinating account of how we have affected natural selection and evolution of selected plant species and compliments The Singularity is Near which focuses on the profound effects that the human brain has had on the evolution of computation and information technology.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Hampton East, Australia 11-22-11
    Mark Hampton East, Australia 11-22-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Thought I knew about apples, cannabis and potatoes"

    I was fascinated by the information and the thinking behind this book. Michael Pollan (should change his name to Pollen) is a deep thinker, and expresses his philosophy very well. I see the world in a new way because of this book (similar to the effect of 'Perfume' by Patrick Susskind).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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