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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 (1603 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jennifer ROSCOE, IL, United States 12-26-11
    Jennifer ROSCOE, IL, United States 12-26-11 Member Since 2014
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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
  •  
    TZVI SZAJNBRUM 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
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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 Listener 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
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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
  •  
    Judd Bagley Utah 11-15-11
    Judd Bagley Utah 11-15-11 Member Since 2015

    Max Fisher of Rushmore Academy

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    "30% interesting, 70% blah blah blah"

    This title did not deliver on its original promise of a scientific examination of the co-evolution of humans and four species of plant. Not that it didn't make an attempt, because it did. And yet the author seemed to get consistently -- and deeply -- distracted in ways that I could barely abide.
    It's as though the author sold the concept to a publishing house only to discover that there was not sufficient material on the chosen subjects to fill 300 pages, forcing him to compensate with vast spans of particularly annoying and formless (even...Dionysian?) sophistry.
    I usually avoid abridged books but this is one title that, had it undergone an intensive (even...Apollonian?) abridgement, would have merited an additional one or two stars.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. park 10-25-11
    J. park 10-25-11 Member Since 2014
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    "Enchanting"

    I'm not a gardener, and I don't really care about the stories behind the plants and flowers. But this book managed to suck me into the history and presence of it. The first chapter on apple (and the legends of Johnny Appleseed) is simply enchanting.

    I might even try other books by Michael Pollan now. He makes potentially dull subjects (dull to me, personally) into something exciting. Great writer, for sure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shala Kyle, TX, United States 10-20-11
    Shala Kyle, TX, United States 10-20-11

    rodr4210

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    "Not my cup of tea"

    Maybe I should have read the introduction. But I tried to give it the benefit of the doubt and work with it. I was on a 7 1/2 hour trip to New Mexico. Thought thats the best time to listen to it. Three or four chapters in, it just board me to tears. Couldnt take it any more. Was I missing something?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Aisha Vancouver, BC, Canada 10-20-11
    Aisha Vancouver, BC, Canada 10-20-11 Member Since 2015

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Wonderful, Informative Read"

    I didn't really expect to get into this book as much as I did. I thought it was going to be boring information about plants. But the first section of the book on apples got me really interested and I was hooked ever since. Just the way it was written made me feel that the author was very passionate about the subject and then passed that excitement onto me.

    I do admit though that some parts were a little slow. I couldn't fully get into the second section for example. But the other parts of the book made this it still worth the read. At least for me anyway.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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