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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 (1600 )
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4.2 (857 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Dimitri 10-12-11
    Dimitri 10-12-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "30% interesting story, 70% philosophical musing"

    This book has buried in it a very interesting story with tasty titbits of history, botany, psychology, general fun and beautiful language, but to get to those one needs to listen through mostly bland and always lengthy philosophical ramblings. I am all in favour of moulding the language into beautiful form for sheer listening pleasure, but in the case of, say, Bill Bryson - I want to rewind and listen again, while in this case I itch to hit fast-forward, but then I might miss the small tasty part in the middle, so I don't.
    If only I could split this book into two parts - captivating story and boring philosophy, and listen to just the first one...

    The narrator's performance is excellent, but I don't know how he managed to get through those passages without falling asleep, which makes it even more commendable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Maui, Hawaii, United States 10-11-11
    Eric Maui, Hawaii, United States 10-11-11 Member Since 2011

    Audiobooks Make Weed Wacking a Pleasure

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I loved this book"

    This is the most pleasurable audiobook I've heard on Audible. I didn't have any expectations, and I just loved this book. The author meanders through the topics of four plants, and his stories and insights are very interesting. The author's prose is beautiful and the narration is top-notch. I'll probably listen to this audiobook again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heinen Spokane, WA, United States 09-08-11
    Heinen Spokane, WA, United States 09-08-11 Member Since 2011

    Freshly graduated from college and working hard to figure out what my next step will be. Books and stories are my escape from the world.

    ratings
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    "Give it time"

    This book seems to start slow but when you give it some time and get in to the meat and potatoes of what Pollan has to offer its truly amazing! Well researched and well read... so glad I took a chance on this one! I will definitely be looking in to Pollan's other works!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ltlrags CA USA 09-03-11
    ltlrags CA USA 09-03-11 Member Since 2015
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    "Much More Than Expected"

    A friend recommended this book and my first thought was, "it doesn't sound like what I like." I couldn't have been happier to have been wrong. And while I thought I would find the story of cannibus most interesting, I was wrong again. Amazingly, it was the lowly potato and apple that I liked most. Who would have thought that the plants would have such interesting stories? Well, now I can say that I know. Thank you Mr. Pollan and Mr. Brick.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Freeburg, IL, United States 08-27-11
    Beth Freeburg, IL, United States 08-27-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I wish there was a zero stars rating"

    Just awful. The author goes off point, repeats himself, and never proves his original hypothesis. Complete waste of time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Manchester, NH, United States 06-26-11
    Laura Manchester, NH, United States 06-26-11 Member Since 2014
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    "Interesting and entertaining..."

    I learned, I laughed, I didn't cry... a great listen for my commute (actually had me looking forward to my hours in the car each day). The narration took a little getting used to, but won me over in the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg 06-10-11
    Greg 06-10-11
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    "Generally lacking in content"

    the review title pretty much says it all. also pollan has a strong tendency to portray his opinions as though their accepted facts. this is seriously irritating as those opinions which he presents this way are almost always either out right wrong or have no hard data about them to form with certainty an opinion either way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret Maylands, Australia 03-13-11
    Margaret Maylands, Australia 03-13-11
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    "A good read"

    This is a good read if you like reading popularist science and/or anthropology books. Somewhat similar to Jared Diamond or Tim Flannery, with a focus on the post-Renaissance world and possibly a more philosophical bent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Boulder, CO, United States 12-08-10
    David Boulder, CO, United States 12-08-10 Member Since 2013
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    "Good, but not amazing"

    I found this book had a significant amount of really, really interesting information relating to the history/botany/biology of the topic plants. I found it very hard to get through the lengthy passages of introspection and other topics that have very little to do with apples, tulips, canabis, or potatos. I think his favorite word is Dionysus. Look for it in every other paragraph.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Agawam, MA, USA 05-25-10
    Joseph Agawam, MA, USA 05-25-10
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    "I found it very interesting!"

    I enjoyed this book, I was afraid it would be a sort of enviro nut type of story, but the author does a decent job of keeping it logical aside from a few global warming references it was very educational. This is the type of book I wouldn't normal download but was glad I did, I will never look at apples and especially potatoes the same way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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