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Editorial 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

Critic Reviews

"[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 Ratings

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  • Overall
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  • Sarah
  • Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 02-26-12

So much more than a book about botany!

I absolutely loved listening to this book. I learned a lot about things I didn't even know I was interested in (who would've thought potatoes could be so fascinating?) and it left me wanting to research some topics further. It's the kind of book that gives you a lot to think about.

It's not a book about gardening, but it gave me so much newfound respect for plants that I almost want to try growing my own garden, regardless of my history as a plant serial killer.

The writing style is entertaining and easy to follow. I enjoyed the narration.

Highly recommended!

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Bugs eye!!!

What made the experience of listening to The Botany of Desire the most enjoyable?

I loved the way the whole concept! what a fantastic imagination and factual as well. thank you for helping me appreciate the finer points on 'bugs'. Scott Brick was a fine narrator with a comfortable tone.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Botany of Desire?

didnt have a favorite moment.

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

no.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

no, but i did find it fascinating.

Any additional comments?

it gives an interesting perspective

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  • Caroline
  • Stoneham, QC, Canada
  • 02-03-12

Fascinating read on botany!

Michael Pollan has again written a fantastic book. If you think a book about plants would be dull and tedious, think again! This book is nothing if not a fascinating journey about our relationship with plants and how they affect, enrich and sometimes reveal the best and the worst in ourselves.
Scott Brick performance is spot on. He knows when to bring it by injecting the right note, the right emotion in his voice and he also knows how to let the words speak and move us by themselves. I will certainly be looking forward to listening Scott Brick performing with other books.
This book will not disappoint. Michael Pollan knows how to make learning about a somewhat serious subject come alive. It's as much fun as you can have learning. I also highly recommend that you read his other books, especially those about food (A Defense of Food and The Omnivore's Dilemma).

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  • Sandra
  • Gallup, NM, United States
  • 01-22-12

Excellent book!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, particularly to friends who are gardeners or who have an interest in biology or history.

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  • sarah
  • east balmain, Australia
  • 01-10-12

Nicely done.

If you could sum up The Botany of Desire in three words, what would they be?

Plants, People. There, I only needed two!

What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

He's clear. He's not trying to be overly dramatic. I enjoyed listening to it while I was running because it was informative but not overly dramatic, it just went through this interesting history at a steady pace and kept me running at a steady pace.

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  • Maeve
  • Lewisville, TX, United States
  • 01-09-12

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?

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  • Chet
  • Vernal, UT, United States
  • 01-08-12

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.

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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.

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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!

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  • Jennifer
  • ROSCOE, IL, United States
  • 12-26-11

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!