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Publisher's Summary

The best-selling author of The Botany of Desire explores the ecology of eating to unveil why we consume what we consume in the 21st century.

"What should we have for dinner?" To one degree or another, this simple question assails any creature faced with a wide choice of things to eat. Anthropologists call it the omnivore's dilemma. Choosing from among the countless potential foods nature offers, humans have had to learn what is safe, and what isn't, which mushrooms should be avoided, for example, and which berries we can enjoy. Today, as America confronts what can only be described as a national eating disorder, the omnivore's dilemma has returned with an atavistic vengeance.

The cornucopia of the modern American supermarket and fast-food outlet has thrown us back on a bewildering landscape where we once again have to worry about which of those tasty-looking morsels might kill us. At the same time we're realizing that our food choices also have profound implications for the health of our environment. The Omnivore's Dilemma is best-selling author Michael Pollan's brilliant and eye-opening exploration of these little-known but vitally important dimensions of eating in America.

We are indeed what we eat, and what we eat remakes the world. A society of voracious and increasingly confused omnivores, we are just beginning to recognize the profound consequences of the simplest everyday food choices, both for ourselves and for the natural world. The Omnivore's Dilemma is a long-overdue book and one that will become known for bringing a completely fresh perspective to a question as ordinary and yet momentous as "What shall we have for dinner?"

©2006 Michael Pollan (P)2006 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

  • National Book Critics Circle 2006 Award Finalist, Nonfiction

"Remarkably clearheaded book....A fascinating journey up and down the food chain." (Publishers Weekly) "His supermeticulous reporting is the book's strength - you're not likely to get a better explanation of where your food comes from....In an uncommonly good year for American food writing, this is a book that stands out." (The New York Times Book Review)"Completely charming." (Nora Ephron)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Awesome

Well wriiten -appears to be well researched -nice that he didnt get accusatory about vegetarianism or encourage likewise. Very interesting findings presented in an educated voice. Glad i read this book. It came after i had already decided not to purchase my meats from the grocery store -but even this book recognizes that i can only do that as long as i can afford to do it. Overall a great book -that i look forward to sharing with my friends

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Everyone: Be Scared About Corn

What disappointed you about The Omnivore's Dilemma?

While it is interesting to follow the history of corn's unlikely rise to world domination, this book is just one big misdirected hit piece. I haven't even made it to the end, and honestly I'm not going to. This is just some kind of hippy ammunition...because, you know, evil corporations and stuff.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Nothing by this person...ever

Which character – as performed by Scott Brick – was your favorite?

Corn

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Historical Timelines

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Will change the way you think about food

Any additional comments?

A fantastic book with a great ending. As someone who has experimented with many different diets and looked into where our food came from, this reignited my motivation to eat "cleaner" and have a greater awareness to what I'm serving for supper. I learned so much from this book, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

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very interesting very unique learned a lot

I wasn't sure where this story was going but it takes you on a tour of many different types of food and how that food is produced and consumed fascinating book great job

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Compelling story and good characters

Where does The Omnivore's Dilemma rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I would say it is above average, but not the best I've ever read. It sometimes gets bogged down by technical details that don't necessarily matter to me as a reader, but I understand why they require inclusion given Pollan's point--ignorance allows our faulty food system to go on, so total knowledge is essential.

What did you like best about this story?

Truthfully, I liked the early chapters about corn, the parts about slaughterhouses, and the characters--Pollan himself, Salatan, and the other people who helped Pollan make his conscientious meal at the close of the book.

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

I have to agree with another review I read before purchasing this book--it did not require a dramatic reading, and Scott Brick's voice at first actually got on my nerves. But as the book became more involved with Pollan's personal tale of becoming a conscientious eater, I didn't mind it so much, and actually began to imagine Scott Brick's voice was how Michael Pollan sounds. When I start to do that, I consider the reading to be good.

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

Neither, but it did cause me to furrow my eyebrows a lot, which is good. It makes you think realistically about the food you eat, meat, vegetables, and processed food alike.

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A must for anybody eating today

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

Great read for anybody eating today. I was a little apprehensive as some reviews said the narration was overly dramatic but I found it to be just fine. The narrative in itself is well paced and broken up nicely into three parts.

If you're alive today, then you're eating. If you're eating, you owe it to yourself to learn a bit more about how food functions in the world today.

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Moving

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

I love the way Michael Pollan romanticizes food and connects us with the basics lost in a commercial world.

What did you like best about this story?

The first section about the corn and the last section about the meal.

Did Scott Brick do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Not really, he has a nice voice and enunciates however I always feel like he is acting and I prefer to listen to Michael Pollan who is not.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The mushrooms.

Any additional comments?

I hope he continues to write for a long time to come.

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Corn

One of the best audiobooks I have ever heard. The wit of this scientifically supported story is well worth it! As a biophysicist, I am very impressed with Michael.

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Thought provoking

We would all benefit from knowing where our food comes from. This book requires you to think about what we are putting in our bodies. Enjoyed!

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Eye Opening

While it was a little too poetic at times, Pollan does a great job of discussing the issues with the food industry from a rather unbiased perspective. Most materials tend to be very left (or occasionally right) and Pollan does a great job of talking about the morality vs. economics instead of negating economics as many liberal sources can often do.

The only comment I have is that some of Pollan's critiques about grass fed animals may not be financially accurate. While I do not think animals should be fed anything but their natural diet, having smaller farms with only grass fed cattle and chicken would make meat a "rich man's" commodity. A lot of these changes for the good of the ecology will hurt the pocket of the lower class and lower middle class which is unfortunate.