• The Omnivore's Dilemma

  • A Natural History of Four Meals
  • By: Michael Pollan
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 15 hrs and 53 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (9,045 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $23.90

Buy for $23.90

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

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

Gold Medal in Nonfiction for the California Book Award • Winner of the 2007 Bay Area Book Award for Nonfiction • Winner of the 2007 James Beard Book Award/Writing on Food Category • Finalist for the 2007 Orion Book Award • Finalist for the 2007 NBCC Award

"Thoughtful, engrossing.... You're not likely to get a better explanation of exactly where your food comes from." (The New York Times Book Review)

"An eater's manifesto...[Pollan's] cause is just, his thinking is clear, and his writing is compelling. Be careful of your dinner!" (The Washington Post)

Featured Article: 20 Best Fitness Audiobooks for Becoming Your Healthiest Self


Fitness audiobooks have the power to inspire and motivate us to change ourselves, whether through tough love or peeks into the amazing transformations of others. As one of the most consistently popular audiobook genres, there are countless selections with a plethora of information about the road to better health. Here, discover titles that communicate truths about health and fitness by examining the nutrition industry and human motivations.

What listeners say about The Omnivore's Dilemma

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6,107
  • 4 Stars
    2,099
  • 3 Stars
    623
  • 2 Stars
    118
  • 1 Stars
    98
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4,267
  • 4 Stars
    1,259
  • 3 Stars
    413
  • 2 Stars
    85
  • 1 Stars
    72
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4,322
  • 4 Stars
    1,261
  • 3 Stars
    371
  • 2 Stars
    84
  • 1 Stars
    46

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Great book; didn't love the reading

While raving to a friend about Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle", she recommended this book, so it was my next purchase. Early on I began to wonder if ANYTHING was really healthy and ethical to eat, unless you can produce all your own food! But it turned out to have some fascinating and valuable information about the way our food is grown, processed and transported, so it was well worth reading.

As for the narration... I've listened to several other books narrated by Scott Brick, and he's never been a favorite, but this was just baaaaddd. This book did NOT require a dramatic reading, but that's what it got! And I wish someone would give narrators a list of uncommon words in advance so he or she can be prepared! Mr. Brick really butchered a few words, and based on sentence context, I think he may have mis-read a few words altogether! I kept telling myself it's not a big deal - I got the point - but it's just so distracting!

81 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Engrossing and enlightening

When the book opened, I thought it was going to become some PETA fueled anti-meat rant, and then I thought it was going to become some anti-GM food hippy organic food rant, but I was wrong on both counts. It touches those subjects and many more. In fact, the book moves seamlessly between many subjects.

The author loves meat, and food, but he wants to know exactly where it comes from. He starts by homing in on corn, which is by far the most important component of our diet, being in almost everything we eat in one form or another (interesting, eh?). He then looks closer: how did corn come to dominate our diet, and why do farmers get paid less for their corn than it costs to grow it, and what is the real cost of all that cheap corn?

He then looks at the organic movement, and shows that organic is far from the pastoral ideal we imagine it to be. It is better than over-tilled and fertilized fields and manure filled feedlots, at least. I know a lot of farmers and I have seen some of this first-hand.

Then the author focuses on a truly sustainable farm, and the genius farmers who not only make it work, but make it work well. They can also tell you precisely why it works.

And that's only the first half of the book. The author keeps moving, filling the pages with startling facts and truly excellent writing. The author is apparently a journalist, and it shows in his extensive research and persuasive arguments.

I enjoyed this far more than I expected to. It helps, I suppose, that I was receptive to it. Still, I couldn't put it down, and I can recommend it to anyone who eats.

73 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great presentation of a moral dilemma

Pollan's examination of the cultural, moral and socioeconomic tradeoffs we make when eating food is a deep and exhaustive consideration of the consequences of seeming simple choices. By structuring the work around 4 meals, he presents four alternative relationships to nature and the world, and lays bare the personal consequences of each. I found that the detail was, at times unnecessarily fastidious, as when Pollan agonizes over the authenticity of hunting, but not killing, the wild boar in his hunter and gatherer meal, and then taking us through the process again, just so he can personally pull the trigger. I would have rather he had just lied, and took credit for the first kill.

The mix of science, economics and gastronomy was what I would like the Food Network to really be about. The personal perspective of the book sometimes got in the way, but gave it a visceral feel that kept my interest.

What did I learn from the book? That sorting out the food chains involved in what I eat daily is way too complicated to really address it in real life. I would have liked to see an epilogue that explained the way Pollan has worked it out. He hints at this at the end, but doesn't ever present a cogent agenda for how making responsible choices about food fits into the real world of budgets and schedules that we have developed since making the evolutionary choice to not spent most of our waking hours feeding ourselves.

I learned how mushrooms are gathered and the physiology of corn. I learned more than I would ever really want to about the beef industry, and the ecology of grasses. Overall, it was an enjoyable read that will stick with me longer than the meal of boar and mushrooms Pollan serves to his friends at the end of the book.

61 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Somewhat preachy, almost always fascinating

Well-written, well-researched, and full of interesting facts and stories about our food supply, I had two issues that bugged me about this book that held me back from unreserved praise, though other listeners may feel differently. First, and probably less important, is that the narrator over EMOTES every OTHER word making DRAMATIC use of pauses and SUCH to the point of annoyance, though this only started to bother me after a few hours. Secondly, though the book feels evenhanded at first, as it goes on, there are more and more digressions against tampering with nature, and the evil people (grain companies, government policy people) who back the bad guy of the book -- corn. While it does not overwhelm the audiobook, it does start to grate a bit, especially as the author regularly misuses economic arguments, and ignores perspectives other than those of the wealthy westerner to whom the tenfold increase in food production per acre is a problem, not a benefit. That said, however, the issues are discussed in a really interesting manner, with well-told stories (following the history of an ear of corn, tracing the debate about organic food standards through the hippies who started it, working at a farm, hunting a boar), and based on what we learn about the industrialized food supply, the biases he brings to the table, as it were, are both understandable and relatively subdued. It may or may not transform the way you think about food, but it will certainly raise questions, while keeping you surprisingly entertained.

42 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good Content, Difficult Narration

I really enjoyed Michael Pallin's last book and this one is very good too. The section on local agriculture was very interesting. Bu the narrator was overly dramatic to the point of being difficult to listen to. I'm a dedicated listener, and I liked the book, but I nearly turned it off a few times due to the narration.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Instant Classic Nonfiction

First, as the reviewer who actually heard author Pollan speak live notes, I agree that Scott Brick's reading of this book is *outstanding*--Brick has the talent of reading long sentences--many of which might be arcane or esoteric if simply read om page, and emphasize the important phrases--like reader Grover Gardner, the reading is brilliant.
I inhererited my Uncle Larry's book addiction---so I've read all that are on the list now (6 May 2006)--and the list is as streong as ever. This is a shockingly fantastic book.
The presentation is: Obective, Socially responsible, Overwhelmingly well-researched with proof in detail.
One reviewer wrote that Scott's delivery was "snobby" and "overread." So it is not for everyone, I know. This material is fact intensive, politically charged, and impeccably researched-the Sample is indicative of this long book--I listened and I thought: "Audible's first instant *classic*"---especially when you consider the price of the book-- If you are interested in this type of material: anthropology, politics, human nature, I could not recommend this more highly.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A must read

I don't think most people welcome the knowledge contained in this selection. What's the expression?... more information than I wanted to know. But it's not more information than we need to know. The book is long. As a biologist and geek, it was not too long for me. While most of what I have listened to by Scott Brick has been fiction and I have not always appreciated him as a reader, I believe he was perfect for this book. My only concern is that because of its length, some readers might be turned off and this is not a subject that should be turned off or not listened and paid attention to.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • M.
  • 12-15-10

Five Star Substance - One Star Narration

Add this to the long list of "Bricked" books appearing on Audible. Scott Brick's narrative style is a distraction from the actual substance of the book. I enjoyed the substance of the book, but had a very difficult time reaching it through the unnecessarily dramatic reading. Mr. Brick has narrated many other books I would like to listen to, and I have suffered through a couple of others, but will not make the mistake of purchasing another book read by him.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great for anyone. Should be required in school.

This is a fascinating soup to nuts description of the food chain particularly in America. It felt like Mr. Pollan did a great job of presenting all sides of many questions in a way that leaves the reader free to make the best of some rather difficult choices. Right now, many people don't even realize there ARE choices. One great point of this book is that we don't really know what we are putting in ourselves. Scott Brick wasn't as hammy as usual since it was non-fiction.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

You owe yourself to listen to this book

This book is big, and the reason it's big is because there's a lot to say about this subject. You may decide to not change anything in your habits, but at least you'll be making a conscious decision. This book talks about how a lot of other people make decisions for us on what we eat in a journalistic way that is not radical. Tells it like it is, backed up with research. I thank the writer for getting this book out there and the reader/producers for making it possible for me to get its contents during my commute.

12 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Fataneh Hamisi
  • Fataneh Hamisi
  • 04-30-20

A must read

Intelligently written, well researched and well read. An important book full of essential information and thinking about today’s industrial food manufacture, it’s destruction of nature, disregard and cruelty to animals and it’s primary motivation to make more profit. Everyone should read this book and we should all try to educate ourselves about where our food comes from and what the cost of it’s production is to the planet.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Alex Gay
  • Alex Gay
  • 07-13-21

A story of four meals

What is the cost of the food we eat? This interesting and absorbing book will take you through the impact that these meals have on the producers, the animals, the consumer and, ultimately, society.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for ThatPersonOverThere
  • ThatPersonOverThere
  • 07-23-19

Addictive

More than any book I've come across in years I couldn't put this one down. It goes much more into the ethics and politics of food than I expected and it's all the better for it. An absolutely fascinating book which is in parts horrifying but is stuff we should all know.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jacob Magnussen
  • Jacob Magnussen
  • 06-13-22

Great book

Loved it! Good storytelling and the audio version was great. Thought-provoking and important story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Caitlin
  • Caitlin
  • 02-14-22

Don't Wait to Read This!

It was on my 'to read' list for years, I don't wish I'd got to it sooner!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Andy
  • Andy
  • 01-10-22

This really fes my brain

I love a book like this that not only tells a story but also teaches you and gets you to think about a thing.

I think I will definitely revisit this book in the years to come, and if you're a meat eater, you own it to your food to give this a read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Rodrigo
  • Rodrigo
  • 11-10-21

Brilliantly read

Absolutely a must listen for anyone interested in where their food comes from and alternative ways of eating

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Oli
  • Oli
  • 03-28-21

We Are What We Eat?

A fantastic dive into the world of food and our relationship with it. loved the description of Joel Salatin's Polyface Farm. Diving into the ethics of MC Donald's with Peter Singer, the description of the Hunt....a brilliant mix of science and story by an outstanding journalist. Rightly influential and thought provoking.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lee Clark
  • Lee Clark
  • 03-06-21

fantastic!

Absolutely brilliant in everyway.
I'd go as far as to say it's a must read, brings up alot of real problems with food and sustainability that I admit felt at first distanced from but I've learned so much and it really did hook you being so interesting and informative!
brilliantly written and read too!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for D Reyburn
  • D Reyburn
  • 11-17-20

Incredible

I really enjoyed this book and found it fascinating. I think that Michael Pollan should write a book on how exactly to prepare his perfect meal and give instructions in detail on how to hunt and gather the ingredients .Very good book

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 03-29-21

An excellent book

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.. well researched and perfectly narrated.. it has certainly made me reconsider my view of food, especially that of industrial processed origins..

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 02-20-21

Enjoyed Part I and Part II

For me, the book would have been a five if it was limited to Part I and Part II.
In Part III it completely pivots from being informative to being philosophical and extremely slow moving

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amber Smeenk
  • Amber Smeenk
  • 11-04-21

Great book!

The wisdom of living well in a world worth living in.
I feel this is a book that should be required reading for everyone. It's beautiful and takes the reader through deep thoughts on food and our views and customs around food. It is truely food for thought. The writer manages to look at ideas and believes from different viewpoints and not proclaim one view 'better' than the other, rather pointing at the costs to nature of each. moved to tears at times...

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 07-10-20

a stimulating book.

great book. particularly the first section on American agriculture and manufactured food and the second section on sustainable farming. last section interesting, but I found the philosophy a bit slow. I really enjoyed it and will buy his other books.