Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, & Shape Our Futures

Merlin Sheldrake. Random House, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-0-525-51031-4
Scientist Sheldrake debuts with a revelatory look at fungi that proves their relevance to humans goes far beyond their uses in cooking. While fungi lack brains, they can process and share complicated information about food and the habitability of environments quickly and over great distances, influencing the “speed and direction of growth,” in ways not yet understood, prompting Sheldrake to ask, “Can we think of their behavior as intelligent?” By discussing how fungi come together with algae to form lichens, Sheldrake touches on another question, that of “where one organism stops and another begins” in symbiotic relationships. Elsewhere, he explains how fungi were essential for the original colonization of land by plants, as they effectively served as roots for the first rootless arrivals. Meanwhile, anthropologists have postulated that, via the fermentation process, fungi may have sparked one of humankind’s key transitions: “from hunter-gatherers to agriculturalists.” Looking to the future, Sheldrake discusses developing uses of fungi in shipping, construction, and environmental remediation materials. In bringing all these diverse threads together, Sheldrake delivers a thoroughly enjoyable paean to a wholly different kingdom of life. Agent: Jessica Woollard, David Higham Assoc. (May)
Reviewed on : 02/20/2020
Release date: 05/12/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-0-525-51033-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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