How to Change Your Mind
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How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence is a 2018 book by Michael Pollan. It chronicles the long and storied history of psychedelic drugs, from their turbulent 1960s heyday to the resulting countermovement and backlash. Through his coverage of the recent resurgence in this field of research, as well as his own personal use of psychedelics via a "mental travelogue", Pollan seeks to illuminate not only the mechanics of the drugs themselves, but also the inner workings of the human mind and consciousness.
The book is organized into six chapters with an epilogue:
- A Renaissance
- Natural History: Bemushroomed
- History: The First Wave
- Travelougue: Journeying Underground
- The Neuroscience: Your Brain on Psychedelics
- The Trip Treatment: Psychedelics in Psychotherapy
Kevin Canfield of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: "In 'How to Change Your Mind', Pollan explores the circuitous history of these often-misunderstood substances, and reports on the clinical trials that suggest psychedelics can help with depression, addiction and the angst that accompanies terminal illnesses. He does so in the breezy prose that has turned his previous books — these include The Omnivore's Dilemma and Cooked, the inspiration for his winning Netflix documentaries of the same name — into bestsellers."
Jacob Sullum of Reason gave the book a generally positive review, but faulted Pollan for blaming Timothy Leary's self-promotion without allocating blame to the politicians and journalists who shut down the promising scientific study of psychedelics.
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