Michael Pollan Recommended Books



ORIGINAL POST
Posted by PSR_AXP 2 days ago
Home Economics
by Wendell Berry
 
"My work has been motivated," Wendell Berry has written, "by a desire to make myself responsibly at home in this world and in my native and chosen place." In "Home Economics," a collection of fourteen essays, Berry explores this process and continues to discuss what it means to make oneself "responsibly at home."
 
His title reminds us that the very root of economics is stewardship, household management. To paraphrase Confucius, a healthy planet is made up of healthy nations that are simply healthy communities sharing common ground, and communities are gatherings of households. A measure of the health of the planet is economics--the health of its households. Any process of destruction or healing must begin at home. Berry speaks of the necessary coherence of the "Great Economy," as he argues for clarity in our lives, our conceptions, and our communications. To live is not to pass time, but to "spend "time.
 
Whether as critic or as champion, Wendell Berry offers careful insights into our personal and national situation in a prose that is ringing and clear. 
 
The Gift of Good Land: Further Essays Cultural and Agricultural
by Wendell Berry
 
In the twenty-four essays of this collection, Well Berry stresses the carefully modulated harmonics of indivisibility in culture and agriculture, the interdepence, the wholeness, the oneness, of man, animals, the land, the weather, and the family. To touch one, he shows, is to tamper with them all.Here he continues issues first raised in The Unsettling of America; the problems addressed there are still with us and the solutions no nearer to hand, Mr. Berry writes of his journeys to the highlands of Peru, the deserts of southern Arizona, and the Amish country to study traditional agricultural practices. He writes of homesteading, tools and their uses, horses and tractors, family work, land reclamation, diversified land use.In the title essay Mr. Berry draws parallels between the Christian notion of stewardship and the Buddhist doctrine of "right livelihood." He develops the compelling argument that the "gift" of good land has strings attached: the recipient has it only as long as he practices responsible stewardship.
 
Walden
by Henry David Thoreau
 
Walden (also known as Life in the Woods) by Henry David Thoreau is one of the best-known non-fiction books written by an American. Published in 1854, it details Thoreau's life for two years and two months in second-growth forest around the shores of Walden Pond, not far from his friends and family in Concord, Massachusetts. Walden was written so that the stay appears to be a year, with expressed seasonal divisions. Thoreau called it an experiment in simple living.Walden is neither a novel nor a true autobiography, but a social critique of the Western World, with each chapter heralding some aspect of humanity that needed to be either renounced or praised. The work is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, and manual for self reliance. 
 
Dirt: Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, Father, and Sleuth Looking for the Secret of French Cooking
by Bill Buford
 
Bill Buford turns his inimitable attention from Italian cuisine to the food of France. Baffled by the language, but convinced that he can master the art of French cooking--or at least get to the bottom of why it is so revered-- he begins what becomes a five-year odyssey by shadowing the esteemed French chef Michel Richard, in Washington, D.C. But when Buford (quickly) realizes that a stage in France is necessary, he goes--this time with his wife and three-year-old twin sons in tow--to Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France. Studying at L'Institut Bocuse, cooking at the storied, Michelin-starred La Mère Brazier, enduring the endless hours and exacting rigeur of the kitchen, Buford becomes a man obsessed--with proving himself on the line, proving that he is worthy of the gastronomic secrets he's learning, proving that French cooking actually derives from (mon dieu!) the Italian. 
 
Paper Lion: Confessions of a Last-String Quarterback
by George Plimpton
 
George Plimpton's classic Paper Lion set the bar for participatory sports journalism, as the author shares his experiences in training camp, trying out as a quarterback for the NFL's Detroit Lions, and eventually, playing in a preseason exhibition game. Displaying his characteristic wit and insight, Paper Lion was met with both critical and commercial success, and inspired a movie starring Alan Alda. 
 
The Odyssey
by Homer
 
Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns
driven time and again off course, once he had plundered
the hallowed heights of Troy.
 
So begins Robert Fagles' magnificent translation of the Odyssey.
 
If the Iliad is the world's greatest war epic, then the Odyssey is literature's grandest evocation of everyman's journey though life. Odysseus' reliance on his wit and wiliness for survival in his encounters with divine and natural forces, during his ten-year voyage home to Ithaca after the Trojan War, is at once a timeless human story and an individual test of moral endurance.
 
In the myths and legends that are retold here, Fagles has captured the energy and poetry of Homer's original in a bold, contemporary idiom, and given us an Odyssey to read aloud, to savor, and to treasure for its sheer lyrical mastery.
 
Renowned classicist Bernard Knox's superb Introduction and textual commentary provide new insights and background information for the general reader and scholar alike, intensifying the strength of Fagles' translation.
 
This is an Odyssey to delight both the classicist and the public at large, and to captivate a new generation of Homer's students.
 
Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England
by William Cronon
 
The book that launched environmental history now updated.
Winner of the Francis Parkman Prize
 
In this landmark work of environmental history, William Cronon offers an original and profound explanation of the effects European colonists' sense of property and their pursuit of capitalism had upon the ecosystems of New England. Reissued here with an updated afterword by the author and a new preface by the distinguished colonialist John Demos, Changes in the Land, provides a brilliant inter-disciplinary interpretation of how land and people influence one another. With its chilling closing line, "The people of plenty were a people of waste," Cronon's enduring and thought-provoking book is ethno-ecological history at its best. 
 
Liberty Under Siege: American Politics 1976-1988
by Walter Karp
 
Liberty Under Siege is an extraordinary book. Here, finally, is a reveille for reality, a call to stop this long intoxication with illusion and look at what has been happening to our republic. Walter Karp combines the passion of Tom Paine with the urgency of Paul Revere to sound a patriot's alarm for his country. 
 
The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys
by James Fadiman
 
Psychedelics for spiritual, therapeutic, and problem-solving use
 
- Presents practices for safe and successful psychedelic voyages, including the benefits of having a guide and how to be a guide
- Reviews the value of psychedelics for healing and self-discovery as well as how LSD has facilitated scientific and technical problem-solving
- Reveals how ultra-low doses improve cognitive functioning, emotional balance, and physical stamina
 
This year 600,000 people in the U.S. alone will try LSD for the the first time, joining the 23 million who have already experimented with this substance.
 
Called "America's wisest and most respected authority on psychedelics and their use," James Fadiman has been involved with psychedelic research since the 1960s. In this guide to the immediate and long-term effects of psychedelic use for spiritual (high dose), therapeutic (moderate dose), and problem-solving (low dose) purposes, Fadiman outlines best practices for safe, sacred entheogenic voyages learned through his more than 40 years of experience--from the benefits of having a sensitive guide during a session (and how to be one) to the importance of the setting and pre-session intention.
 
Fadiman reviews the newest as well as the neglected research into the psychotherapeutic value of visionary drug use for increased personal awareness and a host of serious medical conditions, including his recent study of the reasons for and results of psychedelic use among hundreds of students and professionals. He reveals new uses for LSD and other psychedelics, including extremely low doses for improved cognitive functioning and emotional balance. Cautioning that psychedelics are not for everyone, he dispels the myths and misperceptions about psychedelics circulating in textbooks and clinics as well as on the internet. Exploring the life-changing experiences of Ram Dass, Timothy Leary, Aldous Huxley, and Huston Smith as well as Francis Crick and Steve Jobs, Fadiman shows how psychedelics, used wisely, can lead not only to healing but also to scientific breakthroughs and spiritual epiphanies. 
 
The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
Introduction by Mary Oliver
Commentary by Henry James, Robert Frost, Matthew Arnold, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Henry David Thoreau
 
The definitive collection of Emerson’s major speeches, essays, and poetry, The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson chronicles the life’s work of a true “American Scholar.” As one of the architects of the transcendentalist movement, Emerson embraced a philosophy that championed the individual, emphasized independent thought, and prized “the splendid labyrinth of one’s own perceptions.” More than any writer of his time, he forged a style distinct from his European predecessors and embodied and defined what it meant to be an American. Matthew Arnold called Emerson’s essays “the most important work done in prose.”

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PSR_AXP 2 days ago
How to Dress an Egg: Surprising and Simple Ways to Cook Dinner
by Ned Baldwin, Peter Kaminsky
 
Learn to cook one thing exceptionally well and you open the door to a multitude of possibilities, with no need for special equipment or fussy techniques. That’s the premise of this book.
 
Ned Baldwin, a home cook who taught himself to be an excellent chef, sees no reason why anyone else can’t do the same. By showcasing one ingredient per method, Baldwin introduces all the skills a cook will ever need to prepare endless pleasurable meals. Get a big, beefy hit from a hanger steak by cooking it in the oven; master salad-making with leafy greens; grill fillets of sea bass for crispy skin and moist flesh; roast an explosively juicy chicken (the secret is to cook it on the floor of the oven); bake leeks to soft perfection; and more.
 
Each dish is elaborated on in different ways to expand the technique into unlikely, inventive recipes that are jumping-off points for endless creativity. 
 
The Doors of Perception & Heaven and Hell
by Aldous Huxley
 
As only he can, Aldous Huxley explores the mind's remote frontiers and the unmapped areas of human consciousness. These two astounding essays are among the most profound studies of the effects of mind-expanding drugs written in this century. Contains the complete texts of The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell , both of which became essential for the counterculture during the 1960s and influenced a generation's perception of life.  
 
Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson
by Camille Paglia
 
From ancient Egypt through the nineteenth century, Sexual Personae explores the provocative connections between art and pagan ritual; between Emily Dickinson and the Marquis de Sade; between Lord Byron and Elvis Presley. It ultimately challenges the cultural assumptions of both conservatives and traditional liberals. 47 photographs. 
 
On Drugs
by David Lenson
 
Lenson (comparative literature, U. of Massachusetts-Amherst) offers a thoughtful literary-historical examination of drug use which takes into account the varied experiences of users. Topics include drugs, sobriety, and the metaphysics of consumerism; what drugs do and don't do; and drugs and violence. 
 
The Jungle
by Upton Sinclair
 
For nearly a century, the original version of Upton Sinclair's classic novel has remained almost entirely unknown.
 
When it was published in serial form in 1905, it was a full third longer than the censored, commercial edition published in book form the following year. That expurgated commercial edition edited out much of the ethnic flavor of the original, as well as some of the goriest descriptions of the meat-packing industry and much of Sinclair's most pointed social and political commentary.
 
The text of this new edition is as it appeared in the original uncensored edition of 1905.
It contains the full 36 chapters as originally published, rather than the 31 of the expurgated edition.
 
A new foreword describes the discovery in the 1980s of the original edition and its subsequent suppression, and a new introduction places the novel in historical context by explaining the pattern of censorship in the shorter commercial edition. 
 
The Healing Journey: Pioneering Approaches to Psychedelic Therapy
by Claudio Naranjo
 
This book takes an in-depth look at the spiritual and psychotherapeutic potential of the amphetamine derivatives MDA and MMDA, harmaline (the active compound in ayahuasca), and ibogaine. To distinguish them from classical psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin, Naranjo coins the terms “emotion-enhancers” and “fantasy-enhancers” for these substances.
 
This book is a must-read for all serious students of consciousness and the human psyche, and for those with a personal or professional desire to explore revolutionary innovations in psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, experimental psychiatry, or the psychology of religion. 
 
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5
by American Psychiatric Association
 
This new edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5(R)), used by clinicians and researchers to diagnose and classify mental disorders, is the product of more than 10 years of effort by hundreds of international experts in all aspects of mental health. Their dedication and hard work have yielded an authoritative volume that defines and classifies mental disorders in order to improve diagnoses, treatment, and research.
 
The criteria are concise and explicit, intended to facilitate an objective assessment of symptom presentations in a variety of clinical settings -- inpatient, outpatient, partial hospital, consultation-liaison, clinical, private practice, and primary care. New features and enhancements make DSM-5(R) easier to use across all settings:
 
- The chapter organization reflects a lifespan approach, with disorders typically diagnosed in childhood (such as neurodevelopmental disorders) at the beginning of the manual, and those more typical of older adults (such as neurocognitive disorders) placed at the end. Also included are age-related factors specific to diagnosis. - The latest findings in neuroimaging and genetics have been integrated into each disorder along with gender and cultural considerations.- The revised organizational structure recognizes symptoms that span multiple diagnostic categories, providing new clinical insight in diagnosis. - Specific criteria have been streamlined, consolidated, or clarified to be consistent with clinical practice (including the consolidation of autism disorder, Asperger's syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder into autism spectrum disorder; the streamlined classification of bipolar and depressive disorders; the restructuring of substance use disorders for consistency and clarity; and the enhanced specificity for major and mild neurocognitive disorders).- Dimensional assessments for research and validation of clinical results have been provided.- Both ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM codes are included for each disorder, and the organizational structure is consistent with the new ICD-11 in development.
 
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, is the most comprehensive, current, and critical resource for clinical practice available to today's mental health clinicians and researchers of all orientations. The information contained in the manual is also valuable to other physicians and health professionals, including psychologists, counselors, nurses, and occupational and rehabilitation therapists, as well as social workers and forensic and legal specialists.  
 
Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal
by Tom Shroder
 
It’s no secret that psychedelic drugs have the ability to cast light on the miraculous reality hidden within our psyche. Almost immediately after the discovery of LSD less than a hundred years ago, psychedelics began to play a crucial role in the quest to understand the link between mind and matter. With an uncanny ability to reveal the mind’s remote frontiers and the unmapped areas of human consciousness, LSD and MDMA (better known as Ecstasy) have proven extraordinarily effective in treating anxiety disorders such as PTSD—yet the drugs remain illegal for millions of people who might benefit from them.
 
Anchoring Tom Shroder’s Acid Test are the stories of Rick Doblin, the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), who has been fighting government prohibition of psychedelics for more than thirty years; Michael Mithoefer, a former emergency room physician, now a psychiatrist at the forefront of psychedelic therapy research; and his patient Nicholas Blackston, a former Marine who has suffered unfathomable mental anguish from the effects of brutal combat experiences in Iraq. All three men are passionate, relatable people; each flawed, each resilient, and each eccentric, yet very familiar and very human.
 
Acid Test covers the first heady years of experimentation in the fifties and sixties, through the backlash of the seventies and eighties, when the drug subculture exploded and uncontrolled use of street psychedelics led to a PR nightmare that created the drug stereotypes of the present day. Meticulously researched and astoundingly informative, this is at once a personal story of intertwining lives against an epic backdrop, and a compelling argument for the unprecedented healing properties of drugs that have for decades been characterized as dangerous, illicit substances. 
 
The Immortality Key: Uncovering the Secret History of the Religion with No Name
by Brian C. Muraresku
 
A groundbreaking, controversial dive into the role psychedelics have played in the human experience of the Divine throughout Western history, and the answer to a 2,000 year old mystery that could shake the Church to its foundations.
 
The Immortality Key connects the lost, psychedelic sacrament of Greek religion to early Christianity—exposing the true origins of Western Civilization. In the tradition of unsolved historical mysteries like David Grann's Killers of the Flower Moon and Douglas Preston's The Lost City of the Monkey God, Brian Muraresku’s 10-year investigation takes the reader through Greece, Germany, Spain, France and Italy, offering unprecedented access to the hidden archives of the Louvre and the Vatican along the way.
 
In The Immortality Key, Muraresku explores a little-known connection between the best-kept secret in Ancient Greece and Christianity. This is the real story of the most famous human being who ever lived (Jesus) and the biggest religion the world has ever known. Today, 2.4 billion people are Christian. That's one third of the planet. But do any of them really know how it all started?
 
Before Jerusalem, before Rome, before Mecca—there was Eleusis: the spiritual capital of the ancient world. It promised immortality to Plato and the rest of Athens's greatest minds with a very simple formula: drink this potion, see God. Shrouded in secrecy for millennia, the Ancient Greek sacrament was buried when the newly Christianized Roman Empire obliterated Eleusis in the fourth century AD.
 
Renegade scholars in the 1970s claimed the Greek potion was psychedelic, just like the original Christian Eucharist that replaced it. In recent years, vindication for the disgraced theory has been quietly mounting in the laboratory. The rapidly growing field of archaeological chemistry has proven the ancient use of visionary drugs. And with a single dose of psilocybin, the psycho-pharmacologists at Johns Hopkins and NYU are now turning self-proclaimed atheists into instant believers. No one has ever found hard, scientific evidence of drugs connected to Eleusis, let alone early Christianity. Until now.
 
Armed with key documents never before translated into English, convincing analysis, and a captivating spirit of quest, Muraresku mines science, classical literature, biblical scholarship and art to deliver the hidden key to eternal life, bringing us to what clinical psychologist William Richards calls "the edge of an awesomely vast frontier."

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