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July 8, 2021 @ 8:00 pm

This is Your Mind on Plants: A Virtual Evening with Michael Pollan & Alix Spiegel


July 8, 2021
8:00 pm

An Evening with Michael Pollan

In conversation with Alix Spiegel


This is Your Mind on Plants

(Penguin Press, $28)

Thursday, July 8, 8pm ET | Live on Zoom



This event is presented in partnership with our friends at Politics & Prose, Community Bookstore, and Harvard Bookstore.

*Special signed bookplates are available for event attendees (while supplies last!)

About the Book:

Of all the things humans rely on plants for—sustenance, beauty, medicine, fragrance, flavor, fiber—surely the most curious is our use of them to change consciousness: to stimulate or calm, fiddle with or completely alter, the qualities of our mental experience. Take coffee and tea: People around the world rely on caffeine to sharpen their minds. But we do not usually think of caffeine as a drug, or our daily use as an addiction, because it is legal and socially acceptable. So, then, what is a “drug”? And why, for example, is making tea from the leaves of a tea plant acceptable, but making tea from a seed head of an opium poppy a federal crime?

In This Is Your Mind on Plants, Michael Pollan dives deep into three plant drugs—opium, caffeine, and mescaline—and throws the fundamental strangeness, and arbitrariness, of our thinking about them into sharp relief. Exploring and participating in the cultures that have grown up around these drugs while consuming (or, in the case of caffeine, trying not to consume) them, Pollan reckons with the powerful human attraction to psychoactive plants. Why do we go to such great lengths to seek these shifts in consciousness, and then why do we fence that universal desire with laws and customs and fraught feelings?

In this unique blend of history, science, and memoir, as well as participatory journalism, Pollan examines and experiences these plants from several very different angles and contexts, and shines a fresh light on a subject that is all too often treated reductively–as a drug, whether licit or illicit. But that is one of the least interesting things you can say about these plants, Pollan shows, for when we take them into our bodies and let them change our minds, we are engaging with nature in one of the most profound ways we can. Based in part on an essay published almost twenty-five years ago, this groundbreaking and singular consideration of psychoactive plants, and our attraction to them through time, holds up a mirror to our fundamental human needs and aspirations, the operations of our minds, and our entanglement with the natural world.

About the Author:

Michael Pollan is the author of eight books, including How to Change Your Mind, Cooked, Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and The Botany of Desire, all of which were New York Times bestsellers. He is also the author of the audio book Caffeine: How Coffee and Tea Made the Modern World. A longtime contributor to The New York Times Magazine, Pollan teaches writing at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley. In 2010, Time magazine named him one of the one hundred most influential people in the world.

About the Moderator:

Alix Spiegel was one of the founding producers of the public radio show This American Life, and went on to co-found the hit NPR show and podcast Invisibilia – a program about human behavior. Spiegel worked as a science reporter for NPR News for nine years, her writing has also appeared in the New Yorker and the New York Times.

Once you have registered on Eventbrite, you will receive an email from us approximately 24 hours before the event starts with a unique link for you to stream.

Ticket Guidelines:

Tier 1: GA ($28 + tax, fees and U.S. shipping): The purchase of this ticket admits (1) one person into the virtual event and includes (1) one copy of This is Your Mind on Plants (Penguin Press, $28 USD + tax, fee and shipping). Please note that a fee of $6 is included for U.S. domestic shipping of the book.


Tier 2: International GA ($28 + tax, fees and shipping): The purchase of this ticket admits (1) one person into the virtual event and includes (1) one copy of This is Your Mind on Plants (Penguin Press, $28 USD + tax, fee and shipping). Please note that a fee of $6 is included for U.S. domestic shipping of the book.

**Please Note: This option includes a flat rate international shipping fee of $25 USD for all overseas orders. Due to the pandemic, delivery timelines will vary. Please be advised that we cannot guarantee when you will receive the book, and we thank you for your understanding.


When completing your order, please make sure that you include your complete shipping address and phone number. The book will be shipped to you following the event.

Please note: Due to the pandemic the post office is being challenged by increased volume, staffing issues, and safety measures. We cannot guarantee the exact date of delivery but will do our best to make it as swift as possible.


If you have any questions, please reach out to [email protected] or call (305) 786-554-1764. Thank you for joining us!