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Merlin Sheldrake Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Entangled Life (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Merlin Sheldrake is a speaker, writer, and biologist with a background in ecology, microbiology, plant sciences, philosophy, and history of science.

He went to Cambridge University for his tropical ecology doctorate. He got the degree studying underground fungal networks in Panamanian tropical forests, as a Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute predoctoral research fellow.
Sheldrake is also employed at the Vrije University Amsterdam as a research associate. He sometimes sits on the “Fungi Foundations” advisory board and from time to time, he collaborates with the “Society for the Protection of Underground Networks.”
Sheldrake’s research ranges from the relationship between form and sound in resonant systems, and the history of Amazonian ethnobotany to fungal biology.

As a keen fermenter and brewer, he has always found a fascination with the relationships arising between humans and other organisms.

He published his international bestseller that made his name titled “Entangled Life” in 2020. The work would get a nomination for the 2021 Rathbones Folio Prize, and the Narrative Non-Fiction Prize by the British Book Awards.
The book was also a Book of the Year by the likes of Time, The Times, New Statesman, Sunday Times, and the Daily Telegraph among many other publications.

It was also on “Book of the Week” on Radio 4 and has over the years been translated into at least twenty languages.

Merlin is also a performer and musician who plays the accordion and the piano.

Like many people, Merlin Sheldrake’s fascination with plants and living organisms began when he was still very young.

As a kid, he loved taking garbage into the compost heap and loved how it would then turn into soil ready to be spread in the garden. He was fascinated by how leaves could become soil and how blocks of wood slowly decomposed over time to make soil.
One time, his father came up with an experiment in which they cut off the top of a plastic bottle. They would then put into the bottle layers of dead leaves, sand, and soil and then throw in some earthworms.

From the side of the bottle, he could see the layers that started out being very distinct before they started losing the sharp edges. Slowly, he started seeing them starting to blend and mix to become one.

His father explained that the process of blending and mixing was done by worms, even though there were many creatures in the bottle much smaller than worms, which were also very much involved in transforming the mixture.

When he went to college, he studied microbial and plant sciences. Later on, he took a master’s degree in the philosophy of science and history where he concentrated on the study of the relationships between plants and humans in Amazonian ethnobotany.
Even though he had taken a detour into the humanities, Merlin got back to the sciences as he worked in Panamanian tropical forests, researching the ecology of mycorrhizal fungi for his Ph.D.

According to Merlin Sheldrake, there has always been a strange disciplinary barrier between the humanities and the sciences, which he always found artificial and frustrating.

As such, he has tried to find places where this barrier has become more porous so that he can pierce through it. It is from this motivation that he decided to study both the sciences and the humanities.

The motivation for his debut novel came from what he learned in school. There, he learned of the symbiotic relations between plants and mycorrhizal fungi that is sometimes referred to as the “Wood Wide Web.”

It was the fungi that made it possible for plant ancestors to move onto land from the freshwater about 500 million years ago. At school, he learned that plants were more like autonomous individuals even if they came from a complex tangle of relationships.
The mycorrhizal fungi that he loved to study were more ancient than roots, wood, flowers, and leaves. He got to learn that what we normally refer to as plants are nothing more than algae that have over many years become farm fungi.

It is this ancient relationship between algae, fungi, and plants that is the basis of most of the food chains that make possible all life forms on land.

“Entangled Life” came from the many questions he had about the organisms and the intimate relationship they had. It also came from his sense of vertigo when he realized that there was only a tiny part of this kingdom we understand.

“Entangled Life” by Merlin Sheldrake is an interesting work of fiction that looks at a lifeform so wondrous and strange that it makes us rethink how life works.

Neither animal nor plant, fungi is present in our bodies, the air we breathe and throughout the earth.

While it is sometimes microscopic, it has also been one of the largest organisms to ever live, weighing in at tens of thousands of tons and living for thousands of years.
It made life possible by its ability to digest rock and maybe its ability to thrive in nuclear radiation and live in space may open new frontiers.

It is a captivating adventure in which Merlin explores the neglected but spectacular world of fungi.

These are organisms that are capable of solving problems without a brain and in doing so, manipulate animal behavior and stretch the traditional definitions of intelligence.
Fungi have given us life-saving medicines, alcohol, and bread and shaped human history with their many psychedelic properties.

They have been used since antiquity and in recent times have been found to be effective in combating several mental illnesses.

Fungi can also digest crude oil, plastic, pesticides, and explosives, which means they are now being used in coming up with cutting-edge technologies that are daily transforming how we live and understand ecosystems.
Nonetheless, fungi tend to live out of sight for the most part and more than ninety percent of fungi species are yet to be documented.

It is a mind-altering journey into a very interesting kingdom that shows how fundamental fungi are to life on the planet including how we behave, feel, and think, and even how we live.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Merlin Sheldrake

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