Entangled Life: a book review

My five-year-old granddaughter has a fresh, inquisitive mind that would make Socrates proud. I struggle to answer questions like, “How far does the sky go?” or “Why will we die and what happens then?” Much to my relief, there’s a book that explains in a careful and wondrous way how all life is interconnected; Entangled Life provides a reassuring vision of our place in the complexity of the universe. The author—with the wizardly name of Merlin Sheldrake—has a background in plant sciences, microbiology, ecology, and the history and philosophy of science. The book’s subtitle, “How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures,” gives some idea of where you will head when you plunge into Sheldrake’s world. What’s fungi got to do with it, you may ask? That’s the fascination of the book. His fungi-driven “wood wide web” is much more fascinating than the World Wide Web and without the dire consequences. After reading this book, I tell my granddaughter, “We come from the stars and will return to the stars.” She understands, but I know she’s thinking, “But where do the stars come from?” That’s an ongoing mystery that even Sheldrake has not solved.
—Tom Miller, co-founder of Green Cities Fund