The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews


Sy Montgomery introduces us to one of the most alien creatures we could ever hope to meet, and helps us to fall in love. She immerses you in the aquarium worlds of Athena and Kali, two of the octopuses (yes, that's the plural!) she meets, and the wild worlds of their cousins. The stories of these creatures, as well as the amazing people who love them, might make you want to meet an octopus, take its tentacle in hand, and gaze into its eyes. Even if you find octopuses frightening or repulsive, Sy Montgomery and her colorful companions will gently but inexorably change your mind.

— Sue

Description


Finalist for the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction

New York Times Bestseller

"Sy Montgomery's The Soul of an Octopus does for the creature what Helen Macdonald's H Is for Hawk did for raptors." --New Statesman, UK

Starred Booklist and Library Journal Editors' Spring Pick

"One of the best science books of the year" --Science Friday, NPR

A Huffington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of the Year

One of the Best Books of the Month on Goodreads

Library Journal Best Sci-Tech Book of 2015

An American Library Association Notable Book of the Year

In this astonishing book from the author of the bestselling memoir The Good Good Pig, Sy Montgomery explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus--a surprisingly complex, intelligent, and spirited creature--and the remarkable connections it makes with humans.

Sy Montgomery's popular 2011 Orion magazine piece, "Deep Intellect," about her friendship with a sensitive, sweet-natured octopus named Athena and the grief she felt at her death, went viral, indicating the widespread fascination with these mysterious, almost alien-like creatures. Since then Sy has practiced true immersion journalism, from New England aquarium tanks to the reefs of French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico, pursuing these wild, solitary shape-shifters. Octopuses have varied personalities and intelligence they show in myriad ways: endless trickery to escape enclosures and get food; jetting water playfully to bounce objects like balls; and evading caretakers by using a scoop net as a trampoline and running around the floor on eight arms. But with a beak like a parrot, venom like a snake, and a tongue covered with teeth, how can such a being know anything? And what sort of thoughts could it think?

The intelligence of dogs, birds, and chimpanzees was only recently accepted by scientists, who now are establishing the intelligence of the octopus, watching them solve problems and deciphering the meaning of their color-changing camouflage techniques. Montgomery chronicles this growing appreciation of the octopus, but also tells a love story. By turns funny, entertaining, touching, and profound, The Soul of an Octopus reveals what octopuses can teach us about consciousness and the meeting of two very different minds.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781451697711
ISBN-10: 1451697716
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: May 12th, 2015
Pages: 272
Language: English