The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness

October 31, 2020
The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness

Finalist for the National Book Award forNonfictionNew York TimesBestseller"Sy Montgomery's The Soul of an Octopus doesfor the creature what Helen Macdonald's H Is for Hawk didfor raptors." —New Statesman, UKStarred Booklist and Library JournalEditors' Spring Pick"One of the best science books of the year" —ScienceFriday, NPRA Huffington Post Notable Nonfiction Book ofthe YearOne of the Best Books of the Month onGoodreadsLibrary Journal Best Sci-TechBook of 2015An American Library Association Notable Book of theYearAnother New York Times bestseller from the author ofThe Good Good Pig, this"fascinating...touching...informative...entertaining" (DailyBeast) book explores the emotional and physical world of theoctopus—a surprisingly complex, intelligent, and spiritedcreature—and the remarkable connections it makes with humans.In pursuit of the wild, solitary, predatory octopus, popularnaturalist Sy Montgomery has practiced true immersion journalism.From New England aquarium tanks to the reefs of French Polynesiaand the Gulf of Mexico, she has befriended octopuses withstrikingly different personalities—gentle Athena, assertiveOctavia, curious Kali, and joyful Karma. Each creature shows hercleverness in myriad ways: escaping enclosures like an orangutan;jetting water to bounce balls; and endlessly tricking companionswith multiple "sleights of hand" to get food.Scientists have only recently accepted the intelligence of dogs,birds, and chimpanzees but now are watching octopuses solveproblems and are trying to decipher the meaning of the animal'scolor-changing techniques. With her "joyful passion for theseintelligent and fascinating creatures" (Library JournalEditors' Spring Pick), Montgomery chronicles the growingappreciation of this mollusk as she tells a unique love story. Byturns funny, entertaining, touching, and profound, The Soul ofan Octopus reveals what octopuses can teach us about themeeting of two very different minds.