Michael Pollan: TOP TEN BOOKS


Photo by Ken Light

Author, journalist, and activist, Pollan has become a scourge of agribusiness, particularly with his books, The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifestio. In both books, he offers a manifesto for rethinking our relationship to food, predicated on a better understanding of where it comes from, and how it’s made.

Below are Michael Pollan’s favorite books, available to purchase as a set or individually.



Henry David Thoreau
For its bracing prose as much as anything else. I’ve been arguing with Thoreau for most of my career. When he abandoned his beanfield because he couldn’t stand making “invidious distinctions” between his beans and the weeds, he gave up on agriculture and opted for wilderness—a tremendous mistake in my view.
Add to cart

The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sentence by sentence, some of the most stimulating thoughts anywhere.
Add to cart

The Gift of Good Land: Further Essays Cultural and Agricultural

Wendell Berry
I’ve learned more from Berry than anyone else about how best to engage with nature, and how to write a sturdy and pleasing English sentence.
Add to cart

The Jungle

Upton Sinclair
A powerful piece of journalism disguised as a novel.
Add to cart

Changes in the Land

William Cronon
Taught me how to look at a landscape and see not just nature but history as well.
Add to cart

Sexual Personae

Camille Paglia
A crazy and brilliant survey of western literature.
Add to cart

On Drugs

David Lenson
Little known, but the smartest book on drugs I know of.
Add to cart

Paper Lion

George Plimpton
In retrospect, this beautifully written and hilarious narrative made me a journalist—or at least, one who put himself in the story in order to see it fresh and build a narrative.
Add to cart

Liberty Under Siege

Walter Karp
The most original observer American politics in the second half of the 20th century.
Add to cart

The Odyssey

.. And not just because there are so many great barbecue scenes. (Henry Fielding called The Odyssey's "Homer's wonderful book about eating," and wasn't too far off.) But there's lots to be learn about story structure too, and why it's often a good idea to begin in the middle.  
Add to cart