83 books like The Nature of Drugs

By Alexander Shulgin,

Here are 83 books that The Nature of Drugs fans have personally recommended if you like The Nature of Drugs. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Doors of Perception

Ran Barkai Author Of They Were Here Before Us: Stories from Our First Million Years

From my list on altered states of consciousness and shamanism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an archaeologist dealing with prehistoric societies for the last 30 years. For many hundreds of thousands of years, our ancestors worldwide practiced shamanism and altered states of consciousness. I think this is what makes us human and what allows the persistence and success of our genus. The more I learn about these two subjects, the more I understand their importance and relevance to us today. There is a lesson sent to us by past societies: Pay respect to the world. Respectful behavior is assisted by shamanism and altered states of consciousness. We can be better, feel better, and do better, and the books I recommended are the beginning of this wonderful way. 

Ran's book list on altered states of consciousness and shamanism

Ran Barkai Why did Ran love this book?

It just blows my mind any time I read it, the same way it did the first time. Huxley was way ahead of his time when he wrote this influential book, and he was one of the first prophets of the New Age and the Age of Consciousness.

I was deeply touched by his intimate descriptions of his own experiences with LSD and Mescaline and the way it opened his mind to understanding the complexities of our consciousness beyond our regular and daily way of perceiving the world.

One of my favorite rock bands, The Doors, is named after this book, and it gives me ultimate pleasure to listen to Jim Morrison while reading it. What an experience! 

By Aldous Huxley,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Doors of Perception as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover this profound account of Huxley's famous experimentation with mescalin that has influenced writers and artists for decades.

'Concise, evocative, wise and, above all, humane, The Doors of Perception is a masterpiece' Sunday Times

In 1953, in the presence of an investigator, Aldous Huxley took four-tenths of a gram of mescalin, sat down and waited to see what would happen. When he opened his eyes everything, from the flowers in a vase to the creases in his trousers, was transformed. Huxley described his experience with breathtaking immediacy in The Doors of Perception.

In its sequel Heaven and Hell, he goes…


Book cover of Inside the Mental: Silence, Stigma, Psychiatry, and LSD

Erika Dyck Author Of Psychedelic Psychiatry: LSD from Clinic to Campus

From my list on the history of psychedelics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been researching and writing about the history of psychedelics for two decades. I am a professor of History and Canada Research Chair in the History of Health and Social Justice at the University of Saskatchewan. I became utterly inspired by the many different psychedelic projects that fascinated researchers across disciplines, regions, and world views. These psychoactive substances have been fodder for deep studies of consciousness, dying, mysticism, rituals, birthing practices, drug policy, Indigenous rites, mental illness, nursing, how to measure and give meaning to experience… the list goes on. To study psychedelics is to surrender yourself to endless curiosity about why things are the way they seem to be. The books on this list are just the tip of the iceberg in a diverse conversation that is erupting on this topic. 

Erika's book list on the history of psychedelics

Erika Dyck Why did Erika love this book?

Kay Parley is a remarkable woman. Her book takes readers through her amazing life and the diverse experiences she encountered in an effort to make sense of her family history of psychiatric illness, her own institutionalization, and later her role as a psychiatric nurse and psychedelic guide. Against contemporary medical advice, Parley took LSD in Saskatchewan with Frances Huxley (Aldous’ nephew), and in this book, she explains how it gave her insights into her own excursions into madness and how to be a gentle guiding force for others who experienced disorientation, whether through illness or through mind-altering drugs.

By Kay Parley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inside the Mental as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A revelatory account of the importance that psychiatric treatment and research from the 1950s has for mental health today." Jean Freeman, author of Fists upon a Star Before she became a psychiatric nurse at "The Mental" in the 1950s, Kay Parley was a patient there, as were the father she barely remembered and the grandfather she'd never met. Part memoir, part history, and beautifully written, Inside The Mental offers an episodic journey into the stigma, horror, and redemption that she found within the institution's walls. Now in her nineties, Parley looks back at the emerging use of group therapy, the…


Book cover of Peyote: History, Tradition, Politics, and Conservation

Erika Dyck Author Of Psychedelic Psychiatry: LSD from Clinic to Campus

From my list on the history of psychedelics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been researching and writing about the history of psychedelics for two decades. I am a professor of History and Canada Research Chair in the History of Health and Social Justice at the University of Saskatchewan. I became utterly inspired by the many different psychedelic projects that fascinated researchers across disciplines, regions, and world views. These psychoactive substances have been fodder for deep studies of consciousness, dying, mysticism, rituals, birthing practices, drug policy, Indigenous rites, mental illness, nursing, how to measure and give meaning to experience… the list goes on. To study psychedelics is to surrender yourself to endless curiosity about why things are the way they seem to be. The books on this list are just the tip of the iceberg in a diverse conversation that is erupting on this topic. 

Erika's book list on the history of psychedelics

Erika Dyck Why did Erika love this book?

This editorial team has worked tirelessly to promote informed discussions about psychedelic plant medicines. Peyote is one of their many published books that takes seriously the need to consider issues of Indigenous reciprocity, gender inclusion, cultural context, and environmental sustainability in the world of psychedelics. Psychedelic justice is not simply about consuming plant medicines but involves a reciprocal set of relationships that honour a long and often disturbing history of cultural appropriation and psychedelic tourism.

By Beatriz Caiuby Labate (editor), Clancy Cavnar (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Peyote as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book explains the role that peyote-a hallucinogenic cactus-plays in the religious and spiritual fulfillment of certain peoples in the United States and Mexico, and examines pressing issues concerning the regulation and conservation of peyote as well as issues of indigenous and religious rights.

Why is mescaline-an internationally controlled substance derived from peyote-given exemptions for religious use by indigenous groups in Mexico, and by the pan-indigenous Native American Church in the United States and Canada? What are the intersections of peyote use, constitutional law, and religious freedom? And why are natural populations of peyote in decline-so much so that in…


Book cover of Neuropsychedelia: The Revival of Hallucinogen Research Since the Decade of the Brain

Marc Wittmann Author Of Altered States of Consciousness: Experiences Out of Time and Self

From my list on the frontier areas of time in psychology and physics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a research fellow at the Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health in Freiburg, Germany. I studied Psychology and Philosophy at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) and Munich (Germany) and have a Ph.D. in Medical Psychology from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Between 2004 and 2009 I was Research Fellow at the Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego. My research in the field of Cognitive Neuroscience is focused on the perception of time in ordinary and altered states of consciousness. The investigation concerning the riddle of subjective time as based on the embodied self leads me to answers of what matters most, the nature of our existence as self-conscious beings.

Marc's book list on the frontier areas of time in psychology and physics

Marc Wittmann Why did Marc love this book?

Anthropological fieldwork is not restricted to isolated indigenous people in remote areas. Anthropologists study scientists in university research labs. Langlitz did a remarkable feat: He immersed himself in the research activities of two laboratories studying psychedelic effects on humans and animals. Through this participation in everyday work, he delineated contextual sociological and psychological factors of what made it possible for researchers to be allowed to give healthy human subjects and patients with psychiatric problems mind-altering drugs in the lab and what motivates researchers to go into these frontier areas of research. LSD, psilocybin, and ayahuasca are studied again scientifically. What made that possible? Langlitz gives answers.

By Nicolas Langlitz,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Neuropsychedelia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Neuropsychedelia" examines the revival of psychedelic science since the "Decade of the Brain." After the breakdown of this previously prospering area of psychopharmacology, and in the wake of clashes between counterculture and establishment in the late 1960s, a new generation of hallucinogen researchers used the hype around the neurosciences in the 1990s to bring psychedelics back into the mainstream of science and society. This book is based on anthropological fieldwork and philosophical reflections on life and work in two laboratories that have played key roles in this development: a human lab in Switzerland and an animal lab in California. It…


Book cover of Psychiatry Under the Influence: Institutional Corruption, Social Injury, and Prescriptions for Reform

Peter A. Swenson Author Of Disorder: A History of Reform, Reaction, and Money in American Medicine

From my list on the entanglement of medicine, politics, and pharmaceuticals.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my younger days, as the son of a medical professor and a public health nurse, I was more interested in healing society than patients. But my political interests and research agenda as a professor of political science ultimately led back to medicine. I found that profit-maximizing market competition in health care failed miserably to promote value in therapeutics and economize on society’s scarce resources. I became aware of the neglect of public health to prevent disease for vulnerable groups in society and save money as well as lives. Pervasive and enduring economic conflicts of interest in the medical-industrial complex bear primary responsibility for severe deficits in quality, equality, and economy in American health care.

Peter's book list on the entanglement of medicine, politics, and pharmaceuticals

Peter A. Swenson Why did Peter love this book?

I was deeply impressed by how Psychiatry Under the Influence combines medical history, clinical knowledge, and investigative journalism about pervasive institutional conflicts of interest in medicine.

In Whitaker’s and Cosgrove’s case study of “institutional corruption” they trace the development over time of an alignment of the psychiatric profession’s “guild interests” in turf maximization and scientific legitimation with drug companies’ drive to market a widening array of drugs massively profitable drugs.

It is a fascinating illustration of the medicalization of life resulting from what I would call the “commercial construction of disease.”

Particularly eye-opening was the role of the American Psychiatric Association in constructing pseudo-scientific diagnostic categories of psychoses, panics, anxieties, depressive states, and the like for drug companies to capitalize on—and concealing, distorting, and fabricating research results that facilitate mass overprescribing of potentially harm-causing drugs.

By Robert Whitaker, Robert Whitaker, Lisa Cosgrove

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Psychiatry Under the Influence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Psychiatry Under the Influence investigates the actions and practices of the American Psychiatric Association and academic psychiatry in the United States, and presents it as a case study of institutional corruption.


Book cover of All That's Left to Say

E.A. Neeves Author Of After You Vanished

From my list on slowburn mysteries for young adults.

Why am I passionate about this?

Most people know the slowburn romance. A spark flickers at deliberate pace until finally passion ignites. But what about the slowburn mystery? As a reader and a writer, I’m drawn to mysteries that twine as a well-drawn character, usually an amateur sleuth, gets pulled into investigating some eerie event. These mysteries begin with a straightforward query, and as the sleuth digs, the mystery grows. The pace leaves room for well-developed subplots—often, in my favorites, a slowburn romance, too. I love a book where I can settle into the world while the story gathers steam. And in the end, when that slow flame finally blazes… Oh, it’s so worth the wait. 

E.A.'s book list on slowburn mysteries for young adults

E.A. Neeves Why did E.A. love this book?

In All That’s Left To Say, dual timelines braid threads of a mystery together in a way that allowed me to contrast Hannah then and now and wonder not just about the mystery Hannah’s trying to solve, but about how she became the master sleuth she thinks she needs to be to get answers.

This contrast, as much as the mystery, drew me into the story and had me turning pages every time we jumped between past and present. Of course, the enemies-to-friends-to-lovers romance also helped. How Lord imbued a single tie-straightening scene with more sexual tension than most kissing scenes might be the biggest mystery in this book.

By Emery Lord,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All That's Left to Say as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Hannah MacLaren has grown up between two worlds: scraping by happily with her single, working mum and avoiding the Maryland upper crust in the next town over, where her wealthy cousin and best friend Sophie lives. The plan is to get out: Hannah from paycheck-to-paycheck life, and Sophie from the cosseted world she doesn't fit into.

But just before junior year begins, something goes horribly wrong. Sophie overdoses at a party, leaving behind a shocked community and bereft best friends. As the haze of grief begins to clear, Hannah teams up with Sophie's other best friend, Gabi, to find out…


Book cover of The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It

Peter A. Swenson Author Of Disorder: A History of Reform, Reaction, and Money in American Medicine

From my list on the entanglement of medicine, politics, and pharmaceuticals.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my younger days, as the son of a medical professor and a public health nurse, I was more interested in healing society than patients. But my political interests and research agenda as a professor of political science ultimately led back to medicine. I found that profit-maximizing market competition in health care failed miserably to promote value in therapeutics and economize on society’s scarce resources. I became aware of the neglect of public health to prevent disease for vulnerable groups in society and save money as well as lives. Pervasive and enduring economic conflicts of interest in the medical-industrial complex bear primary responsibility for severe deficits in quality, equality, and economy in American health care.

Peter's book list on the entanglement of medicine, politics, and pharmaceuticals

Peter A. Swenson Why did Peter love this book?

I find Angell’s The Truth About the Drug Companies extremely valuable for teaching students about how the pharmaceutical industry translates high profits into power resources to protect and increase those profits over time.

The former New England Journal of Medicine editor exposed how drug companies enlist politicians, the FDA, and medical academia for their cause. And armies of lawyers to extend monopoly marketing rights for years.

It was my first introduction to how they spend more on marketing than research, much of that on “copy-cat” drugs of dubious superiority to ones with expired patents.

As a tax (and high drug price) payer, I was disturbed to learn how they use government funds for basic research and then rig and spin their reporting of clinical studies to inflate their products’ therapeutic value and underplay their risks. 

By Marcia Angell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Truth About the Drug Companies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During her two decades at The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Marcia Angell had a front-row seat on the appalling spectacle of the pharmaceutical industry. She watched drug companies stray from their original mission of discovering and manufacturing useful drugs and instead become vast marketing machines with unprecedented control over their own fortunes. She saw them gain nearly limitless influence over medical research, education, and how doctors do their jobs. She sympathized as the American public, particularly the elderly, struggled and increasingly failed to meet spiraling prescription drug prices. Now, in this bold, hard-hitting new book, Dr. Angell exposes…


Book cover of Six of Crows

Laura R. Samotin Author Of The Sins On Their Bones

From my list on queer family fantasy give you the feels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a trope-obsessed author who counts found family among her favorite Ao3 tags. I cannot get enough of books which read like fanfiction, and I’ll recommend my favorites every chance I get. I also do my part to put more queer found family books into the world—my debut adult fantasy The Sins On Their Bones is being published by Random House Canada in May 2024. When I’m not writing, I’m a full-time servant to my two enormous cats. 

Laura's book list on queer family fantasy give you the feels

Laura R. Samotin Why did Laura love this book?

No list of queer-found family fantasies would be complete without mentioning the Dregs. Leigh Bardugo’s book, set in a gritty city called Ketterdam, is the first book that made me fall in love with a found family.

If I could join any fantasy-found family, it would be this one. If you’ve ever wanted to join the ultimate heist crew, you’ve got to read Six of Crows.

By Leigh Bardugo,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked Six of Crows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

*See the Grishaverse come to life on screen with Shadow and Bone, now a Netflix original series.*

Nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017, this fantasy epic from the No. 1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of the Grisha trilogy is gripping, sweeping and memorable - perfect for fans of George R. R. Martin, Laini Taylor and Kristin Cashore.

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams - but he can't pull it off alone.

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk…


Book cover of Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients

Philip Mirowski Author Of The Knowledge We Have Lost in Information: The History of Information in Modern Economics

From my list on the politics of science.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an economist who came to realize that the marketplace of ideas was a political doctrine, and not an empirical description of how we came to know what we think we know. Science has never functioned in the same manner across centuries; it was only during my lifetime that it became recast as a subset of market reality. I have spent a fair amount of effort exploring how economics sought to attain the status of a science; but now the tables have turned. It is now scientists who are trained to become first and foremost market actors, finally elevating the political dominance of the economists.

Philip's book list on the politics of science

Philip Mirowski Why did Philip love this book?

A best-seller in the UK, it never garnered the attention it deserved in the US. As a trained physician, Goldacre explains why doctors cannot trust the information concerning prescription drugs that is made available to them, and why this should concern every patient. The incentives motivating drug regulators constitute a big part of the problem, but the actual conduct of clinical trials comes in for intensive scrutiny as well. The rigors of double-blinded trials are useless if owners of the data can hide whatever outcomes they don’t like. His chapter on how to bend a clinical trial has become a classic.

By Ben Goldacre,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bad Pharma as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Smart, funny, clear, unflinching: Ben Goldacre is my hero." ―Mary Roach, author of Stiff, Spook, and Bonk

We like to imagine that medicine is based on evidence and the results of fair testing and clinical trials. In reality, those tests and trials are often profoundly flawed. We like to imagine that doctors who write prescriptions for everything from antidepressants to cancer drugs to heart medication are familiar with the research literature about these drugs, when in reality much of the research is hidden from them by drug companies. We like to imagine that doctors are impartially educated, when in reality…


Book cover of The Ruin

J. Woollcott Author Of A Nice Place to Die: A DS Ryan McBride Novel

From my list on Irish murder mysteries with great settings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Canadian writer born in Northern Ireland. My first book, A Nice Place to Die, introduced Northern Ireland detective DS Ryan McBride. In 2019, A Nice Place to Die won the RWA Daphne du Maurier Award for Mainstream Mystery and Suspense, was shortlisted in the Crime Writers of Canada Awards in 2021, and was a 2023 Silver Falchion Award finalist. As for my choices, each of these fabulous, atmospheric mysteries has richly drawn settings inhabited by characters the reader comes to care deeply about. This brings a book alive for me — each has a wonderful, compelling cast of characters and a clever, complex plot.

J.'s book list on Irish murder mysteries with great settings

J. Woollcott Why did J. love this book?

This is the first of Dervla’s Detective Cormac Reilly books - and what a wonderful start to a new series.

Here is a book as dark and unpredictable as the early spring weather in Galway. Cormac springs to life, fully formed as a complex, honest policeman, uncompromising and determined to solve a case that has re-emerged after haunting him for over twenty years.

Back then he rescued a little boy and his sister from terrible squalor and abuse. Now grown up, that boy has apparently committed suicide and his missing sister has returned claiming he was murdered and accusing the police of a cover up.

Add to this, Cormac’s own problems with a new posting in Galway, a hostile squad of detectives and a relationship he’s frantically trying to hold on to. A wonderful, complex, engrossing book.

By Dervla McTiernan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ruin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's been twenty years since Cormac Reilly discovered the body of Hilaria Blake in her crumbling Georgian home. But he's never forgotten the two children she left behind...

When Aisling Conroy's boyfriend Jack is found in the freezing black waters of the river Corrib, the police tell her it was suicide. A surgical resident, she throws herself into study and work, trying to forget--until Jack's sister Maude shows up. Maude suspects foul play, and she is determined to prove it.

Cormac Reilly is the detective assigned with the re-investigation of a seemingly accidental overdose twenty years ago--the overdose of Jack…


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