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

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Simon & Schuster, Limited, May 21, 2015 - Animal communication - 272 pages
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In 2011 Sy Montgomery wrote a feature for Orion magazine entitled 'Deep Intellect' about her friendship with a sensitive, sweet-natured octopus named Athena and the grief she felt at her death. It went viral, indicating the widespread fascination with these mysterious, almost alien-like creatures. Since then Sy has practised 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 beingknowanything? 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 colour-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.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - et.carole - LibraryThing

"The Soul" is a charming behind-the-scenes look at the recent octopuses who have lived at the New England Aquarium. Montgomery's attempts at self-examination paled in comparison to her descriptions of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - phoenixcomet - LibraryThing

Having recently watched part of My Octopus Teacher, I passed by the book The Soul of an Octopus in the library and grabbed it to read. Showing how octopus have intelligence and understanding albeit so ... Read full review

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About the author (2015)

Sy Montgomery was born on February 7, 1958 in Frankfurt, Germany. She is a 1979 graduate of Syracuse University, a triple major with dual degrees in Magazine Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and in French Language and Literature and in Psychology from the College of Arts and Sciences. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Keene State College in 2004, and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Franklin Pierce University and also from Southern New Hampshire University in 2011. Montgomery is a naturalist. She is an author, and scriptwriter. Her most popular book, The Good Good Pig, is a memoir of her life with her pig, Christopher Hogwood. The book became listed on the New York Times bestseller list in 2015. How to be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals was published in September 2018. Her other notable titles include Journey of the Pink Dolphins, Spell of the Tiger, and Search for the Golden Moon Bear.

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