The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy MontgomeryA surprisingly moving exploration of octopuses, their personalities, and how much of their behaviour can be related to the human condition.

The Soul of an Octopus was one of my favourite books of 2015. And yes, it is about an octopus. That eight-legged squiggly animal that lives under the sea, squirts ink and is also a character in the Wiggles. Did you know that octopuses are highly intelligent, have well-developed personalities, and have been known to use trickery to get what they want? And did you know that the plural of octopus isn’t octopi? (I didn’t!)

Author Sy Montgomery spent what seems like years making friends with octopuses of various breeds and sizes, exploring their lives, how they think, and their connections with each other. While it seems like an unusual undertaking, it’s surprising how much insight can be gained from the journey to understanding. This was fascinating reading.

I would highly recommend this for anyone looking for something that might make you think, or give you the feels, or even if you just can’t believe that someone can write a whole book about octopuses that can create such a stir.

Content advisory: Tentacles, but no porn.

You can read an extract of the book here. Published by Simon & Schuster.

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Wandergurl is a sometime traveller who spends her daylight hours making sure that things go the way they're supposed to with minimum bureaucracy (don't ask!). A firm believer that thirty is the new twenty, she will probably never look her age (or act it!). An enthusiastic football supporter (that would be soccer to you) she will get up at odd hours to watch a game, and of course it's not just because the players are hot. She loves history, geography and is pretty good at trivia, thanks to her propensity to remember random bits of celebrity gossip. When not reading or travelling, she can be found indulging in her other passion -- eating -- and can be found at Wake up and smell the coffee.


  1. azteclady says:

    The author’s voice is, indeed, incredibly engaging. I read the sample good sized available at amazon, and then found the article in Orion that was the basis (perhaps, ‘inspiration’ is a better term), for this book.

    Unfortunately, I’ll have to look for this on sale, as it’s well outside my current book budget (which is pretty much non-existent).

  2. Kat says:

    It’s amazing how great storytelling can be the vehicle for learning about random things. (And even more amazing how many utterly dull textbooks are used for teaching!)

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