What would an alchemist read? Our team's book recommendations

What would an alchemist read? Our team's book recommendations

It's World Book Day every day at Three Spirit HQ - our library is a treasure-trove to discover the weird and the wonderful. 

With an extended family of plant scientists, amazing bartenders, flavour experts, and professors, and a lab full of amazing ingredients, it's no surprise that we have accumulated an amazing collection of books over the years 📚

To celebrate Book Day, we asked our team of alchemists and founders to pick a book they’d recommend. Here’s a sneak peak… 

people wellbeing

Robin Honhold, Drinks Creative 

Silo: The Zero Waste Blueprint: A Food System for the Future
By Douglas McMaster

Silo: The Zero Waste Blueprint by Douglas McMaster · Readings.com.au

“A book for anyone who is curious about the deep, personal sacrifices it takes to be a chef and particularly one who follows a principled approach to eating only what it is naturally good for you and the world, and for a really focused view on just how little you know about what you eat and the damage it can do.

Plus some tasty-ass recipes that do away with the moralistic and virtuous skillset over deliciousness that makes so much 'ethical' food taste crap. It doesn't have to be that way.”

Infused: Adventures in Tea
By Henrietta Lovell 

“A book about travel, people, places and how much effort and love goes into producing the world's best teas by our resident tea expert, Henrietta Lovell. An eye-opening read and you'll never think about tea the same way again.

Maybe it will inspire you to look for the value and the story behind the ingredients that we all take for granted? Right down to the simplest thing like a cup of tea.”

Geyan Surendran, Pharmaceutical Scientist & Distiller 

Taste Buds and Molecules: The Art and Science of Food, Wine, and Flavor
By Francois Chartier

“A brilliant introduction to why flavours and scents go together, going into the food chemistry of it all without being overwhelming even for people with no science background.

Really helpful for any adventurous home chefs or bartenders (and even pros), looking for simple but left-field combos - and just as good for people who just want to know what to drink with what foods. For example, did you know that aubergines and chocolates pair perfectly?”

Dash Lilley, Co-founder & Botanical Alchemist 

Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing 
By Robert Wolff 

“An amazing insight into the work and adventures of Robert Wolff who is one of the few western psychologists to befriend and observe some of the world's most ancient and isolated indigenous peoples. By truly respecting and learning from the aboriginal Sng’oi of Malaysia, Wolff provides a window into our deep past as human beings. He uncovers, discovers, experiences and shares life changing breakthroughs of perspective of what it means to be human.

Essentially we underestimate our own power, our own intuition and understanding of the natural world. We have become so detached as modern humans that we have forgotten almost all that matters. This book will shake your soul and re-wire your feelings toward your species, hopefully inspiring a more positive outlook where less is required to obtain more.

Much more than a document of a disappearing people, Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing holds a mirror to our own existence, allowing us to see how far we have wandered from the ways of the intuitive and trusting Sng'oi, and challenges us, in our fragmented world, to rediscover this humanity within ourselves.

You should read this if you are into adventure, sociology, physiology, growth, nature, languages, joy!”

This Is Your Mind On Plants
By Michael Pollan

This is your mind on plants - Michael Pollan | Three Spirit recommends for World Book Day

“A wonderful trilogy of journeys with Michael Pollen as he explores three very different plants that have changed the world and our minds.He looks at the backward policies around growing common poppies in the USA, a hangover from the disastrous war against drugs. Would he be arrested for growing this pretty flower? What are the effects and methods for making a sedative poppy tea? Does he dare try?? Or is this classified as opioid production…Then we go deep into the most widely used drug on the planet, caffeine. Coffee and tea are the plants of interest here and it's amazing how much influence this duo have had on human history and our mental state as a species.Lastly get ready for the cactus kingdom and the unique properties of Peyote and San Pedro. Mescaline is the active alkaloid but this is a story really about cultural appropriation. What is the right way to experiment with this plant medicine without encroaching on indigenous peoples lives, cultures and beliefs.”

Tristan Stephenson, Bartender & Writer

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Future
By Merlin Sheldrake

“This book is a superb adventure into the mystical world of mycology (the study of fungi), which, at times reads more like a fantasy novel such is the extraordinary nature of the hidden world beneath our feet. It’s difficult to overstate the various ways in which fungi weave through our lives and shape the planet we live on. Indeed, the reader is left with the epiphany that this is their planet, not ours. Merlin Sheldrake perfectly balances information with poetically beautiful prose.” 

The History of the World in Six Glasses
By Tom Standage


“The book that got me hooked on drinks history takes certain liberties with historical fact, but I can forgive Tom Standage for this on account of his wit and enthusiasm for both history and drink. A real page turner, this is 'Sapiens' for anyone who likes a drink and who would like to learn more about how our history is embodied in the things we drink: beer, wine, tea, coffee, spirits, coke.”

Meeta Gournay, Co-founder 

The Ride of a Lifetime: A Memoir of Written by Former CEO Bob Iger
By Bob Iger

“So many books about business can be boring, but this is so interesting and such a fun read.  Learning more about Bob’s background and how he came to Disney was fascinating. How he came from a non creative background and managed to turn Disney into the amazing creative/content powerhouse it is today with its acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. Despite the hurdles the business and he himself had to go through and yet how he never went low or negative, always seemed to be a great leader and colleague, despite the intense stress he undoubtedly was under.”

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art
By James Nestor

Breath by James Nestor

I loved the book 'Breath' by James Nestor. It's amazing to know that when we say take a deep breath to calm down what we really should be doing is taking a small breath in, holding our breath, and breathing out much more. It's the 4/7/8 technique (breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 7, breath out for 8 - a pattern you can do only 4 times and it works!) My kids and I use it all the time when a bit stressed and to help fall asleep. We really should be saying take a deep breath out!”

Tatiana Mercer, Co-founder

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
By Phil Knight

“Nike fan or not this book is an amazing story and tells you the story of how Phil Knight created the largest shoe company in the world.

If you have your own business, or want to start your own, read this, it will turn you off, dare you to dream, and remind you to persevere however bad it seems. Read it before the movie comes out.”

Skincare: The Ultimate No-Nonsense Guide
By Caroline Hirons 

“Informative, honest, and a bible for any skincare geek like me. Possibly a less highbrow choice than some of my team's, but as our biggest organ, it's one to understand and take good care of.”

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