The common ancestors we share with molluscs like octopuses lived eons ago. So in some ways they are so different from us that learning more about them can be fascinating. And yet, life found some tools so valuable that they were developed by both us and them in parallel. In The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness, Sy Montgomery explores this world of differences and similarities between us and the octopus.
Her interactions with octopuses are not limited to the written word, however. Montgomery has spent countless hours interacting with (and befriending, if you can believe it!) octopuses, and she shares these experiences with us. I knew very little about how these creatures think/work coming into this book, but I now realize that they appear to be fully conscious, just like us. And perhaps all animals are, even those without centralized brains!
Animals lovers will love The Soul of an Octopus. Animal non-lovers like me may still find a lot of it interesting, though they may not make it to the end. After all, every book has an opportunity cost!