I have learned more about fungi from Paul Stamets‘s book Mycelium Running (Amazon.com link) than any other resource. While other books on mushrooms are often great field guides for identifying individual species, Stamets’s book has helped me to understand the ecology and relationships of mushrooms. I still have a long way to go, but I feel like I understand the basics after years of being ignorant.
Along with the education provided on the topic, Stamets also provides insight into his journey and where he is today. Like many successful people, it wasn’t a straight path; there were disappointments along the way.
Over the years, I have learned the value of attempting that which seems unlikely to succeed. Several times, I thought I had failed only to have the mycelium surge and fruit later. My failures oftentimes become my successes. But with every “failure,” if I have paid attention, I hone my skills and sensitivity to the mycelium’s needs. Hence, another of my mottos: Every failure is the price of tuition I have paid to learn a new lesson.
– Paul Stamets, from Mycelium Running, p. 122.
This quotation jumped out at me the first time I read the book. I have attempted several things that were unlikely to succeed over the years. Some succeeded, some didn’t, but I wouldn’t label any of them a failure. The last line above really resonates with me; Every failure is the price of tuition I have paid to learn a new lesson.