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Friday, August 7, 2020

Audible Book Review: Caffeine by Michael Pollan

This is fascinating, quick history about coffee.
Caffeine How Caffeine Created the Modern World
By: Michael Pollan
Narrated by: Michael Pollan

Caffeine audiobook cover art
Length: 2 hrs and 2 mins
Original Recording Audiobook
Release date: 01-30-20
Language: English
Publisher: Audible Originals
Categories: Home & Garden, Food & Wine
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0 Overall; Story 4.5; Narration 4.5.

Michael Pollan, known for his best-selling nonfiction audio, including The Omnivores Dilemma and How to Change Your Mind, conceived and wrote Caffeine: How Caffeine Created the Modern World as an Audible Original. In this controversial and exciting listen, Pollan explores caffeine’s power as the most-used drug in the world—and the only one we give to children (in soda pop) as a treat. Pollan takes us on a journey through the history of the drug, which was first discovered in a small part of East Africa and within a century became an addiction affecting most of the human species. Caffeine, it turns out, has changed the course of human history—won and lost wars, changed politics, dominated economies. What’s more, the author shows that the Industrial Revolution would have been impossible without it. The science of how the drug has evolved to addict us is no less fascinating. And caffeine has done all these things while hiding in plain sight! Percolated with Michael Pollan’s unique ability to entertain, inform, and perform, Caffeine is essential listening in a world where an estimated two billion cups of coffee are consumed every day. ©2019 Michael Pollan (P)2020 Audible Originals, LLC.

Review: This work starts with self-deprecating humor that charmed me into a comfortable listening mood. Mr. Pollan choose to stop drinking caffeine to observe the effects as part of his research. According to him, this contributed to being unfocused and having to struggle to get the book on track. In spite of this proclamation, Pollan does a great job of delivering a lively history of the origins of caffeine and how it came to be a staple of working people everywhere. The description of the influence of caffeine in man’s development, work, politics, economics, and even war, is fascinating.

Pollan presents the position that caffeine does have scientific support showing a “pick-me-up” and focus effect. It is addictive to insects and addictive to humans. I was feeling fine accepting myself as a caffeine addict until Pollan mentions the negative impact on sleep patterns. Then I had to consider my afternoon consumption and remind my office staff to switch to decaf after noon.

The book is not an exhaustive history of caffeine and doesn’t’ purport to be a scientific tome. It is a light history in a quick, easy listen. The author moves among his themes which help to keep my interest. I recommend this especially to caffeine lovers and to others who would like a short history.

Audio Notes: Michael Pollan narrates his own work. He does a nice job delivering the work with a light humor. I totally enjoyed this quick listen.

Source: 2/8/2020 Free Member Audible Originals. This qualifies for 2020Audiobook and nonfiction goals.

1 comment:

  1. I need my coffee twice a day, but do try to avoid caffeine elsewhere. I cannot fathom being caffeine free. This sounds interesting!


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