Caffeine: How Coffee Created the Modern World by Michael Pollan

I am a big fan of audiobooks. We spend a lot of times in our cars sometimes and one of the ways I take the edge off while running errands, commuting, and taking trips is firing up a book I can listen to. I have easily read more books in the last two years than I have for any purpose in the last ten. I use Audible almost exclusively and I absolutely love books that are read by the actual author. Most recently I discovered (and completed) this gem and I wanted to give it a shout out. Here is the synopsis…

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.

I thought this was a very stirring, and entertaining, read/listen and I highly recommend it. It’s a great blend (coffee pun intended) of history, science, and clever wit while maintaining a compelling story arc. Some consider this book, and Michael Pollan, to be controversial and I’d be lying if I said I agreed with all of his conclusions but I am very glad I read it and I recommend it for anyone who likes cerebral discourse with humor drizzled on top. I’ll end this post by passing on a free sample of the audiobook via YouTube on the official Audible channel. And by sample I mean the entirety of Chapter One!