Review: Caf­feine: How Caf­feine Cre­at­ed the Mod­ern World

Caffeine: How Caffeine Created the Modern World
Caf­feine: How Caf­feine Cre­at­ed the Mod­ern World by Michael Pol­lan
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

The pac­ing of this sto­ry was quick and kept the atten­tion eas­i­ly, even if one’s recent­ly abstain­ing from caf­feine. Talk­ing about the his­to­ry and impact of soci­ety’s most accept­ed and wide­spread drug. Michael Pol­lan did a great job in relay­ing his expe­ri­ence with tem­porar­i­ly abstain­ing of cof­fee and lat­er on using it as a tool, but insin­u­ates it will creep back to an every­day ordeal. For the com­ing weeks I would like to fol­low his plan and just drink cof­fee on Sun­day morn­ings and only then. Per­haps Sat­ur­days could work as well, but I usu­al­ly tend to do my long run on Sun­days, so it would ben­e­fi­cial for that too. I appre­ci­at­ed the appear­ance of Matthew Walk­er and his view on caf­feine’s effect on the sleep qual­i­ty. I do notice, that even when I drink cof­fee in the morn­ing that my sleep is impact­ed, so that would be a good moti­va­tion. One of the more insight­ful bits was about the dif­fer­ence in spot-focus and can­vas focus, the lat­ter would enhance cre­ativ­i­ty by loose asso­ci­a­tion. Caf­feine enhances the spot-focus and there­fore lin­ear think­ing and might thus reduce one’s cre­ativ­i­ty. Know­ing what it can and can­not do, might help one use it for the right use cas­es. With­out cof­fee, there would­n’t be this cat­a­lyst for the age of rea­son. The fact that it was a replace­ment for alco­hol in the sev­en­teenth cen­tu­ry was new to me and that the cof­fee-hous­es played a big role in the enlight­en­ment by exchang­ing ideas, so much so that the first mod­ern ency­clo­pe­dia found its ori­gin in one of the cof­fee-hous­es in France. 

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