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Why This Book Matters:

The Botany of Desire is an intriguing narrative on humans’ relationship with plants and how they control our four major senses: sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control. Written by Prof. Michael Pollan, the book further explores how humans, being manipulated by these four senses, help plants reproduce and grow stronger.

The Big Takeaways:

  1. As humans benefit from plants, plants benefit from humans.
    1. If Just like attracting insects to spread their pollen for reproduction, plants attract basic human senses to get the same help from humans.
  2. The most eye-catching factor to humans in plants is their beauty.
    1. Plants make us slaves to their beautifying appeal. The attraction is so strong that we would give a beautiful red rose to our loved ones, instead of a basket of apples.
  3. The story of Johnny Appleseed is another example of our craving for sweetness.
    1. In the early 1800s, sugar was considered a luxury in North America. John Chapmanā€™s apple trees made it possible for the poor to afford sweet apples.
  4. Marijuana plants satisfy our taste for intoxication.
    1. Humans are prone to alter their psychoactive perceptions. Plants like Marijuana – despite being prohibited – are attractive due to their intoxicative abilities.
  5. The introduction of potato plants finally gave us control of our dietary needs.
    1. First introduced to Europe in the sixteenth century, potato crops have ultimately given us control of our food requirements, as well as being a power shifting factor throughout history.

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