Question… which book, of the many that you have presumably read, has rocked your world? That one book that has set you on a new course, opened your eyes to a new way of thinking and new possibilities, or had a lasting impact on your life. This was the topic of a recent discussion group that I attended. Of course, most people, me included, had a really hard time identifying that key book. Some people selected fiction, some non-fiction. I considered Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, and A Thousand Clowns by Herb Gardner. But then I realized that these were books that I thoroughly enjoyed, but which were not necessarily life-changing. And then it hit me… Plant Physiology by Salisbury and Ross. Yes, a TEXT BOOK! It introduced me to the amazing world of how plants function. The book was pivotal – I have since made a career of plant physiology which has spanned 40 years. Granted, I’ve enjoyed plants since I was just a kid, but this book really did the trick. I was hooked. I have three editions, and each is dog-eared, riddled with highlighting, and marked up with copious notes in the margins. And even now, as a video game developer, I still try to incorporate some plant physiology into my games. I just can’t help it.
By the way, we were asked to recite something from the books that we had chosen. I declined (no need to push it). I opted instead to simply provide the title of the first chapter… The Marvel of Plants. Say no more.