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The Natural Navigator

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  352 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
Starting with a simple question - 'Which way am I looking?' - Tristan Gooley blends natural science, myth, folklore and the history of travel to introduce you to the rare and ancient art of finding your way using nature's own sign-posts, from the feel of a rock to the look of the moon.

With Tristan's help, you'll learn why some trees grow the way they do and how they can he
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 4th 2010 by Virgin Books (first published 2010)
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(showing 1-30)
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Josh Bush
Fantastic guide to learning how to use natural cues to orient yourself and hold a course, but goes beyond this to help anyone enjoy the outdoors even if you don't need to use the skills for navigation.

The author doesn't just give a list of rule-of-thumb pointers in nature, but starts the discussion by talking about the major factors that shape the natural world. Light from the sun, wind, water, and how the Earth rotates and orbits around the sun are the reasons behind the rules-of-thumb found in
Malcolm Handoll
Aug 12, 2010 Malcolm Handoll rated it it was amazing
Brilliant book - very readable and well researched. Draws upon rare earlier books and a lot of first hand experience, then presented clearly and with passion. This will become a classic.

Tristan practices what he teaches and has over the years assimilated a lot from earlier books, such as by Harold Gatty.

This latest book synthesises probably all that is currently published and known about the subject of natural navigation - and yet because of Tristan's pas
Hemhek Song
Well put together. A bit new agey.
Joe Koennecke
Feb 20, 2017 Joe Koennecke rated it liked it
Kind of a fun easy book. It was not as ground breaking as I had expected but it is populated with fun tidbits and anecdotes of interesting facts and useful tricks. It reminded me of how little I remember about the stars once I got into that section.
Sep 25, 2015 poingu rated it it was ok
A little fluffy and self-congratulatory in the vein of Shop Class as Soulcraft and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance:--I believe the author quotes both of these other authors at some point. When Gooley gets down to focusing on the subject of how to locate yourself in nature, though, the book is fascinating. I personally would have preferred more of this type of straightforward information, for example, what you can learn from the shape of sand dunes, and less of the too-long side trips G ...more
James (JD) Dittes
I grew up idolizing pioneer trackers like Daniel Boone and Kit Carson, and I've always prided myself on the ability to find traces of trails long gone--whether they be road cuts or mine shafts in the mountains, or the straight paths through thick woods. One of my favorite pastimes is hiking at night, sans light with only the moon and the stars to light my way.

With that said, I know nothing. Tristan Gooley has composed here a master course in navigation and orienteering. Nature practically scream
Daniel Stewart
A conveyer belt of information and anecdotes that teach the reader how to use everyday observations as a means of navigation. At times I felt a little swamped with too much information (a book half the size would have been far easier to digest), but the gold nuggets embedded in the text made the long read worthwhile. I particularly loved the section on using the stars in navigation.

Ultimately the greatest benefit of the book is it's reminder of how easily our senses are dulled, yet how easily th
Feb 03, 2016 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was some pretty cool stuff in here and I'll definitely be keeping it handy to check back on again. I really enjoyed learning about Natural Navigation, although it wasn't all that useful because it's all about the Northern Hemisphere and I'm in the South. Some of the things I could just reverse but others just wouldn't work.

I actually feel like knowing about all this stuff makes me think about the world around me more. I pay attention to the little details way more, and notice things like s
Dec 01, 2014 Mark rated it it was amazing
This is the only book that has ever caused me to miss my subway stop, and it's not at all the kind of book one would expect to be so riveting. But Gooley's description of not only methods of natural navigation but their history and use makes for fascinating reading. His attention and expression of the ways paying attention to where he is in the natural world has enriched his life is another nice aspect of the narrative. As I was reading, I kept thinking of people I want to give this to to read, ...more
Jan 19, 2014 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those I'd gladly put on my "survivalism" shelf- lots of great advice on how to read the stars, the wind, the sea, the land, the trees, the animals, and more- stuff which can save your life, if you don't panic too much first! But the writer draws on his own experience as the only person to have crossed the Atlantic solo, (twice) by boat AND plane. So there are a lot of stories here as well about early explorers, which themselves give one pause for consideration. All in all, glad I ...more
This is a book I'll return to again and again as I learn to notice the significant details around me in the natural world. There's so much valuable information packed into this little book! The illustrations were great as well.

I really liked the way it was organized, split up between the moon, the stars, the weather etc. Some of the individual sections had odd tangents that I didn't feel fit in with the rest and weren't given any context, but other than that the book was filled with the kind of
Dec 27, 2016 Cyndie rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A slow but absorbing read. Who knew there were so many clues to getting around in the world around you if you only paid attention to them. Some are world-wide such as knowing your latitude by watching the stars around you. Some are very short-lived such as knowing which way the wind is blowing today and keeping track of it as you go down into the valley and all other clues of direction disappear. My favorite chapter was on how to use the movements and presence of animals to recognize where you a ...more
Sep 27, 2015 Phair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely not a book to breeze through. So much information that it would take careful rereading and practice to absorb it all so I may have to buy a copy of this or his pocket guide rather than relying on a library copy. Liked the parts about sun & moon navigating technique best as well as the topographic / landscape section.

Loved the passage at the end (p244) "The time we invest in trying to both fathom and observe the natural world yields a reward - an insight into the interconnectedness
Mar 09, 2011 Angela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I finally completed this book just before returning from deployment. Although I think it is great information, I have not found anything particularly profound. What is a good about the book is how enthusiastic the author feels about the subject. His enthusiasim is clearly felt that I keep on going back to the book. But, it did feel repetitive and the book probably would be better off if it was a slimmer version (read as less words). I would recommend not reading this and focusing on getting one ...more
Feb 09, 2015 Stuart rated it it was ok
Disappointing. It has more than a whiff of new age, mysticism about it with the concomitant dismissive attitude towards science. He is continually going on about how the ancients/ primitive peoples/ animals can do things better than modern science and technology, which quickly begins to grate. Also his explanations of how his techniques work are not very clear and his style is a bit clumsy. There is a good book to be written on this subject but this is not it.
remi d
Jan 17, 2017 remi d rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ce livre offre une multitude d'exemple où la nature se révèle des plus instructive à qui sait la lire.
L'auteur interpelle le lecteur à travers ses sens et, surtout, au fils de scène familière et variée. L'invitation faite par Tristan est de "prendre le temps de sentir les roses", de porter attention aux détails et de rendre l'expérience en nature d'autant plus savoureuse par le défi intellectuel quelle nous offre et les indices laisse à l'observateur attentif.
Sarah Bates
I expected this to be a wilderness survival guide, and it is in some ways. But more importantly it's a philospphical guide to becoming aware of life as it should be. Today, when most people stare at phones, TV, computer monitors and GPS screens, author Tristan Gooley gently draws readers away from those obsessions with his simple, yet articulate writing voice . The result makes what he says much more important that an electronic device manipulated world.
May 08, 2012 Douglas rated it it was amazing
I loved the book - it did repeat some lessons already known, but in context that was inspiring and the new techniques worthwhile and interesting. Perhaps the best part of the book is the 'big picture' it portrays of the natural world, and also how that understanding relates to Human History.

I'd second the comments about more drawings, so I'd give it 4+ stars.
This is possibly the most useful book I've ever come across on the topic of navigation. I have no sense of direction. None. I've read several books which discuss how people make mental maps in their head to orient themselves and I never have any idea what they are talking about. This book has me knowing how to look at a tree and know what direction I'm heading. Awesome.
May 20, 2015 Paola rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Il motivo del fatto che per me sia stato noioso e difficile da portare avanti (non riuscivo a finirlo) sta forse nella poca comprensione da parte mia, mi perdevo tra numeri e calcoli matematici... speravo fosse più alla portata di tutti.
Nov 13, 2011 Laura rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned, nature
It was an interesting book, but too much information for me. I only made it half-way through and had to abandon it. I may look into his "pocket-book" version and see if that can hold my attention better.
Dec 15, 2013 Lill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book- a science course in itself. It has a bit more detail than I expected but would probably appeal to the more scientific mind than I have. I was more in the mind set of a pleasant walk in the woods versus hard core navigation. See what you think...
May 04, 2011 Cindy rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
Packed with information most of it very iseful and interesting. It is between a 3 and a 4 star. Would have liked more diagrams, maps, information to assist in overall depth of the book. But the idea that one can navigate the world sans technical tools is a joy ...A good reference book.
Dec 17, 2014 Nick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
Very wide-ranging look at non-instrument based ways of figuring out where you are and where you're headed. Not merely about eschewing technology, but rather it emphasizes ways of better observing the natural world around you.
Jimmy Ranieri
Aug 25, 2012 Jimmy Ranieri rated it liked it
Several good tips but overall a little disappointing. The history and general informational topics were very interesting but I really wanted a very practical and simple guide and it missed the mark, for me.
Nov 08, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it
A lot of great information. I will keep it on my shelf because retaining that information will be the challenge unless you are out there putting it in practice on a regular basis. I still enjoyed learning about the methods nature uses to "show us the way".
Jan 28, 2011 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My review of this book can be found here in the Englewood Review of Books:
Rachel Bayles
Feb 08, 2014 Rachel Bayles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
A mix of history and practical techniques make this a good introduction to a fascinating subject.
Feb 08, 2014 Patrick rated it it was amazing
Fascinating topic and very entertaining. It made me run outside on more than one occasion to try out ideas and techniques discussed in the book.
Pail and Pie
Jun 16, 2015 Pail and Pie rated it liked it
A whole lot of logical thinking you already use. Some extra history and basic info, but not really a "tips and tricks" type of read. Interesting.
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