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The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  1,304 ratings  ·  163 reviews
For many of us, thinking about the future conjures up images of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road: a post-apocalyptic dystopia stripped of nature. Richard Louv, author of the landmark bestseller Last Child in the Woods, urges us to change our vision of the future, suggesting that if we reconceive environmentalism and sustainability, they will evolve into a larger movement that wi ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by Algonquin Books
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3.82  · 
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 ·  1,304 ratings  ·  163 reviews

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Rod Ruff
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
There are two kinds of journalists: reporters and storytellers. Richard Louv falls into the first category.

This book is a pragmatic exploration of how we can interact better with nature in the 21st century - something many of us are craving to find time for. There is no shortage of information here, Louv starts with an examination of all the positive health (physical and mental) benefits that may arise from increasing our exposure to nature, and then moves into all the practical ways we can int
Connie Mayo
Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
I was completely prepared to love this book. But I didn't find what I was looking for. I wanted and expected to find out a little about the science behind the idea that spending time in nature has brain benefits. I also wanted to know what exactly it is that scientists think is having the positive impact. Is it visual? Auditory? Is it the smell of outdoors? What if you are in a suburban environment, where there is a combination of nature and manmade structures - is it half as effective? Do peopl ...more
Michael Jandrok
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have always had a good connection with the outdoors. My father was an avid hunter and fisherman, and took me out with him whenever he had the chance when I was growing up. I never did catch the bug for hunting, but I still fish to this day. It helped growing up in a semi-rural setting in an era when children could pretty much roam free through the neighborhoods and surrounding countryside. Nowadays, though, there is a real concern that children and adults are suffering from a condition known a ...more
Jun 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-issues
Like many, I came to this book having read and loved Last Child in the Woods. This book was good, too, going farther than Last Child by pointing out how a connection with the nature around us makes all of us--child AND adult--happier, healthier, more peaceful, more productive. While Louv makes a lot out of a few studies at times, and waxes kind of mystical and hippy-happy at times, still the book is a good read. I especially enjoyed the many profiles of and interviews with people who are helping ...more
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
A good read, but it did not blow my mind like Last Child in the Woods. That said, Louv's research is unparalleled, and he has again given me heavy stuff to chew on both personally and in the way I raise my children.

Great quote that sums up my view on the book:

"Sooner or later, a school of higher education--perhaps a school that teaches teachers--is going to realize the potential and create an entire program devoted to connecting people to nature. Enter this program, learn about the benefits of h
Kim June Johnson
Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
The urgency I felt reading this book almost took my breath away. It was pivotal in my decision to move to a small island with my two daughters. It's not an understatement to say this book is life changing. Richard Louv balances science nicely with narrative for an enjoyable read.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent reminder of how important nature is and how to be healthy we need to maintain a connection with the natural world. In some ways Louv may be too optimistic and he may take what little scientific evidence there is for the effects of nature on human health, including mental health, but he does make good points along these lines that are often neglected. Whether or not further research shows a stronger connection between immersion in nature and health, I have no doubt that some regular exp ...more
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
The author makes a convincing case for the existence of nature-deficit disorder. Since reading this book, I've become more aware of the ways I'm disconnected from nature, and I'm coming up with strategies to spend more time outdoors.
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book discussing our deteriorating connection to nature and the impact it has on our lives and our society. Many suggestions for making nature part of our lives and ensuring our children have opportunities to see the importance of the outdoors in their lives.
E.A. Burnett
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Richard Louv begins his book with a promise to detail and support his theory of nature-deficit disorder. Unfortunately, Louv's book is slathered with anecdotal evidence and holds only a smattering of scientific findings- most of which are sketchy at best. Louv seems to have missed one of the most important facts of scientific research in his formulation of a theory: correlation is not causation. I was horrified by the huge conclusions Louv drew from a variety of stories and experiences he collec ...more
The Nature Principle states that "... a reconnection to the natural world is fundamental to human health, well-being, spirit, and survival." Richard Louv is able to show how true this principle really is. Through a combination of psychology research and anecdotal evidence, this book shows how even a limited connection to nature helps us to re-ignite our bodies, our health, our imaginations, and our communities.

People are paying a high price for losing contact with nature. And, by the term "natur
May 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Uplifting persuasive piece about the desirability of putting yourself in contact with nature. He goes beyond the sentimental testimonial anecdote (though there are quite a few "just the other day, I was taking a walk in the woods when I saw the most wonderful heron; can't get that on Facebook!" passages) to describe families banding together through nature outings, therapists prescribing outdoor time, workers being happier and more productive when they have windows in their offices overlooking w ...more
Apr 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Note: I received this book as a Goodread's giveaway.

In my day to day life, I experience nature. I am fortunate to live in a small western town surrounded by mountains and high desert. The Nature Principle reinterated the quality of life I have. He talks about how the more you have technology in your life the more you need nature. He talks about the health benefits of nature, nature that is as near as our yards, creating nature to enjoy, and about the future of our collective nature. I found it t
Nicole Hale
I just won this book in in first reads giveaway and I am excited to read it for sure. As an art therapist, I am always interesting in finding alternative approaches to finding therapeutic and creative ways to soothe the soul. People in society today spend entirely too much time wasting away in cubicle style jobs, forgetting how to find solace in the beauty of nature around us. The ideas that seem to be presented in this book are excellent, and as soon as I read it, I will be sure to post a thoro ...more
Samantha Garcia
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
I wanted to love this book - and I definitely agree with its core concepts. The style of writing felt disjointed. Random segments of descriptive prose then juxtaposed with emerging trends or research. It was a difficult read and I probably would read another one of Richard Louv's books. I do however subscribe to his web newsletter as a way of supporting his movement and staying on top of new initiatives.
Jeremy L
Jul 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature
Richard Louv brings compelling anecdotes and evidence to back up his proposal that mankind is beginning to rely too much on technology in our daily lives. This increased reliance is proving detrimental to our collective productivity, creativity, and focus.

Nature deficiency disorder is becoming pandemic throughout the world, and is one problem we should all strive to overcome through increased immersion into nature, and the rediscovery of our natural selves.
Mark Hartzer
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
The only reason I didn't give this superficial book 1 star is because there were a couple of good points regarding nature in the backyard. Otherwise, this was generally a series of interviews and observations with boring people discovering the truly obvious. Pitiful.
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I think this is an important book. The information is presented sometimes in story form and sometimes in informational/data form, as is likely to be expected.
Sometimes I felt anxious while reading it, as though I needed to get the family outside right now! I liked the references to Vitamin N and there is a real hopefulness to the writing. He notes it near the end of the book that there is a lot of fear and negativity when some conversations turn to how to build the future with nature. This bo
Before I read this book I thought, 'well, it's obvious we all need nature.' Louv did give me a few ideas However, for the most part, I am already doing many of the things he talks about. This leads me to ask the question: who is the intended audience for this book? I fear the people who need his prompts aren't going to read this...

Louv is an excellent writer and his research is solid, even if a bit too journalistic for my taste. He does seem to recycle the same 5-10 sources throughout, though. I
Jul 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would write a long review but Rod Ruff directly below mine says it all. The author gave a lot of examples but I could not connect to any one of them. They lacked any human depth. I feel Richard Louv was making his point that 'Nature is good for you' but wasn't speaking to the reader and encouraging them to see that nature is good for YOU.

I have had my own experience with healing PTSD through nature and perhaps I am looking for validation for that. Perhaps I needed more human connection and to
Mar 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Not sure how to classify this book. It seemed to be everything under the sun discussion about Nature and life. It covers a lot but seemed overly repetitive. Louv seems to spend much of the book trying to convince you that Nature is great but it seems if you are going to make it through this long book that is a given. The overall theme is Nature is important but it covers so much application of people in Nature and applying nature to everyday life that I'm not sure who I would recommend the book ...more
Apr 30, 2019 rated it liked it
This was my first read of Louv and at first I was enthralled, particularly by the evidence that he presented on the benefits of the interaction with nature. It quickly converted me and inspired me to advocate for the same. However, beyond the evidence Louv derailed into a series of quaint stories that were somewhat inspirational, yet Louv lacked the gravitas to propel this stories into a realistic, actionable prophecy. I felt he underwhelmed in his extrapolation of these experiences, speaking wi ...more
Melanie Keating
May 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I don't read a ton of non-fiction so I don't have a lot to compare this to for ratings. I enjoyed reading this and learned a lot about how humans and nature interact and can benefit each other. I think I would have enjoyed this a little more if it was more focused and didn't jump around as much to delve into certain theories and studies more. I think it was a great choice for our first book club discussion at work and gave me some ideas about how to incorporate nature into my life more.
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wholeheartedly agree with the main premise of this book, but I found the majority of it was reporting on what innovations and practices are being done in the United States and Europe. What was missing was consideration of the urgency of this need and the impediments to getting there. There is an optimistic tone to this book, but it lacked cohesiveness and some means to provide people with grounds for activism.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this Richard Louv book a little bit headier than _Last Child in the Woods_ at times. But I was once again inspired and encouraged by his call to the wild.

It’s worth the time. I am enamored with the idea what he calls the “third ring” of individual family’s interaction with nature that helps bring the movement into focus. It really makes me think I can do something about the environment and my own family’s health and future at the same time.
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Less a book discussing the ideas of Nature Deficit Disorder (which he obviously feels he established in a previous book), but a blow by blow discussion of studies and activities/groups trying to restore nature to the world. I agreed with many of the ideas, but wish he was a little more critical of the concepts.

Basically the message was: Nature makes everything better - over and over again.
A well thought out book that is a starting point for adults looking to get reacquainted with nature. It doesn't have certain concrete solutions all figured out, it just points the way. Well done, but some more concrete ideas on how to get into a career in the new nature field would be most appreciated.
Don Gubler
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
I almost didn't read this book, thinking it a follow-up to the Last Child in the Woods. But whereas that one was more clinical this one is more practical. It is not a diagnosis so much as it is a prescription for how to fix things for ourselves, our communities and our planet. Very good and very useful.
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature
Modern men and women, attached as we are to our technology, have forgotten that we need to move, to get outside, that is the real world. “unplug, boot it down, get off line, get outdoors, breathe again, become real in a real world.”

Sep 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Fantastic information about nature and its important that simply needs to be condensed into a shorter version with fewer mediocre anecdotes. I agree with everything in this book but it’s not exactly compelling to read.
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Richard Louv (born 1949) is a journalist and author of books about the connections between family, nature and community. His book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder (Algonquin), translated into 9 languages and published in 13 countries, has stimulated an international conversation about the relationship between children and nature.
“The pleasure of being alive is brought into sharper focus when you need to pay attention to staying alive.” 6 likes
“This principle holds that a reconnection to the natural world is fundamental to human health, well-being, spirit, and survival.” 3 likes
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