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Go Wild: Free Your Body and Mind from the Afflictions of Civilization

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  861 ratings  ·  95 reviews
The scientific evidence behind why maintaining a lifestyle more like that of our ancestors will restore our health and well-being.

In Go Wild, Harvard Medical School Professor John Ratey, MD, and journalist Richard Manning reveal that although civilization has rapidly evolved, our bodies have not kept pace. This mismatch affects every area of our lives, from our general
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Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2014)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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Emily Crow
I won a free copy of this book as a First Reads giveaway. My opinion, as always, is entirely my own.

I was quite excited to get my copy of Go Wild: Free Your Body and Mind from the Afflictions of Civilization; in fact, I opened it immediately and read it in two sittings (with a dog walk between the two.) Overall, I found this book to be both fascinating and frustrating, and some chapters were definitely better than others.

The authors discuss different aspects of modern life that are out of sync
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Malin Friess
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
John Ratey (Harvard Medical School Professor) wants us to "Go Wild" to find a healthier/happier lifestyle. But what does "Go Wild" mean?

- sleep 8.5 hours per day and go to bed at 10:00
- Eat no refined sugar. Eat less than 50 carbs per day. And absolutly no fruit juices. If there is one take away from this book--stop drinking any type of "sugar water." Sugar is a toxin that starts the insulin cascade and eventually more fat storage. Get your calories from fat, cheese, meet, nuts..and eat as much
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Sam Torode
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Go Wild" gets my award for the best mind/body/spirit book of 2014 (so far). I previously enjoyed John Ratey's "Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain." Then, after hearing both authors on a podcast, I picked up Richard Manning's "Against the Grain: How Agriculture Has Hijacked Civilization," which was absolutely mind-blowing (simultaeously depressing and inspiring).

"Go Wild" combines the best elements of those previous books and exceeds them, providing practical guidance
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Jillian
Aug 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
I'm a vegetarian who prefers the barre method over cross-fit, and while I agreed with the advice about connecting to nature, endurance running IS hard on the back, knees, joints, etc. My father does hip and knee replacements for runners all the time and I understand that there may be a way to run that's lower impact--it's not for everyone. Also, you can be totally healthy on a plant based diet. Anyone who doesn't agree should read Crazy Sexy Kitchen or Radical Remission.
Lesley
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book should be required reading for everyone on the planet who thinks the way we live is okay. That being said, I really liked this book on it's own merits and not just because I already believe in it's message. It wasn't preachy or gimmicky... it's not trying to sell a workout or accompanying recipe book. It uses actual science to show what we are doing to ourselves on a daily basis and then suggests we may do something to help ourselves. Definitely thought provoking and a kick in my ass ...more
Paula
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
As always, John Ratey gives fascinating insight into the brain. In this case, he and journalist Richard Manning provide a valuable overview of how civilization has altered the way we eat, think and move. He presents a compelling argument for returning to a more natural way of living, and provides scientific-based reasons to do so. Great read!
Chris
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Another nearly useless self help book. Really enjoyed the first chapter which introduced some new (to me) thoughts and ideas on evolution and food. The authors refer to many books then don't include a bibliography, that just seems disrespectful and lazy.
Kristan
Aug 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
First Reads Giveaway. Given that my husband is a devout Paleo/ Robb Wolf fan (and has indoctrinated me), and I've read the referenced "Born to Run," I didn't learn anything particularly enlightening. Ratey provides solid advice on how to eat, sleep, manage stress, and exercise. No fads or self-help garbage; it's simply a compelling case to get back to a more natural holistic state.
Benjamin Torres
I know there are many things wrong with the way we eat and live in our society, but I just couldn't help but feel that the whole "Civilization disease" argument was an easy and flat one, to try to sell the idea of a fad diet (Paleo) and a fitness regime (Crossfit) and an endurance activity (Trail running). I recently did a trail ultramarathon, so I did like the part, but I know that activity is not for everybody, and I think it is a different experience for eveveryone,, to some people it could ...more
Lissa
May 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great integration of lifestyle health factors and why they work backed by recent science from many different fields. Top book of 100 that I've read this year. That said, I don't agree with everything and it is a bit disjointed in a few places. However, the enthusiasm of the authors and their ability to integrate many different aspects, sometimes in unique ways is inspiring. Many people are offering health recommendations but I am not aware of anyone else who has been able to integrate as many ...more
Shalyce
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book made me want to change. It makes quite a compelling case for how aspects of civilization are literally killing us--our food, our inactivity and our belief we should go, go, go, as well as how some of the "expert advice" is quite poor and goes against our nature. All these things are leading to massive physical and mental health problems.

It was very academic. I feel like I should have earned a couple of credits after I was done.

The evolutionary aspect was very interesting and the
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Samantha
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read this to think about things in a more rounded view. Answers to modern problems are usually more in depth than a surface pill problem. Meaning, you can't just take a pill to fix your problems, you truly need to look from multiple aspects of your life to find healing and joy. Understanding how we are in modern times, and realizing that just because we are this way doesn't mean we should be. We aren't always right. Let yourself be humbled with this book.
Richard Reese
Mar 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Go Wild was written by Dr. John Ratey and Richard Manning. I’m a Manning fan, and I was hoping for a book with rhythms similar to the writing of Tom Brown, Richard Nelson, or Jay Griffiths — work rooted in a spiritual connection to the family of life. Our current path is a dead end. If Big Mama Nature decides to let two-legged animals have a future, the key to survival is returning to a path of reverence, respect, and balance, like our ancient African ancestors lived.

Be aware that Go Wild does
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Adele
Oct 05, 2016 rated it liked it
This book recommends a philosophy or approach to life rather than a particular diet or exercise regimen. The theory makes sense and is backed by lots of good scientific research. The book also manages to be an enjoyable read with interesting bits of evolutionary history and just a few personal anecdotes for each topic. The book did have some flaws of course. I was annoyed by some stylistic choices, especially the multiple instances of words to the effect of, "More on that later!" There was also ...more
Derek
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
THIS BOOK IS GREAT.
I recommend this book for everyone who lives in a first-world country. We often fail to take our biological history into account when we consider health and wellness. This guy has written a well-researched and fantastically-presented piece here, most of which is so obvious that it is hidden from us in plain sight.

Seriously, anyone who takes medication for anything, has body pain, has cancer, depression, fatigue, feels burnt out, obesity, and a plethora of other problems
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Katie
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have read many different books, about mental health, health, self help, exercise, eating regimes and this book has taken a completely raw approach and has simplified how we should be taking life on.

I will be recommending this book endlessly.
Great read.
Carol
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
Absolutely loved it! Plan to read it again right away.
Katie
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book. Its too soon to say but I think it will change my life.
Josie
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Simple. Scientific but not dense. Easy Read. Highly Recommend. Great book for health, well-being, and avoiding depression.
Bastard Travel
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best nonfiction books I've ever read. The idea is that humans are wild animals, and for all the trappings of civilization we wrap ourselves in, we're still running the old jungle OS. We're primitive creatures with primitive drives trying to force ourselves into the shape demanded by a modern world, and it's making us fat, sick, and crazy.

The concept is a sort of natural expansion of Freud's suggestion from Civilization and its Discontents, but less pseudoscientific and quacky. Freud
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Nate
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'll be thinking about the ideas here for years to come. Ratey and Manning take us on a journey of evolution and understanding about the history and physiology of the human system. They delve into how our brains work, how our bodies function, the path of their evolution, the interplay between our social, physical, and mental well being, and how many of the diseases and problems humans endure today are caused by the societies and civilization we created. I enjoyed how they broke down fitness and ...more
Lirak
Jul 29, 2019 added it
I originally picked up this book with the intention of slow reading it while in vacation. After all, a title this catchy will surely relate and fit to my little getaway.
Little did I expect that this book would be a two day carrousel of jam packed knowledge (with sound research) on relatable topics such as movement, brain, oxytocin, tribes, bonding, nutrition etc.
Wanna learn why humans are the Swiss army knife of movement and the fundamental reason why we evolved with a brain of such capacity?
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Martina
May 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this book--and chose it because I am a huge fan of Ratey's previous book "Spark." I'm sorry to say this was a complete disappointment. What purports to be "nutritional" advice demonstrates abject ignorance of the actual science. Among other things, the opening chapter goes on a rampage against "carbohydrates"--without bothering to distinguish between unprocessed, whole food sources of complex carbohydrates and truly unhealthful carbs such as refined flour. He also ...more
Jose Lobato
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Previously this year, I read “Spark” [1]. I liked it very much and found that the author has another book. I looked at it, and it seemed very appealing. I got it last week, and I did enjoy every word probably because It confirms some of the decisions that I took since 2016, including diet, exercise, sleep, mindfulness, and more. I learned some about why I have to run more in the mountains and less on the treadmill. I fancy the idea, but I now need to find a place to do it.

Also, the structure of
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Leda Frost
Jan 26, 2020 rated it did not like it
This books is just... really the emotion you're getting from me is a deep sigh. It reads—and I'll be generous here—like a long graduate student paper. You can pick up that vibe within the first few pages when the authors speak of "Native American" proverbs, excursions to "Africa" (never a country in particular), the problematic idea of calling people "wild" vs. "tame" (which they recognize and dismiss as basic SJW such, in so many words)—I could go on. This isn't science writing, it's a term ...more
Jap Hengky
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-books
By getting more in touch with our wild ancestors, we can live a happier and healthier life. Modern civilization might strive to keep us safe, but our bodies are becoming increasingly unhealthy. Not only are there more cases of obesity and diabetes; there’s been an uptick in severe illnesses like cancer, which are also the result of today’s poor diets and sedentary culture. Returning to the wilder side of life isn’t hard. It can be done by anyone willing to get active and let a little nature into ...more
Lord Riley
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
With so much advice and information from qualified writers and doctors, it's hard to commit 100% to any one method--that's the only reason I didn't give 5 stars.

That grain of salt aside, I think they did a good job of balancing their point of "of a lot of people need big changes to be healthy" against the acceptance that "big changes are really hard." If you decide to read this, I think you should pay attention to their points regarding the need to find our own paths and methods.

As always, you
...more
Eric
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I feel like this is the type of book I'm going to get a comment about, someone telling me its total bullshit (looking at you Marilyn) but I though it was interesting and made sense. If your interested in being healthier and potentially happier I would recommend this book. I can't say I will make any changes currently because of this book but will try to long term.

Notes:
Stop eating carbs
Crossfit better than straight running
Sleep 8.5 hrs a day
Be in nature
Find a tribe to do life
Hamideh Mohammadi
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, non-fiction
I think my expectation for this book was high, having read John Ratey’s other works on brain and exercise. Although I accept and agree with the general message of this book, I have to admit that some of the arguments weren’t as strong or as scientific as I would have wanted them to be. The only reason I don’t give it 5 stars is that I believe it could have been backed up with much stronger scientific arguments than just introducing case studies with a popular language.
Warren
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good anthology of things that work

This book brought together the best current thinking on a number of things I believe to be true about living an optimally healthy life. Don’t eat sugar. Don’t eat grains. Get off your backside and move around. Try new things and hang out with your tribe. Great advice and well worth the read.
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Brain Science Pod...: * John Ratey on Books and Ideas 2 18 Jun 23, 2014 11:54AM  

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Dr. Ratey and Dr. Hallowell began studying ADHD in the 1980s and co-authored Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood through Adulthood (1994), the first in a series of books that demystify the disorder. Dr. Ratey also co-authored Shadow Syndromes (1997) with Catherine Johnson, PhD, in which he describes the phenomenon of milder forms of clinical ...more
“you are born to move with grace, born to embrace novelty and variety, born to crave wide-open spaces, and, above all, born to love. But one of the more profound facts that will emerge is that you are born to heal. Your body fixes itself. A big part of this is an idea called homeostasis, which is a wonderfully intricate array of functions that repair the wear and tear and stress of living.” 9 likes
“This pattern of balancing between comfort and exploration of the unknown is how we build our brains,” 1 likes
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