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Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do
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Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  1,375 ratings  ·  239 reviews
A landmark book by marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols on the remarkable effects of water on our health and well-being.

Why are we drawn to the ocean each summer? Why does being near water set our minds and bodies at ease? In BLUE MIND, Wallace J. Nichols revolutionizes how we think about these questions, revealing the remarkable truth about the benefits of being in, on, u
Published July 22nd 2014 by Little, Brown & Company (first published January 1st 2014)
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3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,375 ratings  ·  239 reviews

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Wallace Nichols
Based on five years of research and exploration, preceded by a lifetime of thinking about our "brain on water", I'm so happy to share this work with you.

Countless friends, colleagues, researchers, and mentors contributed to this book and their voices are heard throughout.

I greatly enjoyed this project and we will continue to hold annual Blue Mind Summits (the fifth in Toronto) and a sequel book is in the works due to the wave of new "Blue Mind" research underway and the request for even "more s
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Humans love water and water is good for us. That's about it. Lots of personal stories of people in water, fishing in water, boating in water, etc. And lots of statistics. Pretty basic.

For example:
** People love living by water. Lots of statistics and studies.
**Water and the color blue have positive effects on our human brains. Lots of stuff on the brain and neuroplasticity how the brain works (very basic stuff) and more statistics and studies.
**Water makes us happier. Lots of information on h
Jan 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: Martha Love
Marine biologist Wallace Nichols has written a marvelous book about the connection between people and water. Why do we put so much value into being near bodies of water? Lakes, rivers, and the ocean have a remarkable pull on all of us.

Nichols tells this story about a group of Native Americans who live in the Sonoran Desert. Nichols took a a group of young teens to the Gulf of California. Many of them had never seen the ocean before, and they had no idea of what they were about to experience. The
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There is some interesting material here, but for a book about water, I found the presentation somewhat dry~
Elyse Walters
Aug 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Author, Wallace J. Nicohols has written a masterpiece about the benefits that WATER has on our health and happiness. (and explains WHY).
Its packed filled with interesting information.
As a 'WATER-LOVER', I felt 'empowered', 'inspired' and 'moved-to-tears' a couple of times.

I found myself remembering: A lifetime of memories of either being in the water -near water -or on the water:
....the Creek, the ocean, the lakes, swimming in a pool, water skiing, mud-boarding,
Vimal Thiagarajan
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whenever there is talk of conservation, emotional calls to action or gloomy doomsday predictions - however true they might be, might be counter productive in many cases. There is a need to tailor the talk to a diverse audience to have any chance of bringing about a change in our own and other people's behaviour and to shift Government policies. And one good tailoring is reminding people about the myriad intricate connections and bonds of love they share with the object of conservation, and provi ...more
Sarah Pekdemir
I found the topic of this book extremely fascinating and the research very thorough. Unfortunately, I couldn't finished reading because I was so turned off by how frequently the author repeated certain points that he wanted to drive home. It felt as though he was trying to fill up extra pages and did so simply by reiterating certain important points over and over. Overall, I think fascinating topic, comprehensive research, interesting read, but really could have benefited from being condensed so ...more
Sep 13, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2014-reads
I appear to be one of the only readers not to care for this book, but the high-star reviewers haven't changed my impressions. I grew bored repeatedly by the rehashing of neuroscience research summaries and general "Blue Mind" approach: long passages on the variations in real estate prices for homes on the water vs not?; descriptions of fMRI studies measuring responses to other phenomena but then dubiously extrapolating to human-experiences-with-water? I was listening to the audiobook read by the ...more
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
Disclaimer: This ARC was given to me for free in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.

A star deducted because author rated his own book 5 stars. Tacky.

Review to come.

Edit: The science was pretty good and I learned some new things. I still found that people prefer water over forest pretty subjective. I like the water just fine, but I prefer forests and mountains to them. Again, we all have our unique preference.

Rikki Irwin
This book was all over the place. Overly detailed at times while weirdly still being generic. I didn't learn much.
"We are beginning to learn that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and even heal what's broken. Healthy water is crucial to our physiological and psychological well-being, as well as our ecology and economy." (x)

Dr. Wallace J. Nichols extolls the healing, restorative, and calming power of water - particularly the ocean, but also lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, etc. - as he makes the emotional conne
Ryan Dejonghe
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
There’s only one way to read a book that touts the benefits of water: IN the water. It took me a little longer to get through this book because I literally read the entire thing while either floating or sitting in water. (Pictured proof on my blog, including a picture of this book floating.) Why? Let’s see…

“As children we delight in water. As we grow older, water also becomes the matrix for sport, relaxation, and romance.” As the author Wallace J. Nichols points out, water enlarges the price tag
Dec 23, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book starts off in a strong fashion for popular science on how brain activity is measured with its various instruments. Then unfortunately it delves into an accumulation of anecdotal persons who have experienced benefits of being around water. The author tries to make a case for Blue Mind (artistic, meditation, aesthetic) vs. Red Mind (analytical, preservation of self), but I believe he tried and did not succeed in making a new name for the right hemisphere/left hemisphere nomenclature of ot ...more
James (JD) Dittes
Wallace J. Nichols's thesis couldn't more simple: humans love the water!

But this book doesn't stress the simple things about water. Nichols aims higher, crafting a carefully researched case for water as a cure for many modern travails and for water as the key to understanding mankind's place on the planet and its need to preserve all life.

Focusing on the mental benefits of water, Nichols cites studies that have measured the impact of water scenes, including those with cutting-edge fMRI technolog
Martha Love
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A truly excellent book and a very enjoyable way to learn more about cutting edge neuroscience studies concerning our relationship to water.

I purposely retired to Hawaii for many of the reasons cited in this book and relate to the author's interest in this important subject of how water affects us. One thing that I felt as I read this book is how much a body of water like the ocean, feels like we are in a womb like container, mother or Home. Living on an island, one can feel the impermanence of
Lizzi Larbalestier
Love it! I am already now reading it for a second time. The narratives ignite powerful water based memories & a childlike curiosity to further explore mind / body consciousness & our relationship with Blue. The book (like the ocean) provokes a contrast of awe, calm contemplation & a sense of timeless connectedness between people & place.

The discoveries this book creates have every day practical implications which enable us to actively utilise our outdoor environment to enhance w
Jan 15, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Bizarre book. The entire thing reads like an introduction to a book, rather than a book itself. Vague, formless, general.

Basically, for what purports to be a pop-science book, this book manages to avoid actually imparting any information or saying anything specific.
Aug 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to dianne by: Caroline Casey
i think this is a wonderful puja to the ocean. We can all relate to the magic of the beach - how peaceful and powerful the wind, the waves, the scent, is. W. Nichols breaks down the science for us, showing us, through multiple lenses how we need water to heal and sustain us. From PET scans to real estate prices, we are shown how large bodies of water increase us - our creativity, our sensitivity, our health. In my city of origin a peek of water from your home increases the value exponentially. T ...more
Kitri Miller
Oct 09, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book. I like the idea that there is some scientific reason why we would like being near water, and was under the impression that this book would talk about the research that has gone into the study of this idea. As I read the book though, I got the impression that there is actually very little research done into the subject at this point, leaving the book mostly filled with anecdotes and quotes, a lot of them referenced, as if trying to give the book more of an impre ...more
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Disappointed. I was a swimmer in high school and have almost always lived near some body of water (the ocean, a river, a creek, etc.) This book sounded like it was for me. What do we love the water so? What compels people to have pictures or art of water?
Sadly, the book definitely did not live up to the hype. It started off well, with the author (and with a forward from a relative of Jacques Cousteau) writing about their experiences with the water and what it meant to them. But it quickly meand
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I live on an island and I always knew there was something special about that. Hours on the beach got me through my teen years. Reading this book explains it. I knew the beach was calming, now I know the science behind it. I was amazed to read about water therapy for PTSD, addiction and autism. This is not a dry science book as there are plenty of stories. Granted, some of the findings are subjective, but then, how does one really evaluate happiness? The book is definitely worth reading.
See my co
Peter Mcloughlin
The book is a little unfocused but if one goes through it will find enough meat among the filler and see why we crave to be near water and why beach front property has such seemingly ridiculous price tags attached to it. Being near water enhances psychological and physical health and increase happiness. It seems to also enhance creativity. The author talks a lot about cognitive and neurological information on why we do so well in the presence of large bodies of water. He doesn't spend much time ...more
I desperately wanted to like this book, but just didn't. I even listened to it on Audible. Between the evolutionary science being shoved down my throat at every turn, the hodgepodge way he presented the neuroscience, and just the plain old boringness of it - I finally gave up. If you want a synopsis of the book it is this.... people like being near the water, it makes your brain happier. You can thank me later for saving you 9 1/2 hours of listening.
Alex Braidwood
Jul 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In case you were wondering why you find yourself drawn to water or nature, this book lays out the science and tells some really wonderful stories along the way.
Marija S.
Whilst I do agree with the message the author is trying to get across (basically, the title tells it all) and, as a recreational swimmer, I
wholeheartedly recommend getting in and/or near the water as often as possible, this book was surprisingly hard to go through. Scattered, repetitive, disorganized, with apparently random chapters, its contents insufficient for a book, it would have made a solid sci article which would have made more impact for the cause.
Jamie HB
May 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Listening to this audiobook motivated me to sit on my balcony with my feet in our kiddie pool, and write emails. I was able to focus my full attention to one task at a time, and complete each task within that same sitting. My mind was not free from distraction, however the presence of water helped me to relax and stay focused on the task at-hand. This book was very detailed in regards to providing research-based information on water's effect on on our health, happiness, and creativity. I never r ...more
Raven Hair Babe
May 02, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Water Witch. Mermaid. Siren. Sea Monster. I love to be near or in Water. The Ocean’s mysterious energy awakens and inspires me. Water is Life!
The author seems like a rad zen dude. I would have liked for this book to have discussed the spirituality of Water.
Jul 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book had interesting concepts but was about twice as long as it needed to be. Seemed to meander along until it finally ended.
Megan Posas
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Maybe I’m biased because I’m doing an entire series of paintings revolving around the therapeutic & healing qualities of the ocean, but I found it very interesting! Loved how the author is coming from a scientific perspective, where as I’m used to a creative perspective.
Oct 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Summary of Blue Mind in one sentence: Being by the water is good for you, as demonstrated by several studies.

Only extend that out over almost 300 pages.

That sounds depressingly cynical, and it is, but that’s the thought that kept circling through my head while reading Blue Mind. That can be said about a lot of books, but this one bugged me because I didn’t feel like I learned anything I didn’t already know. It wasn’t challenging or reshaping my view of the world. Sure, some of the studies were i
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“I wondered whether water is a mirror for our darker emotions as much as it is an engine for our happiness. Water quiets all the noise, all the distractions, and connects you to your own thoughts.” 8 likes
“I wish you water.” 6 likes
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