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The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative
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The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  5,522 ratings  ·  884 reviews
For centuries, poets and philosophers extolled the benefits of a walk in the woods: Beethoven drew inspiration from rocks and trees; Wordsworth composed while tromping over the heath; and Nikola Tesla conceived the electric motor while visiting a park. Intrigued by our storied renewal in the natural world, Florence Williams set out to uncover the science behind nature’s po ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 7th 2017 by W. W. Norton Company
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  5,522 ratings  ·  884 reviews


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Miranda Reads
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paperback
4.5 stars
description
A surprisingly enjoyable journey into what it means to be healthy and happy.
we all need nearby nature: we benefit cognitively and psychologically from having trees, bodies of water, and green spaces just to look at; we should be smarter about landscaping our schools, hospitals, workplaces and neighborhoods so everyone gains.
So much of health and happiness in the "modern" world is found through non-natural means.

Sad? Here's a handful of pills.

Bored? Here's a screen and a controlle
...more
Brandice
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative delves into why nature is good for us. Traveling the world and immersing herself in different cultures, Florence Williams discusses various perspectives and theories surrounding nature, often participating in related studies while she travels.

Most of us don’t spend enough time outside to truly appreciate nature and the benefits it offers many people. We get consumed by the fast pace of metropolitan life and easily distrac
...more
~☆~Autumn♥♥
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I just finished this book and its very interesting and informative overall but it was only going to get 4 stars until almost the last page when she finally mentions asthma and says that some should not go out in the tree pollen! (finally she thinks of that)

Children with attention deficit disorder should be taught outside as "they can't bounce off the walls there". The difference for small boys is amazing. I have always thought it was torture to be cooped but in a hot reeking classroom and not
...more
Mike
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
As much as I wanted to love this book, and was excited to finally get my hands on it, I found the material to be presented in such a dry and slogging format I was relieved to finally finish it. The author's writing style tends to focus chapters on key studies or events going on, and takes what should be a 5-10 page story and extends it into something much longer. This book could have been 1/3 the length with the same takeaways and would have been better.
Laura Leaney
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I already spend as much time as I can outside, so reading Florence Williams's book was a great affirmation of my devotion to all things in nature: oceans, rivers, lakes, birds, predators, trees, and more trees. Preaching to the already converted is an easy job - but I fervently wish that more institutions would pay attention to the deep physiological/psychological connection that human beings have with nature. Schools should incorporate more outside activities and studies. Buildings should be co ...more
Melissa Crytzer Fry
I don’t review a great number of nonfiction on Goodreads, but to those who know me (and my penchant for fiction writing that includes sensory nature descriptions), it’s probably no surprise that this book had been on my radar for a long while.

For years, I’ve grown increasingly alarmed at the rapid rate at which humans have disconnected from nature. I probably really started to notice it when my nephew – now 18 -- was growing up glued to an electronic screen, instead of playing outside and lookin
...more
KC
Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for anyone who is in a rut, unhappy, or even for those who already embrace and benefit from the great outdoors. Thorough and thought provoking text. Nature really can be a wonderful pill for all that ails you.
Mario the lone bookwolf
The beliefs of indigenous peoples gain new quality from this point of view.

Please note that I have put the original German text to the end of this review. Just if you might be interested.

It would be interesting if the biodiversity and biodiversity in an environment further enhance the positive effect. Whether natural space is not equal to natural space. That a monoculture of spruce, a cornfield, etc. has less positive power. Whether a varied area, in which different habitats and climatic zones a
...more
Erin
Feb 21, 2017 rated it liked it
The book doesn't flow well. It's basically chapters (short stories) of how other countries experience and interact with nature. All I could think when reading it was that the author wanted to visit all these cool places and the book was an afterthought (and what paid for the trips).

The ending still didn't give me the closure or cohesive-ness that this book greatly needed.

Good ideas, just poorly executed and not really enjoyable to read.
Laura
Apr 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
Very dry and boring, very little about the science behind the premise. It was mostly about this woman's nature hikes with various professionals who take "city people" out into nature for a couple hours. The "proof" as evidenced by lower vital signs is so little that natural variation throughout the day is easily twice or more, so basically it proves nothing. Found myself skimming, and decided to dnf it. Life's too short to read crappy books.
Vanessa
Aug 09, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I just didn't get on with this. I'd heard mostly good things about The Nature Fix on the By the Book podcast, so when I needed to use up a bunch of Audible credits it seemed like the perfect opportunity to pick it up. Maybe that was my mistake though, because it's kind of hard to tell if I didn't like this book because of the book itself or because of the audiobook narration.

I didn't notice that this audiobook wasn't narrated by the author on picking it up, and that was my main mistake to be hon
...more
Rachel León
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017, 2017
(3.5 stars, rounded up because this book inspired me to get outside more)

Florence Williams outlines why getting into nature is so essential for our health and well being. She also talks about the implications of all the time we spend "plugged in." I have always loved being in nature, but my introvert default mode is to curl up on the couch. This book reminded me of how good I feel when I'm in nature, how much clearer I think, and how much more creative I am. Overall, it's an interesting read.
Esther Marie
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Truly more of a 3.5 stars than a 4 for me, BUT it definitely made me think and since I'm an earlier reviewer it seems mean to curve downwards.

I am reviewing an advance reading copy.

The strength of this book is the skill that Williams has with setting a scene. Her descriptions are very visual and engaging. My favorite chapters were about nature therapy and the role of nature within society in both Japan and Korea. She also does a good job of citing her sources, which is something that writers i
...more
Emily Crow
The subject matter is fascinating--the author travels around the world, talks to researchers, and participates in different projects that are attempting to demonstrate all the different ways that being around nature is good for us. Some of the projects were kind of goofy, like virtual reality treadmills or taking walks with EEGs on her head, others made me wish I could experience them as well, such as Japanese forest bathing or a therapeutic kayaking trip.

I'm less enthusiastic about Williams' w
...more
Schuyler
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Psychology and sociology books are some of my favorite, so naturally I was excited when I heard about this book. So I was a little disappointed when I couldn't really get into this book which seemed to be more focused on the author's journey during her study of nature's effects on people and cultures.

What I liked:
The fun tidbits from studies about the effects of nature on people
The author's enthusiasm about nature

What I didn't like:
The author sharing her opinions of everyday things unrelated to
...more
Allie
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
I am really shocked at the high reviews on this one. I was less than unimpressed.
Shiloah
This book is jam-packed with information. She has a spunky sense of humor. I enjoyed this thoroughly and learned bunches.
Holly
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-reads
Well-balanced and extremely interesting (like her earlier book on Breasts). Sort of reminded of Mary Roach. I'm disappointed that I missed hearing Williams speak when she was in town recently.
Paul
If you go back millennia, the early human mind developed several elements to help it survive, fight or flight, communication and the ability to think strategically. Being immersed in the natural world all day must have had a deeper impact too as it is only over the past few years that the effects of us not having much contact with nature are becoming startlingly apparent.

There has always been a theory that being outdoors is good for you, but to prove that just being outdoors does have a real ef
...more
Marigold
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: medical, biology
Time spent in nature is restorative, creativeizing, anxiety busting, miraculous. This book explains how this has been explored by scientists looking to prove and explain nature's benefits.

The Nature Fix felt disjointed to me, hopping around the world and briefly visiting scientists or forest rangers. It wasn't until I was near the end of this book that I realized the connections between its message and what I try to do at work. The accumulated evidence of measurable positive impact achieved thr
...more
Shelly
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I’ve been missing the outdoors of Wisconsin lately. (Easier to do during the summer and early fall. Though my son loves Wisconsin winters.) So this book is a good match for me. It’s an exploration of the science of nature’s effect on people. I liked how she went to several countries and shared their research and programs. A couple chapters seemed a little repetitive but she made up for that by following up those chapters with ones on vets with PTSD and children with ADHD.
Deanna
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Super informative and fun little read about nature and yourself and your body. Though I didn't get to read it in nature just reading it kind of made me feel better. I love being outside and I honestly feel so much better surrounded by trees and wildlife and after reading this book I've been convinced that I need to buy a log cabin in the middle of nowhere so thanks for that haha
Kelly
Have you gotten your 5 hours of recommended nature time this month?

(I'm writing this now, as I sit outside, enjoying the bird songs, the buzz of lawnmowers, and the wind whipping around the budding leaves).

A great book about why we need nature, how it improves our bodies and minds, and why it's such a thing we've become disconnected from across the globe. A nice companion to both of Robin Wall Kimmerer's books.

My one complaint is that the production on the audiobook isn't spectacular. The perf
...more
Sarah Booth
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great book researching how time in nature effects us. Scientific studies where we find that being outside or in nature compared to the city or a control had an effect on blood pressure and other bodily functions in a positive way. We have become greatly removed from nature and our health has started to show it. Worth taking a look at!
Norrisjackie
Enjoyable non fiction - not too dry or academic. Short answer seems to be that we aren’t sure why nature has so many positive impacts on health (both mental and physical) but it does and you should spend more time in it.
Leesa
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just a beautiful book, esp if you love trees, awe, birds &c &c. I love these things v much and need them in my life every day all the time. Nature really does make (most of) us feel better and she lays out a LOT of reasons why...from all over the world. A lovely mix of science and feeling, I devoured this book and also, it made me feel good. A gem. ...more
John Lamb
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most likely I will bring this book up with a gathering of people indoors and it will remind me that I really don't want to be with a gathering of people indoors.
L.P. Logan
Alright. This book is the perfect kick in the pants that you've been waiting for. The one that is going to tell you to stop reading this review right now, and go outside. You'll be happier if you do. Science has proven that you will be dramatically more happy, and healthy, and creative, and chill simply by going outside and getting back in touch with nature. You know, that place where wild animals roam and there is nary a concrete patch to be seen?

In all honesty its a great read, very informativ
...more
Robin
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I picked up The Nature Fix, knowing from experience that exposing oneself to nature is food for the body, mind and soul - but still I was curious. This is a smart, thought provoking feast of information from kids with ADHD to soldiers coming back suffering from PTSD and just your every day person who like many are suffering from nature deficiency with the explosion of technical devices and who are more apt to stare down at their phones than up at the sky or the horizon or to notice a beautiful s ...more
Jess
May 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, 2018
I've been kind of slacking on the nonfiction front lately, but this book was just what I needed to give me a push. Williams has such a great approach to her work, integrating personal anecdotes without coming across as patronizing or silly. The book takes you to Japan and South Korea to Scotland and D.C., exploring the research around nature's impact on our happiness and health. Since I've made hiking a regular weekend activity, I've noticed the silent benefits of time outdoors – better sleep, m ...more
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Florence Williams is a contributing editor at Outside magazine, and her articles and essays have been widely anthologized. Breasts was named a finalist for the 2011 Columbia/Nieman Lukas Work-in-Progress Award. Williams lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Articles featuring this book

Have more reading time these days, but don't know where to begin? We're here to help! We've asked some of your favorite authors to sugges...
458 likes · 179 comments
“Here are some of the essential take-homes: we all need nearby nature: we benefit cognitively and psychologically from having trees, bodies of water, and green spaces just to look at; we should be smarter about landscaping our schools, hospitals, workplaces and neighborhoods so everyone gains. We need quick incursions to natural areas that engage our senses. Everyone needs access to clean, quiet and safe natural refuges in a city. Short exposures to nature can make us less aggressive, more creative, more civic minded and healthier overall. For warding off depression, lets go with the Finnish recommendation of five hours a month in nature, minimum. But as the poets, neuroscientists and river runners have shown us, we also at times need longer, deeper immersions into wild spaces to recover from severe distress, to imagine our futures and to be our best civilized selves.” 8 likes
“Distilling what I learned, I came up with a kind of ultrasimple coda: Go outside, often, sometimes in wild places. Bring friends or not. Breathe.” 7 likes
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