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How to Read Nature: Awaken Your Senses to the Outdoors You've Never Noticed
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How to Read Nature: Awaken Your Senses to the Outdoors You've Never Noticed

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  517 ratings  ·  79 reviews
Equal parts alfresco inspiration, interesting factoids, how-to instructions and self-help advice.”—The Wall Street Journal

When most of us go for a walk, a single sense—sight—tends to dominate our experience. But when New York Times–bestselling author and expert navigator Tristan Gooley goes for a walk, he uses all five senses to “read” everything nature has to offer. A si
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published October 3rd 2017 by The Experiment
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Average rating 3.46  · 
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 ·  517 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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Jun 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
My thanks to NetGalley and The Experiment for an eARC copy of this book to read and review.

This is a very difficult book to review. It seemed to me to be a mishmash of different genres, or a dumbing down of a scientific topic for the masses.

What makes me say this is that at times it feels rather memoir-y and personal to the author, which was fine, no complaints. But other parts were more of what I expected, nature and some science behind it. Only the science didn't really blow me away. No citati
Mitchell Dietrich
Aug 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
I’ll save you time of reading the book. Go outside and watch what happens. That’s it. I thought the book would be more in-depth than that.
Paula Cappa
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I got this book from my library. Great little experience in learning how to focus more on absorbing and observing nature. But connecting to nature is the ultimate goal here. A very practical guide with exercises and thoughtful stimulation. One special aspect is that the author recognizes that “we do not all get the same ride. Each of us experiences different peaks and troughs of wakefulness each day.” So, our individuality with nature is highly significant. You are you own authority here in lear ...more
Nov 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2017
Pay attention. Be curious. Learn.
More of a reminder than an education, but a pleasant little journey.
A good introductory text on how to read and become aware of nature. Short, and therefore limited in scope, hopping from topic to topic, which acts well to pique interest and would easily lead off into reading in more detail for those interested. UK-based, so not directly translatable to other countries, but the lessons could still be applied to other landscapes.
Jason Pettus
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Logging the last of my 2017 reads today so that they'll count towards this year's Reading Challenge totals. Full review coming in early 2018.
Ed Erwin
Jul 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A short book about learning to pay attention to the nature around you. The examples in the book are mostly from the English countryside, but you can apply the lessons to things around you. I already pay a great deal of attention to the things around me, humans excepted. For example, I noticed that the (unnamed) font in this edition had a profusion of lovely ligatures not usually present. Mr. Gooley teaches that you can tell which direction is south by looking carefully at the shapes of trees, or ...more
Sarah Booth
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nature can tell you a lot about the time date season and location if you learn to read the signs. This book gives you examples of how nature informed our ancestors about the world around them so they didn’t need gadgets. Now the average person has no clue as to these skills. This book will make you think about getting in closer contact with Nature and want to learn to read what she has to say.
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
An inspiring little book which heartily encourages the reader to engage with nature by looking more closely at their surroundings and by allowing themselves to be curious about what they encounter with their senses no matter how humble. The author convincingly proposes that this endeavor to connect with nature, besides being good for us, can result in truly inspired originality in our thinking and creative ideas.
Douglas Lord
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a superior book with a simple, modest goal: fix the world. Well, it could if everybody read it seriously and absorbed its wisdom. Gooley’s advice is unpretentious: use your senses to sense stuff outside. You see trees? Good—what kinds? Which way are they blowing? What can the height of a tree tell you about its health, the water supply, the types of animals and vegetables that live in and near it? This isn’t secret knowledge, it’s right there in the open. Gooley doesn’t want readers to b ...more
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good little book to get people started on a path to a closer connection to Mother Nature. As someone who has spent a good deal of my time outdoors throughout my life, I didn't really get anything out of the book - beyond a good reminder to get out and make a conscious choice to connect. However, I do believe it would be good for people who want to connect, but don't know where to start.

I think I am convinced that I want to get my hands on the author's other books, tho. Not to mention the nice l
Aug 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Short and engaging introduction to why it is worth cultivating an interest in the natural world and how to organize your interest so it becomes more productive rather than overwhelming. This subject matter is a part of my job so I am inclined to agree with the author. Not sure how convincing this would be to someone for whom nature leaves them cold. Also I didn’t really buy the argument that being interested in nature makes you more interesting to others. But, he did a good job at describing wha ...more
Apr 29, 2019 rated it liked it
I liked the premise of this book, encouraging folks to go out and just explore nature in its most basic forms. But it also felt a little shame-y. I felt the author had some vendetta against the modern era and technology. Folks can do both! Love those video games AND love nature. It's not one or the other. I still read the whole book and learned some interesting things.
Mar 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting but not quite what I expected.
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A quick and enjoyable read that strengthened both my love and understanding for nature. This book is a great introductory tool to hone in on your awareness to your surroundings, which will enhance your life and make it more interesting. I’m super duper proud of myself for being able to identify changes in the weather by observing the clouds, which I learned from this book! I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves nature and wants to get more out their experiences in it.

Fun facts from th
Ashton Ostrander
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A quick read with a long lasting impression.
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent book! I wish I had the time to become the person that he seems to believe I can be! I, and everone around me would be infinitely better for it. He advocates not an atavistic return to nature, nor any engagement that focuses low on maslow's hierarchy, but an engagement that speaks to the high hanging fruit in life - that makes us want to live fuller and richer lives. Thanks Tristan
May 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: science
This isn't really a how-to book. There are no step-by-step instructions, and while there are some exercises included, they don't form anything like a curriculum. A better title would be "A selection of ways to experience new aspects of nature, and why you should care."

Reading this book is alternately fascinating and frustrating, but more often the latter. Gooley jumps topics nearly every paragraph, none of the (sometimes questionable) science is cited, and the tone often wanders into the evange
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
"If we are dressed in blue we can change the way a plant grows, while if we wear red we will influence its timekeeping."

"We can last three minutes without air, three hours without warmth, three days without water , and three weeks without food."

"Plants are either poisonous, edible, or of little interest."

"Join the horns of a crescent moon in a straight line and extend this line down to the horizon and you will be looking roughly south."

"Satellite dishes in the east coast generally point southwes
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: health-env-food
I loved everything about this book - subject matter, brevity, accessibility, muscular writing style, fun factoids, but probably most of all, that it was equal parts practical and inspirational.

The author, a Nature Navigator and instructor from the UK, strips away the confusion and overwhelm (and the Latin species names) to lay out his 15 "building blocks" of the natural world. For example, #8: All land is based on rocks of some kind. #9: Some rocks, like chalk, are porous and some, like slate,
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very quick read being a short 160 pages. We live in a high stress world, everything happening right now. We're well along the way to losing our sense of perspective. Yes, we can stop and smell the roses. If this particular rose is fragrant it might distract us for a moment. Maybe we take a picture and post it on social media. But then it's gone and we find ourselves taking the next picture.

Tristan Gooley's How to Read Nature bring us to the point of our picture and has us stop to think about w
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Nice, short book. I'd give it a 4 if there were colour picture of the plants and trees he's talking about. One was the prickly lettuce. It can point out north /south direction line, since that's the directions its leaves grow in. Neat huh? But only a b/w drawing of the plant. I need something more obvious if i'm going to recognise it. Since i have a computer, i looked up 'prickly lettuce' and found it was a weed i cultivated in my garden last year. By the time i figured it was a weed- or wild fl ...more
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever seen Wall-E? Do yo remember when they arrived on the planet and needed a crash course about life on Earth and how to crawl out of the spaceship?. I think you know where I am heading with this. How to Read Nature aims to help you notice your natural surroundings and awaken to a more nature-mindful you. It is a spark, an introductory approach to nature and how you can understand and interact with it through natural navigation. What the book is not, is a specialized guide for those wh ...more
Jan 08, 2018 rated it liked it
I've read bits of Gooley—and about Gooley—previously, but hadn't ever read one of his books. I'm going to read How To Read Water: Clues, Signs & Patterns from Puddles to the Sea next, if only because a) I think it has to be better than this, and b) he clearly knows his stuff, even if this wasn't particularly good.

To be fair: All of the exercises he describes in this book, and the ways he asks readers to change their thinking, are things I've done as an outdoor educator. I could have written a ve
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
I really enjoyed the author's tone and passion about the outdoors. This was a quick easy read with 15 exercises to help the reader explore and contemplate nature. The most informative part of the book, apart from the exercises, is the chapter on the Big Relationships. Here the author lists 15 building blocks that prepares us for contemplating the finer connections and ultimately reading nature, which is at the heart of this book.

I considered giving this book 5 stars, though it was a little light
C.W. Roe
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I recently reread this book after sharing it with a loved one. I appreciate it for many of the same reasons that I come back to Sigard Olson's "The Singing Wilderness" and William Longgood's "The Queen Must Die and Other Affairs of Bees and Men." I have known these books for decades, but each time I revisit them, I recognize that what I know about myself over the intervening years grows and changes as well. Nature, and those who observe it closely as these authors have, doesn't always teach us a ...more
Very disappointing to be honest.
Please do not waste your $16 on this book.

The author is extremely credible and knowledgeable on this subject, but failed to present that in this book. He only went into depth about our senses and nature for about 20 pages and the rest was rubbish.
I’m sure he came from a good place and meant well! However, I felt he was trying way too hard to write poetically.
Maybe his other books are good. I don’t know.

If you TRULY want to read nature, let go of your ignorance bro
Aug 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Nice easy read but doesn't provide much in terms of content. He teases at a lot of things and offers scant nuggets of wisdom that I feel can be summarized in bullet points. I feel like the premise of this book could've been summed up in one sentence: be mindful.

Nevertheless, there were a FEW helpful takeaways and it did put me on the course towards learning more about nature navigation. However, when I go to his books to see more of his work it seems like he makes a living teasing and spoon fee
Dana Kraft
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
I knew this was an introductory book on the subject but it was way more basic than I expected. I'm certainly no expert, but I like hiking and being outdoors. I would compare the level of info to what you would get on any ranger program at a state or national park. I love those programs, but they're much more interesting when you're standing outside looking at something specific than when you sitting on a couch reading a book. I'm going to try his book on reading water in hopes that it will offer ...more
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
It had some good exercises to follow about enhancing your senses to 'read' nature. I expected more information similar to what he provided about the trees being shorter due to the direction of the wind. I recall my friend's daughter saying if moss is growing on a tree, that is the side that faces north. She said she learned that on a Scooby Doo cartoon. That's the type of information I was expecting. It did have many things, including how nature works and is interconnected (altitude, wind, veget ...more
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You know the saying: There's no time like the present...unless you're looking for a distraction from the current moment. In that case, we can't...
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“There comes a moment when these basic activities allow us to meet our ancestors briefly. Glancing past some nettles, we catch a glimpse of their hairy faces smiling back at us and grunting something to the effect of, “We might have been savages, but we weren’t idiots,” before they slope off to settle a mild dispute by clubbing someone to death. Fortunately, we can enjoy the best of both worlds: It is possible to revel in the satisfaction of fundamental activities without the need to witness blunt trauma.” 1 likes
“WE WILL ALL develop a sudden interest in natural medicine if it promises a cure for a problem that is otherwise hard to tackle. The same children who recognize a stinging nettle so easily because of its painful effects learn their first natural medicine in the form of the dock leaf that can be rubbed on stings to make them less painful. Dock leaves do contain an antihistamine that may help soothe the sting, but the efficacy of this is still debated by scientists. The same scientists who are happy to refute the value of a dock leaf indoors are probably as likely as any of us to reach for one when stung outdoors. That is the difference between empirical knowledge and painful ankles.” 0 likes
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