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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

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  258 ratings  ·  47 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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3.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  258 ratings  ·  47 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 though 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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
J.S. Graustein
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well written and engaging, though as an ecologist I found many things were more of a review than a revelation. For anyone who doesn't have a background in natural studies, this book is a great introduction to the subject.
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 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 This year I started my reading journey with an attempt to learn more about nature. I ended up picking Tristan Gooley’s book The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs, for which I wrote a very passionate review at the beginning of April. I also got a hold of Gooley’s book How to Read Water which has been on my TBR for a while but I got the chance to browse through it. Naturally I requested How to Read Nature as soon as I was notified that it will be published this year on August 22. I came to th ...more
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
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
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
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
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
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
Jun 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Very short/quick read. Easy to get distracted while reading because the author doesn't go too in depth about anything. He gives some activities to help you reconnect with nature, but it isn't really the best in audiobook format. You don't really want to interrupt your audiobook to go do the activities, and you can't really reference them at a later date as you could with print... I'm finding that it's easier for me to stick with fiction on audio. I keep getting distracted when I try to listen to ...more
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
There were several interesting 'tricks' in this book that I enjoyed however the overall message is something that's probably already appreciated by the people that would choose to read this book.

I'm short be observant of nature - notice the rhythms it follows.

Other actionable advice :
* Find the cardinal points using natural means
* Estimate the time using similar methods.
Robert Lewter
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book. If you enjoy the outdoors, read it. It will fine tune your perspective. If you don't enjoy the outdoors, read it and try what it suggests and I think it will change your heart about the real world.
Aaron Akbar
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, I'm not sure about the mixed reviews. It was simple and pleasant, and insightful. The title vibes a possible spiritual aspect, but this wasn't present within. It was more about finding wonder and whimsy within the facts, connections, endless complexities of the natural world.
Mary Beth
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was a good read but it wasn't what I expected. I thought it would be more hands on guidance. It is basically a starter book for you to read before you dig in deeper to learn more of natures hidden clues and answers. I enjoyed reading it. I will always look at nature differently now.
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2018: Read a book about nature
Kami Weeks
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting take on observing nature and honing outdoor skills - two things I have always enjoyed.
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
A little too introductory for me. I probably will read his more in-depth books such as The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs.
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