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The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs: Use Outdoor Clues to Find Your Way, Predict the Weather, Locate Water, Track Animals-and Other Forgotten Skills
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The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs: Use Outdoor Clues to Find Your Way, Predict the Weather, Locate Water, Track Animals-and Other Forgotten Skills

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  2,197 ratings  ·  261 reviews
Gooley’s more than two decades of pioneering outdoor experience include research among the Dayak people of Borneo and the Tuareg of the Sahara. With his first book, The Natural Navigator, he started a renaissance in the rare art of reading nature’s clues.

Now, in The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs , Gooley has compiled more than 850 outdoor tips—many not found in an
Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Published August 26th 2015 by The Experiment (first published July 31st 2015)
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Tristan Hi Sarah,
Thanks for your interest in my books.
I go to great lengths to avoid covering the same ground twice. There are examples of clues or signs th…more
Hi Sarah,
Thanks for your interest in my books.
I go to great lengths to avoid covering the same ground twice. There are examples of clues or signs that appear in more than one book, but there is always a good reason for each occasion.
If I had to pluck a figure out of the air, I'd say each book is 95% unique.

Hope that helps, but lots more on each book here:
There are a couple of different titles for the same book in different regions, mainly UK/US, but that is explained on the website too.
Happy navigating,
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  2,197 ratings  ·  261 reviews

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Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Should be titled "Some vague tips about noticing your landscape, if you find yourself in the middle of a long walk in Britain without the aid of a GPS."

This book indeed had a different title in the UK, where it was originally published and with respect to its intended audience. Disappointing for the Yankees suckered in by its misleading title.

M.E. Kinkade
This book is excellent, in that it is full of really cool facts and you'll come away with all kinds of obscure knowledge that you can use to annoy and mystify people with (hey, did you know "moonbows" are a thing? It's like a rainbow but at night!).

But it's also virtually impossible to just sit down and read as it lacks almost all narrative structure and is fundamentally like the guy you've just met at a party who decides to tell you everything he knows about roots; you're bored, but you sit and
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ironically, when I choose this book to review I was looking forwarding to using it as a way to understand and enjoy the outdoors more than I have and boost my skills. It turned out that I wound up in the hospital for several weeks during the publishing date and I decided to read it anyway. How lucky I was. Not only did this city girl learn more than I thought possible about the outdoors but it also gave me an escape, an education and a way out of the hospital to new adventures in my mind. I thin ...more
Russ Mckell
i wanted to like this book but it had several problems. first, it's set in great britain and so much of the plants, trees, and weather he references has more application to there than north america. second, it is basically just a large list of facts and interesting tidbits that have been divided my type. this would be a FANTASTIC reference book - if you're interested in trees, go to the section on trees; if you're interested in plants, go to the section on plants, and so on. reading this from st ...more
A delightful easy reading guide to reading one's surroundings. The book won't qualify you as Ferdinand Magellan or Vasco da Gama but will make walks around the countryside and even towns more interesting.

The interspersion of the author's trips to the wilds of Borneo were also interesting, especially how some techniques were adaptable whereas others were not used by indigenous people.

Fortunate to have been taught map-reading and survival techniques when a young man there was still much I learnt
Aug 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For me, this book was amazing. For years, I have been trying to improve my observation of the world around me, with limited success. This book has bumped me to the next level, as it has tied in with prior reading (indeed the author's previous book was one piece of this reading, but it wasn't that prior book that led me to grok it!) and some observational and tracking training I have had, and just helped it all gel.

Don't get me wrong, I still have a huge distance to go with this, but this book h
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads
I don't usually buy books, but I am so happy that I bought this one. I read it cover to cover the first time, and am now going back to study individual sections. This will be an excellent reference book. I'm thrilled to explain some of the things I have learned to my sweet kindergartener. You will find this book on my bookshelf ten years from now with a worn cover, dirt stains and years of notes in the margins.
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
Ok book had some good tips. I especially liked the astronomy tips at navigation and some good observations of nature and how to find things. Not bad.
I have the same opinion of the book its ok.
Betsy Nelson
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wander
There's a lot of information, but jumbled together and with very few illustrations. I found it difficult to follow or learn from. The author certainly knows a lot about nature signs, but (to me) his way of sharing his knowledge does nothing to improve my understanding.
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It started out very slow and seemed like the author was just throwing out a lot of information. The deeper I got into the book, the more I enjoyed it. Some things were explained beautifully, others left you hanging. The author could have used more pictures and diagrams. The ones he did use were quite helpful in explaining the material. At times, it seemed a bit of a slog to get through the material. I would rate it a 3.5, since that was not available, I rounded up.
3/14/17 $2.99 for Kindle.
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was without a doubt in my mind one of the most enlightening and useful books that I've ever read. It took me almost six months to finish because I took my time meticulously reading every detail, understanding every concept (save for most of those involved with positioning of constellations and phases of the moon, which take a bit more practice to thoroughly understand), and putting into practice what I've read as I hike.

A lot of what's detailed in here comes down to common sense, but doesn
Kristina Rogers
If the idea of a nature walk with Sherlock Holmes across an English countryside appeals to you, where every pebble, breeze and passing butterfly can be used to predict the weather, time of day and cardinal direction, then this book is for you!

It turns out that though I really like the idea of that, in actuality I wasn’t prepared to soak in all of the necessary minutiae. There are so many facts and patterns and tricks presented that the barrage of new knowledge became overwhelming and I could onl
Nov 25, 2017 marked it as xx-dnf-skim-reference  ·  review of another edition
Skimming to see if I should recommend it to my dad, so he can get even more out of his hikes. Esp. difficult to tell as the author is based in the UK; much applies anywhere, but much is also local/ regional (as he does try to clarify at each relevancy).

I'm not reading it. Too dry, too hard to understand in the abstract from w/in my home. A different organizational scheme, perhaps more anecdotal examples in a different typeface or sidebars, or perhaps more of a bullet-point setup, or something el
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I was first intrigued by one of the author's other books, "How to Read Water." As an American, I have never seen him (the only living person to have both sailed and flown over the Atlantic, evidently) on television or even heard about him, as people in England may have from some celebrity trekking through the wilderness show they have over there. But the idea of reading water interested me. I just wasn't sure it would interest me for an entire book. So I went with one of his more general ones.

Tom Schulte
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There was a talk on his book just walking distance from my home. While I missed the event, it made me aware of the book. Come to learn, it was not a local author but a globetrotting walker who has walked from Edinburgh to London and over days with natives in some Asian wilds. Gooley's years of experience coalesces celestial navigation, geological clues reaching back to the Ice Age, animal behavior in sight and sound, trees pushed back by the harsher Northern weather, and more. Even for someone j ...more
David McGrogan
I feel a sense of sadness in giving this book 3-stars, because there is so much about it to like, and I am so clearly its target audience - you couldn't pick a person more likely to be excited by the prospect of reading a book like this. But that is the point: what I am excited by is the prospect of reading a book "like this" and not, unfortunately, the book itself. Parts of it are extremely interesting. But the whole is underwhelming. Is it the rather leaden prose, which never really sings from ...more
Nancy Lewis
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lots of interesting techniques for using your surroundings to glean information - from using the moon and stars for navigation to using tree bark and butterflies to find your way.

See the author's website for more nature-reading tips and tricks; to sign up for the newsletter in which Gooley posts photos of natural situations and we have to guess what's going on; and to find an in-person class if you happen to be in London.
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't able to completely finish reading before the library due date; however, I thoroughly enjoyed the 3/4 that I did read. It's going on my "to-buy" list because it's a wealth of random information about our natural world, easy to pick up anytime for a page or chapter, for inspiration or instigation.
Christine Kenney
This has made the daily bike ride and time spent in the yard fascinating. Lots of reread value.
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biology, 2019, owned
4,5 stars.

I really really liked this book. Wanted to read it before backpacking in Harz, Germany in two weeks. Definitely did not regret that choice! This book is packed with great tips. From wind, sun, stars and water to tracks, animals and trees, it covers a lot of information about our surroundings.
I have learned a lot of things but the most important one is to really actively study my environment, deduct certain things, and focus on small details as they can tell you a lot. This book stimu
Oct 04, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not real accurate. I found myself questioning this book so much that I had to just put it down.
Following on from his previous books, The natural Navigator & The Natural Explorer, Gooley in this one is hoping to expand your knowledge of the natural world. It is a reference work, written to be used to build your knowledge of the outside environment, with lots of examples and is packed with data for you to use and learn.

Using clues from the sky and the flora and fauna around you, he will teach you how to tell the time using the stars, how listening to the sounds that birds make will tell you
Jun 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great guide to “natural navigation” - using the ground, trees, plants, animals and sky to navigate. The book is full of enthusiasm for spotting nature’s clues and certainly after reading it, no walk will be quite the same again! Would benefit from more illustrations or photos to aid understanding and recognition.
M Harris
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: natural-history
I was expecting more outdoor survival type information in here, but it really sticks to the title-- reading nature's signs and using the signs to deduce things about your environment, namely direction, orientation, and lay of the land. Best for someone who is not already "attuned", i.e. probably not veteran outdoorsmen/women or naturalists.
Grumpy Bunny
Firstly, I want to point out this isn't a bad book, however it did fall a wee bit short of what I expected when I opted to read it.
If I were describing it, I'd say, it's more of a memoir, peppered with anecdotal facts relevant to being outdoors.

As a memoir, I give it 3 stars.
As a reference book, 1.5 stars.
Christina Dudley
Wonderful book, but I could tell this indoorsy type wasn't going to retain any of it. If you do walk outdoors in open country, this book could make you an expert navigator and tracker!
Liz VanDerwerken
Interesting and informative. My main complaints are with the editors; I wish this book had been edited better for continuity, as it seems an American edition vs. a UK edition could have been helpful. But overall a great reference and one I hope to return to as I continue with my own outdoor walks and excursions.
Read about 100 pages or so. Long-winded and dull. A few interesting points, but for me it didn't seem to be particularly helpful. Though maybe tracking is something best taught in person, not through a book.
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature-themed
I really enjoyed this book. A lot of the information is useful wherever you are in the world. This is a book that I will continually reference back to in order to better understand our natural world. Highly recommend.
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