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on 8 April 2017
This book is superb both as a refresher and educator...oh it's good humoured with extra bits and more😂
Well worth 5 stars and I take mine everywhere and really enjoy having a quick flick through when out with friends and pretending am I knowledgable on all things outdoors! 😂
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on 4 September 2014
We should want to connect with nature because it “will make you a more interesting and effective person”, says Tristan Gooley. Being more aware of our surroundings and making more of a connection with our world is enriching, and that is a good in itself.

But how do we do that? ‘Nature’ is big and vague at first glance, and there’s so much we don’t know. So Gooley starts with us. He runs through our senses and how we can use each of them to notice more – what can we feel, hear, and smell? The book gets us noticing things, and then provides some basic guidelines for interpreting the “big green chaos” of nature. For example, everything needs water, so where you find water, you find more life. Or another: “all land is based on some kind of rock”. A few simple rules and you can start to make generalisations about the landscape, putting two and two together to work out its geological history, what habitats it may contain and what you can expect to see. It is this sort of ‘detective’ work that the author finds so exciting, and his enthusiasm is infectious.

A book about connecting with nature could be pretentious and flaky, but this is too full of childlike joy to be so easily dismissed. Like E O Wilson, who is a clear influence here, Gooley finds fascinating things in everyday places and ordinary life. There’s poetry in his turns of phrase, but he’s also practical and often irreverent. If you don’t get on with latin names for things, just call plants what you like. If plants aren’t your thing, there are rocks or planets or insects or weather or any number of other things you may find more interesting. “Nature isn’t one big pile of stuff”, as Gooley unceremoniously puts it. I should also mention that it’s a very funny book, full of tongue in cheek ideas and little tangents.
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on 28 April 2017
Gooley explains that humans are programmed to be drawn to conflict, hence the perennial appeal of sex and violence and he goes onto show us how both of these are all round us every day in nature and how nature is all about war and conflict.

He picks out some obscure but fascinating insights like, “Plants react to colours blue the way a plant grows, while if we wear red we will influence it’s time keeping. The process by which plants grow towards light is called phototropism and is only influenced by blue light. Red light, on the other hand, influences and photoperiodism, which governs the plant’s sensitivity to the time of year.”

This little guide is bursting with interesting facts and stories about nature, like the Jarawa tribe of the Andaman Islands and how they managed to save themselves from the full brunt of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami because they could read their environment so well and took action by moving to higher ground. He smashes the tabloid myths of plants responding to music or various accents, insisting that there is actually no scientific evidence to back them up whatsoever.

At one point Gooley offers a list of fifteen building blocks that can help to explain almost everything you see in nature. They are all interesting in their own ways and fall between the slightly obvious, such as Such as no 8. “All land is based on rocks of some kind.” to the ‘oh I never thought of it that way before’, like No 4. “Predators tend to work alone if they are going for small prey or in packs if they are going after very large prey.” I found no 11 really interesting, “Some rocks, like granite, lead to soil above them that is acidic and some, like chalk, form soil that is alkaline.”

It was interesting to learn about the so called chemical eavesdropping, he clarifies, “If a poplar tree picks up the scent of other trees being attacked by insects, it produces more of the toxic compounds that inhibit the growth of its enemy.” The book is filled with little nuggets like this and they really help enhance and broaden our understanding of nature and allow us to see how much more complex, exciting and endless it all is and he shows us through a series of exercises just how we can draw so much more reward from it and gain a better understanding and appreciation for it.
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on 9 July 2014
A good author who puts the message across in a easy to follow method. Always something to learn when walking the dog, and my eyes are now more open to the surroundings. Trouble is...my memory can't recall everything I've read, so a good volume for reference.
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on 20 March 2014
This book is a little gem. I would recommend this book for all to read. From those may just be curious about nature to those already well and truly connected. A surprisingly fast paced book, cleverly put together, packed full of thought provoking stories, facts and fun exercises, that can be done outside or on the sofa. Don't expect to be sat around for long, the authors enthusiasm is infectious and I can assure you that you'll want to get outside to try the many techniques this book offers and perhaps, even experience the world, in a more profound and delightful way.
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on 23 June 2014
Go out into the countryside, the park, the garden or even tend your windowbox.You will connect with nature more meaningfully by pursuing your activity of choice in whatever natural surroundings are available to you, than by reading this book.
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on 23 June 2014
Fully met with my expectations and gave clear and concise examples of the items being examined. I found it to be thoroughly absorbing and refreshingly exhilarating.
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on 23 May 2016
I suppose I was expecting something more 'philosophical' but it was okay anyway. Interesting reading.
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on 6 September 2014
A very interesting book, full of gems about how to read the clues nature presents to us
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on 10 December 2014
Emmanently readable.
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