The Na­ture In­stinct: Re­learn­ing Our Sixth Sense for the In­ner Work­ings of the Nat­u­ral World

Tris­tan Goo­ley

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Nonfiction -

The Ex­per­i­ment (OC­TO­BER) Hard­cover $24.95 (400pp), 978-1-61519-479-7

Tris­tan Goo­ley’s The Na­ture In­stinct is an ap­proach­able sci­en­tific guide that uses ob­ser­va­tions of the sky and the wild to reteach hu­man in­stincts thought to be lost to tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments and mod­ern in­door liv­ing.

Goo­ley, an ex­pe­di­tion guide and ad­ven­turer, has vast sci­en­tific and ex­pe­ri­en­tial knowl­edge to draw from. He presents these tech­niques in an eas­ily ap­pli­ca­ble way. The book is di­vided into top­i­cal sec­tions, with fo­cuses on an­i­mals and their be­hav­iors, re­ac­tions, and habits; plants and their growth, re­pro­duc­tion, and habi­tats; and clues read in the sun, clouds, and stars of the sky. The di­rec­tional growth of trees tells sto­ries about wind pat­terns and weather pre­dic­tions, just as the paths that deer fol­low when spooked tell of sur­round­ing dan­gers, ter­rain, and an­i­mal be­hav­ior.

See­ing and un­der­stand­ing such clues can help with nav­i­gat­ing the wild, lead­ing to knowl­edge­able pro­tec­tions from in­clement weather, an­i­mal dan­gers, or even just un­com­fort­able bug bites. The words and ideas of his­tor­i­cal ad­ven­tur­ers, philoso­phers, and poets also con­tain les­sons about na­ture; The Na­ture In­stinct pulls from many sources to con­vey its var­i­ous im­por­tant ob­ser­va­tions.

With a lit­tle prac­tice and some time spent qui­etly in na­ture, our lost in­stincts can, and do, come back, the book prom­ises. Prac­tice notic­ing the shapes of trees and clouds, it en­cour­ages; within those shapes, a wealth of knowl­edge emerges. Shad­ows in­di­cate times and sea­sons; a com­pass can be drawn us­ing the stars. The growth of lichen on a tree can in­di­cate di­rec­tions; the bark on a tree tells its life story.

The Na­ture In­stinct is an im­per­a­tive book for out­doors en­thu­si­asts but also con­tains im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion for any­one who spends time out­side. Goo­ley’s book is a com­pre­hen­sive guide to gain­ing back what was lost; it will help its au­di­ence ap­pre­ci­ate na­ture and an­i­mals with a new set of eyes. KATIE ASHER

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