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Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows…

Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or…

by Wallace J. Nichols

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Look, maybe I went into this book looking for something it wasn't. Maybe I expected too much from this book.
I, personally, like the sea. I spend my commute shuttling by Dublin Bay, and make an effort to appreciate it, every morning.
But I didn't connect with the writing, which was strong enough at the start and then fizzled into anecdotes and filler and a series of lists. There were lots of stories of, say, Professor Joe, intrepid socio-neuro-biologist, taking his students out into the wilderness, often by the sea, and then asking them to take a test, or quizzing them about their mental state. And they're more relaxed! Blue Mind!
Unless we're talking about the plot of Blue Mind: I Know What You Did Last Summer, in which the professor then begins hunting the college co-eds, and really, they should have known better because his questions and quizzes and field trips to more and more remote watery places was getting creepy. In Blue Minds: Halloween, Professor Joe returns by staying out in the wilderness, accessible only by kayak, paddle board, swan boat, or boogie board, and interviewing unsuspecting campers in their natural habitat. "How do you feel now?" asks Joe, to the frightened campers, huddled around the campfire, wondering if they throw the tin of baked beans at this deranged, wooly mad professor will it make him go away or simply enrage him into Red Mind (which is a whole other movie franchise).
I feel like the main point of the book was 'water is good. Oh, but, if you like extreme sports, those are good too. Just, you know, water is good.' The arguments he makes aren't really arguments, and there's nothing hugely revelatory in the book. 'Take care of the planet, I have this blue marble viral thing you might want to do, your brain relaxes on water and the color blue, unless you think of the things to fear in the ocean, which some people do, being in or near water relaxes you, if you hear the sound of the sea and you are told it's the sound of the sea you'll feel more calm, generally (though if you're told it's the sound of traffic you'll feel more stressed). The ocean supports empathy?'

If you want to read an excellent book that captures the 'stoke' someone like a surfer feels around water, Thad Ziolkowski does an excellent job in his memoir, On A Wave, that would be much more worth your time. ( )
  mhanlon | Sep 5, 2017 |
Makes his point repeatedly. ( )
  DeanClark | Mar 26, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316252085, Hardcover)

A landmark book by marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols on the remarkable effects of water on our health and well-being.

Why are we drawn to the ocean each summer? Why does being near water set our minds and bodies at ease? In BLUE MIND, Wallace J. Nichols revolutionizes how we think about these questions, revealing the remarkable truth about the benefits of being in, on, under, or simply near water. Combining cutting-edge neuroscience with compelling personal stories from top athletes, leading scientists, military veterans, and gifted artists, he shows how proximity to water can improve performance, increase calm, diminish anxiety, and increase professional success.

BLUE MIND not only illustrates the crucial importance of our connection to water-it provides a paradigm shifting "blueprint" for a better life on this Blue Marble we call home.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:15 -0400)

Discusses the importance of humans' connection to water and how people are drawn to being in, on, or around oceans, rivers, and lakes and points to recent findings in neuroscience that indicate that proximity to water can improve mood, performance, health, and success.… (more)

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