Monday, June 25, 2018

Book Review: Wild Signs and Star Paths by Tristan Gooley

The latest book by my Arctic sailing friend, the Natural Navigator Tristan Gooley is called Wild Signs and Star Paths with sub-title The Keys to our Lost Sixth Sense.

What does that mean, you might be wondering? It does sound rather "mystical"....but is that in a good way?

I must admit I didn't get it at first... it seemed more guidance on how to read nature by looking at the shape of trees, but then a light-bulb went off and I suddenly it clicked in a just brilliant way.

This book about synergy and thought, how we think about nature and how our ancestors thought about nature, about how the brain works and how nature works. A tree can't be considered in isolation, it is part of a system, it influences the system, it is a sign as to the environment, which is then an indicator of what else to look for.

It's full of good science, about how neurons work and the difference between our brain's neural net when working in unconscious (or fast) mode and how that compares and compliments the conscious or algorithmic (slow) mode. There's more, considering how micro-climates and soil types drive species that can be found and the symbiotic relationship between plants and animals. It also connects to anthropology and how cultures connected strongly to nature retain and transfer their knowledge, including stories and myths.

It is at times lyrical, with beautiful writing about the relationships within environments and connections to our deep past.

Strongly recommended!

Full disclosure: as noted Tristan is a friend but the copy I read was a present from a family member, not provided by the publisher

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