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Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 136 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0316252089
ISBN-10: 0316252085
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Editorial Reviews


"Blue Mind is deep down about human curiosity, knowing ourselves more. If J. weren't curious, we wouldn't be where we are now. The sea, once it casts its spell, does indeed hold us in its net of wonder forever. People do protect what they love. Why are these the two simple ideas we repeat so often? Because they're true." ---Celine Cousteau

"...a fascinating study of the emotional, behavioral, psychological and physical connections that keep humans so enchanted with water." ---Washington Post

"The soothing effect of water is both an ancient and intuitive concept, and by 'adding water' to your travels this curative effect is enhanced even further." ---Wanderlust

"If we can figure out why the sea makes us happier, we can save it." ---Outside Magazine

"In this profound study Nichols shares the many ways in which water positively impacts not just our lives, but also our minds. With many citations for the scientifically curious, and numerous anecdotes that entertain, Blue Mind will interest a broad audience, from fans of water sports to ecologists." ---Publisher's Weekly

"Every conservation movement requires sound science and effective communication. Neuro-conservation skillfully utilizes the insight of neuroscience to accomplish both of these goals. Already, Nichols' work is sending ripples throughout the world." ---Bay Nature Magazine

"Beyond the physical gains you'll make, there is also a burgeoning body of research that proves proximity to water can reduce stress and improve mood." ---Self Magazine

"Using a combination of anecdotes and hard data, [Nichols] makes a persuasive case for water's healing power." ---Elle Magazine

"If you're suffering from chronic stress and don't have the power to redesign your city nor the courage to take up skydiving, what can you do about it? Wallace J. Nichols recommends to go wherever you can find water." ---Current Biology

"Nichols wants us to learn to see the ocean differently, and not just because it will make us happier, but because by reimagining it we become able to reimagine ourselves, and by extension our relationship with the world we inhabit." ---The Australian

"A fascinating, fact-based report for aquaphiles and those at one with the tides." ---Kirkus Review

"The implications of this premise are profound; they may revolutionize the way we teach conservation and ecology." ---OnEarth Magazine

"VERDICT: It is impossible not to engage with Nichols as an author; his irrepressible sense of wonder and passion for his subject are simply inspiring." ---Library Journal

"Blue Mind examines how being in and around water affects our emotions and cognition." ---Spirituality & Health Magazine

"If simply being near water boosts happiness, being immersed in it may be even more powerful. The effect is akin to that of meditation..." ---Psychology Today

"A visionary." ---Outside

"Nichols's message is a critical and compelling one." ---David Bennett, Green Team Operations & Innovations, Google

"If your time on our planet needs less stress and more happiness, find your way to Nichols's Blue Mind for the surprisingly simple and joyous ways water can change your life."―Timothy Dykman, Ocean Revolution

"Nichols insists on a more experiential brand of activism, encouraging individuals to encounter the oceans directly, in order to build personal and emotional connections-to get their feet wet."―GQ Magazine

From the Author

I wish you water.  ---J.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (July 22, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316252085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316252089
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, called "Keeper of the Sea" by GQ Magazine and "a visionary" by Outside Magazine is an innovative, silo-busting, entrepreneurial scientist, movement maker, renown marine biologist, voracious Earth and idea explorer, wild water advocate, bestselling author, sought after lecturer, and fun-loving Dad. He also likes turtles (a lot).

His experiences as a field research scientist, government consultant, founder and director of numerous businesses and nonprofit organizations, teacher, mentor, parent, and advisor all support his quest to build a stronger and more diverse blue movement.

Formerly a Senior Scientist at Ocean Conservancy, Nichols holds a B.A. degree from DePauw University in Biology and Spanish, an M.E.M. degree in Natural Resource Economics and Policy from Duke University, and a Ph.D.degree in Wildlife Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona. He received both a Marshall Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship. In 2010 he delivered the commencement address at DePauw University where he also received an honorary doctorate in science. In 2014 he received the University of Arizona's Global Acheivement Award.

He has authored more than 200 scientific papers, technical reports, book chapters, and popular publications; lectured in more than 30 countries; and appeared in hundreds of print, film, radio and television media outlets including CBS, NPR, BBC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet, Time, Newsweek, GQ, Outside Magazine, Elle, Vogue, Fast Company, Surfer Magazine, Scientific American and New Scientist, among others.

His research interests span ocean and aquatic ecosystems, migratory species, marine protected areas, fisheries management, and plastic pollution with special emphasis on building new of action networks, sometimes connecting so-called enemies in creative solutions.

He takes a slow, collaborative approach with leaders in businesses, government, non-profits, and academia to inspire a deeper connection with nature and inventive approaches to pressing issues ranging from supplies of fresh water to hospice care for our aging population.

His current focus is on what he refers to as Blue Mind, a powerful new universal story of water. In this story society accurately describes all of the physical, ecological, economic, cognitive, emotional, psychological, and social benefits of healthy oceans and waterways. By connecting neuroscientists and psychologists with aquatic experts and artists to ask and answer exciting new questions his work is transforming many sectors, including: health and well-being; education and parenting; arts, architecture and design; real estate and urban planning; travel and leisure; and sports and recreation. His book Blue Mind, published in summer 2014 by Little, Brown & Company, quickly became a national bestseller and has been translated to numerous languages and inspired a wave of media and practical application.

J. knows that inspiration comes sometimes through adventures, or simply by walking and talking. Other times through writing, images, and art. Science and knowledge can also stoke our fires. But he also knows that what really moves people is feeling part of and touching something bigger than ourselves. At every turn he encourages people to disconnect from the grid and reconnect with themselves, those they love, and the special places they care most about.

His research, expeditions, and work as a guide have taken him to coasts and waterways across North, Central and South America, to Asia, Africa, Australia, and Europe where he continually finds that the emotional connection to waters of all kinds--rather than force or financial gain--is what keeps his colleagues and collaborators working hard to understand and restore our blue planet.

J. is currently a Research Associate at California Academy of Sciences and co-founder of Ocean Revolution, an international network of young ocean advocates, SEEtheWILD, a conservation travel network, Grupo Tortuguero, an international sea turtle conservation network, and The Blue Mind Fund, a global campaign to reconnect people to their waters.

He advises a motivated group of international graduate students and serves as an advisor to numerous non-profit boards and committees as part of his commitment to building a stronger, more progressive and connected blue movement.

J. lives with his partner Dana, two daughters and some cats, dogs and chickens on California's SLOWCOAST, a rural stretch of coastal mountains where organic strawberries rule, mountain lions roam and the local motto is "In Slow We Trust". The Nichols chose to settle down in this area after trekking the entire 1,800 kilometer coast from Oregon to Mexico. "We liked it here", Nichols said.

To book Dr. Nichols as a speaker at your event or to organize a Blue Mind workshop for your organization, please email info@wallacejnichols.org.

"Nichols draws on science and art, hard data and anecdote, and plenty of experience, to explain our blue mind in detail. Not just what it is, but how we can enter into this state and -- perhaps most important -- why we should do so." - Washington Post

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I always knew there was something special about living on an island, surrounded by the calming sounds of lapping waves. This book explains it.

Nichols writes that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water. He combines water science and neuroscience to show exactly that. He defines the “blue mind” as a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life. It is inspired by water and the sensations associated with it. “...[W]ater provides the most profound shortcut to happiness out there.”

He explores our emotional ties to water, explains the technology of brain study, contemplates what happiness is and how it is evaluated, looks at the affect of the color blue and the other sensations of water. He explores the recreational use of water and the health benefits of water, including its therapeutic use for PTSD, drug addiction and autism. He explains the Red Mind and the Gray Mind – enlightening.

Blue Mind is not a dry science book. Nichols includes lots of stories as examples of his thesis. Some of the findings are subjective and anecdotal and the stories help illustrate them.

The application of Nichols' book is broad, all the way from health benefits to urban planning. He is also concerned about the future of water and ends his book with a reminder of our emotional attachment to it and the need to make sure it is there for the future.

Now I know why there are aquariums in waiting rooms and why you should put a small one on your work desk. I know what it means if someone gives me a blue marble. I also now know the science behind why I love the water so much, especially the beaches of my island home.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
Comment 63 of 63 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
And so I got all formats: Kindle. Audible. Hardback.
The science is cutting edge. You will learn some things you've always known on a gut level, but you'll learn the science behind them.
You'll learn much you don't know and you need to pay close attention if you are struggling with a health crisis of some sort.
Everything Dr. Nichols discusses... you want to ask:How can I apply this cutting edge knowledge to what I am facing in my own life? Or to what I see loved ones facing?
Dr.Nichols connects many dots in this field of exploding scientific progress and discovery but you will need to complete what this book can do for you personally... as a healing masterpiece.
My background is medical so healing is major in my world.
I believe this book has so much to offer and I encourage you to share what you learn... knowledge,insights... with others you know and care about.
Expect to be intrigued. Expect to be fascinated. Expect to be surprised. Expect to find this to be a transformative book of enormous power.
1 Comment 72 of 75 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I was really looking forward to reading this book and paid full price to get it to take with me on a vacation -- to the beach. Unfortunately, I feel very disappointed. It's not the science that bothered me -- I'm kind of geeky and I was looking forward to enjoying the science beneath my own love for being near water. But the truth is that there is not all that much science directly related to love for water, so the author stretches out his argument to include too much boring detail about the science behind fMRIs and brain imaging in general, the science of happiness in general, etc, etc. I have read other books on the science of happiness (e.g. a good "lay" book would be "The Happiness Project") so this was not new for me and therefore not what I was looking for. His dilemma may be that there's not that much specific research relating to love of water? He tries to make up for this by throwing in some lovely quotes of poetry or brief snatches of biographies relating to water, but after awhile, this solution wears thin. It would have far been better for him to "fatten up" the book with more of people's own stories of how being near or in water had inspired or healed them. That would have held my interest and made the book seem less dry. I also thought there was a bias toward extraverts (perhaps because the author himself surfs and scuba dives) and less attention to introverts (people who seek the sea for contemplation, poets, painters, etc.). The author's genuine love for and concern for our oceans and seas does shine through, but in all, even though I was so intrigued by the concept of the book, I ended up disappointed enough at its execution that I regret having spent full price for the hardback copy.
8 Comments 93 of 102 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I live in Jamaica on the beach in the summer and spend a lot of time in southern California in the winter, near the ocean. I have always had a hard time articulating why I find those locales so relaxing and invigorating at the same time.

I seem to be happiest when I am in the warm ocean water off Jamaica, swimming out a couple of hundred yards to get away from the beach noise. staring at the clouds, watching the world walk down the beach.

Guess what. Now, for all those people that ask me about my love of the ocean and its impact on my mind -- I have a book for them to read.
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