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The Power of Place Paperback – February 4, 1994


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Paperback, February 4, 1994
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (February 4, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060976020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060976026
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,057,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

There are reasons why most humans love the mountains and why the great outdoors can do so much to soothe the urban jitters. Winifred Gallagher explains the inner workings of environmental psychology in The Power of Place. Traveling from northernmost Alaska, where the need to stay indoors for so much of the year takes a heavy mental and physical toll on the locals, to the artificial canyons of Manhattan, Gallagher strips off one civilizing layer after another to reveal the human animal within us, the creature that requires open spaces and clear air to function as it should. If you ever wondered why mountaineers take the risks they do or why Michael Jackson spent all that money on a hyperbaric chamber, Gallagher has the answer.

From Publishers Weekly

In this intriguing but somewhat diffuse look at the impact of physical surroundings on individual behavior, freelance journalist Gallagher ranges from wintry Alaska to a neonatal intensive care unit to diverse neighborhoods in Manhattan. Drawing on interviews with scientists as well as her own observations, she shows that academia has promoted a "false dichotomy" between the influences of biology and of environment. For example, Eskimos may have genetically eliminated seasonal mood disorders from their gene pool. And to overcome grief or kick drug addictions, people require new stimuli and "environmental deconditioning." Inner-city residents, having invested their neighborhoods with hope, often resist being moved from what others would consider a slum, the author notes. She also looks skeptically at such folk wisdom as the purported role of hot weather in fostering crime and romance. QPB alternate.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Some amusing insights are included as well.
John C. Anderson
The author backs up most everything with scientific research, but also isn't afraid to speculate about things outside the realm of science (or not discovered yet).
Reviewer
This book was inconclusive and somewhat confusing.
Kristen Jackson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 56 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 28, 1996
Format: Paperback
In this book, Winifred Gallagher, discusses the various ways that environment can affect human behaviour. Written for the layman, the book does not dwell on the neuroscience data, preferring to interview both the researchers and the affected.
The biggest drawback of this book may also be it's most interesting aspect - the sheer quantity of the material Gallagher must condensed into 228 pages of text. Thus, in less than 100 pages, she discusses seasonal affective disorder, light deprivation, effects of temperature and altitude and geomagnetic phenomena. With
this constraint, Gallagher's prose in necessarily tight, her interviews brief, and each chapter ends before you've had your fill of the effect she's discussing.

A good book for plane-hopping business sorts - not only can it be read on the flight, the effects of time zone changes, sleep deprivation, and fluorescent lights can be recorded as they are taking place.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Flippy on August 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is the right kind of book when you are looking for something different. To a large degree this is 'info-tainment' but it's certainly fascinating. Gallagher is a solid writer, she organizes her thoughts, there is nothing cryptic or suggestive of her writing beyond the facts she documents. Her research is absorbing, she doesn't pretend to know more than she does and her focus is on finding a balance between the science she gleans and her understanding.

From Alaska's difficult emotional/spiritual/physical climate, to the science beyond radiomagnetic energy, to thoughts on the womb, the environments of birth, development, why we love nature, the threat of city life to personal psyche, she covers a great deal of topic ground. Each section, let alone each chapters could have been a book unto itself which makes the reading somewhat cursory. On the whole, the book never falls into a slum, the reading is continually informative and well-written. Gallagher's journalism is intriguing. The best part of this book is that it not only gives you food for thought but makes you want to go out and investigate more, to read more on the subjects she has touched upon. (That's the sign of a solid, good book.)

I feel a book is more than just what is contained between its covers. Books about social studies like this make me take notice of the world around me in ways I may not have seen before. An increase in awareness is what I discovered while reading The Power of Place. I'm going to think more about Feng Shui in my life and moreover, what I need to do change some aspects of my life - I do need to get out into nature more.

Books like Gallagher's are rewarding in that they are pleasant to read, informative, well-researched and entertaining. This is a light read but it will keep you sharp. Truly, this is the book you read at the beach.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mary E. Sibley VINE VOICE on June 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
Environment is important, indoors and outdoors. Light exposure is crucial. Environment shapes character and behavior. Well-being is affected by settings.

Mood sickness may be traced back to normal expectations of the environment. Indoor life-styles result in light deprivation. Winter depression has been re-identified.

Cold is a stimulant and heat is a sedative. Moderatedly high altitudes-- mountains--seem peaceful. Some of the mountain magic is aesthetic. A sense-presence experience, (sensing that something or someone is present), is a normal response to a bizarre situation. More and more people are spending time in extreme environments.

Inner city children may suffer from chronic sense overload impeding their physical and academic progress. Urbanization is the most important environmental influence of the future. Most of America's poverty is urban. Pruitt-Igoe thwarted tenants' needs and opportunities for social networking and had to be blown-up.

Nature-loving varies with ethnicity and class. Nevertheless, even the Swiss weren't amazed by the Alps until the nineteenth century when nature's existence could be contrasted with industrialization.

This is a delightful book, causing much thought about issues we hardly ever notice and think about.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By John C. Anderson on March 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have read this book a few times. I have noticed that I feel and think differently in different places. Personaltiy traits that have not come to the surface in one place come forth in another place. Good luck happens everywhere but how it happens often depends on place. Some amusing insights are included as well.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on February 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be very informative and interesting reading. The author backs up most everything with scientific research, but also isn't afraid to speculate about things outside the realm of science (or not discovered yet).

I find it a particularly relevant for the US since many of the negative factors (noise, crowding) are on the rise - these aren't just aesthetic issues, as the book points out.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By yattaman on May 2, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a re-issue of a book published in 1993. That's not made very clear in the sales blurb. So you'll be reading about light-therapy and float-tanks and other old news. Lots of generalities and stereotypes - e.g. taking the subways makes people feel stressed; spiritual feelings in the countryside or in the mountains. Lots of details about life in Alaska. Unless you're planning on living in Alaska, or on a mountain peak, there's nothing useful here. Nothing really about "place".
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