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Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art Hardcover – May 26, 2020
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"With his entertaining, eerily well-timed new book, James Nestor explains the science behind proper breathing and how we can transform our lungs and our lives. . . . The book is brisk and detailed, a well-written read that is always entertaining, as he melds the personal, the historical, and the scientific." —The Boston Globe
“It's a rare popular-science book that keeps a reader up late, eyes glued to the pages. But Breath is just that fascinating. It will alarm you. It will gross you out. And it will inspire you. Who knew respiration could be so scintillating?” —Spirituality & Health
“Breath provides a new perspective of modern day technology and how we’ve unknowingly abandoned the answers we’ve always had. James Nestor artfully brings back what modern society has walked away from by combining ancestral techniques and new age technology in one elegant book.” —Scientific Inquirer
“A transformative book that changes how you think about your body and mind.” —Joshua Foer, New York Times–bestselling author of Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Memory
“Breath is an utterly fascinating journey into the ways we are wired. No matter who you are, you’ll want to read this.” —Po Bronson, New York Times–bestselling author of What Should I Do with My Life? and coauthor of NutureShock
“An eye-opening, epic journey of human devolution that explains why so many of us are sick and tired. A must-read book that exposes what our health care system doesn’t see.” —Dr. Steven Y. Park, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, author of Sleep, Interrupted
“I don’t say this often, but when I do I mean it: This book changed my life. Breath is part scientific quest, part historical insight, part Hero’s Journey, full of groundbreaking ideas, and a rollicking good read. I had no idea that the simple and intuitive act of inhaling and exhaling has taken such an evolutionary hit. As a result, I figured out why I sleep so badly and why my breathing feels so often out of sync. With a few simple tweaks, I fixed my breathing and fixed myself. A transformational book!” —Caroline Paul, bestselling author of The Gutsy Girl
“If you breathe, you need this book. When we undervalue anything, including something so basic as breathing, bad things always happen—and Nestor makes it clear how awful it’s gotten. But he also provides a clear airway back to better, deeper, stronger respirations.” —Wallace J. Nichols, PhD, New York Times–bestselling author of Blue Mind
“Breath shows us just how extraordinary the act of breathing is and why so much depends on how we do it. An enthralling, surprising, and often funny adventure into our most overlooked and undervalued function.” —Bonnie Tsui, author of Why We Swim and American Chinatown
"A welcome, invigorating user’s manual for the respiratory system." —Kirkus Reviews
“Although we all breathe, there is an art and science to breathing correctly . . . Full of fascinating information an compelling arguments, this eye-opening (or more aptly a mouth-closing and nostril-opening) work is highly recommended.” —Library Journal
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Examples range from stating that plants exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide (it’s the opposite and how it’s believed oxygen came about in the earths atmosphere) to deoxygenated blood appears blue (again incorrect, deoxygenated blood is deep red, veins appear blue due to reflection of light through the skin). Even cultural references were incorrect which makes me question could this author even use google? I am only 25% through the book- did this guy just try and bang out this book for the cash? It’s a fun read, written by someone who thinks he knows what he’s talking about- so if you do decide to spend the time, perhaps read with a skeptical eye. And it’s dangerous because it’s marketed as this person actually knows what he’s talking about (he spent a year researching so you think he would have been trustworthy). It’s unfortunate that this book was so hastily thrown together...given that the author says numerous times that breathing in any form to the respected western medical community is the same when he’s arguing the opposite point. He’s argument would be a lot more valid had he taken the time to fact check, review, and get basic things most learn in high school correct.
Plus, the book is really just a lot of fun to read. It's a worthy worthy follow up to Nestor's last book, DEEP, and this one just gets deeper and wierder and even more full of adventure. My favorite part is the chapter about how the human skull has changed over the last couple hundred years because of changes in how we breath. It could have been really boring -- but Nestor doesn't just write about it, he actually goes to Paris, crawls into a sewer, and breaks into the secret catacombs below the city to actually hold a hundreds of year old skull Hamlet-style. ("Alas poor Yorik..." &c. ) You actually see the skull and how they change! Unforgettable stuff. IMHO The book is a must read and must buy...
The ideas presented in this book make so much sense that I often found myself wondering “why didn’t I think about that?”. We are constantly breathing and we can control how we do it. How can it not affect our health? Mr. Nestor does a great job combining the latest scientific evidence with the knowledge earlier cultures understood about breathing and put into practice in their own lives. The result is a compelling argument that breathing is something that we have overlooked for too long and need to pay more attention to.