The Eight Master Lessons of Nature: What Nature Teaches Us About Living Well in the World

Gary Ferguson. Dutton, $27 (272p) ISBN 978-1-5247-4338-3
In this expansive survey, nature writer Ferguson (Walking Down the Wild) argues that nature’s “harmony, balance, and rhythm” can teach humans how to live peaceful, vital lives. Ferguson’s eight assertions each speak to the powerful connections he sees between the natural and human worlds, each beginning with his lushly delivered observations of nature: “With the wheatgrass and bluestem paper dry, with many trees themselves at moisture levels lower than kiln-dried lumber, the land began to burn.” He then illustrates how the observations have been used to guide life—and asks readers to do the same. For instance, “dark night... sky shot full of stars... realms of wonder” can help readers foster a healthy sense of mystery by pondering the emptiness of deep space. Also, a “tumbling mountainside bedecked with the most glorious carpets of wildflowers” can help readers learn to thrive among diversity. Though organized as a series of loose lessons, the book lacks any real directives (lesson six, for example, is “We Live on a Planet with Energy Beyond Measure”), instead relying on Ferguson’s broad view of human history that each person is connected by universal myths and the innate feeling that “nature calls to each of us.” While nature lovers will enjoy this, self-help readers looking for concrete advice will be disappointed. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/10/2019
Release date: 10/22/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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