The Nature Fix: Why nature makes us happier, healthier, and more creative
By Florence Williams
An intrepid investigation into nature’s restorative benefits by a prize-winning author.
For centuries, poets and philosophers extolled the benefits of a walk in the woods: Beethoven drew inspiration from rocks and trees; Wordsworth composed while tromping over the heath; Nikola Tesla conceived the electric motor while visiting a park. Intrigued by our storied renewal in the natural world, Florence Williams sets out to uncover the science behind nature’s positive effects on the brain.
From forest trails in Korea, to islands in Finland, to groves of eucalyptus in California, Williams investigates the science at the confluence of environment, mood, health, and creativity. Delving into completely new research, she uncovers the powers of the natural world to improve health, promote reflection and innovation, and ultimately strengthen our relationships. As our modern lives shift dramatically indoors, these ideas—and the answers they yield—are more urgent than ever.
Praise & Reviews:
“A beautifully written, thoroughly enjoyable exposition of a major principle of human life now supported by evidence in biology, psychology, and medicine.” —Edward O. Wilson
"... [A] lively exploration of what modern research has to say about the myriad health benefits of the great outdoors...Ms. Williams resists the tendency of so much nature writing towards easy epiphanies, adopting a tone that is, instead, pleasingly puckish...Ms. Williams puzzles out the pros and cons, concluding, on balance, that there’s a good case for connecting with nature to extend both the quantity and quality of life..." —Danny Heitman, The Wall Street Journal
"Fascinating...Williams, a contributing editor at Outside magazine, presents all of this with the zip of a trail runner covering a lot of ground sure-footedly. She’s got the pop-sci presentation down pat — breezy enough to draw in the lay reader, thorough enough to satisfy the expert. She gamely volunteers to be researchers’ human guinea pig, including wearing a portable EEG unit in the woods and looking like a “shriveled sea urchin.” —The New York Times
“Williams’s findings are eminently reassuring” —The Atlantic
"In her wonderful new book The Nature Fix, journalist Florence Williams writes that nature serves as a welcome reprieve from the seemingly endless demands and constant stimuli of modern life. She makes the compelling case that nature not only makes us subjectively feel better, but it also alters our biology, measurably subduing our fight-or-flight stress response." —New York Magazine
“[Williams] presents the benefits of spending time outdoors . . . entertainingly but with enough scientific detail to satisfy the expert.” —The New York Times Book Review, “10 Books We Recommend This Week”
"[A] powerful environmental call to arms." —Publishers Weekly
“[Williams] makes a compelling argument for time outdoors. She takes a refreshing approach, including 'forest bathing' (the Japanese custom of a sensory walk in the woods); ecotherapy in Scotland; and how nature can produce the same effects as mind-altering drugs. Thought-provoking and excellent.”—BBC Wildlife Magazine
"Williams is an elegant yet witty writer, and she makes a terrific guide." —SUCCESS Magazine
“[The Nature Fix] has much to offer to anyone interested in human health, from city planners and health practitioners to educators, scientists… and anyone concerned with their own well-being.” — Esther Jackson, Public Services Librarian at the New York Botanic Garden
“Chock-full of insights about the health benefits of spending time in nature. (It turns out that lying on the beach is good for you.)”—Rohan Silva, The Guardian, “Best Holiday Reads 2017”
“Florence Williams, keen observer, deft writer, creates a fascinating mosaic here. What are the costs—to us!—of humanity’s increasing disconnection from nature? What are the likely benefits—to us!—of retaining that threatened connection? Large.” —David Quammen, author of Spillover.
"In this upbeat, brightly conversational account, Outside contributing editor Williams travels widely to track down the best science behind 'our deep, cranial connection to natural landscapes …' A thoughtful, refreshing book with a simple but powerful message: 'Go outside, often, sometimes in wild places. Bring friends or not. Breathe.'” —Kirkus, starred review
“[A] scientific tour de Mother Earth. . . . The Nature Fix offers a cross-continental rumination on nature’s feel-good effects in a world that’s increasingly concrete-centric.” —Portland Monthly
“I’m no tree hugger, but The Nature Fix made me want to run outside and embrace the nearest oak. Not for the tree’s sake but mine. Florence Williams makes a compelling, and elegant, case that nature is not only beautiful but also good for us. If Thoreau were steeped in modern neuroscience and possessed an endearingly self-deprecating sense of humor, the result would be the book you hold in your hands.” —Eric Weiner, New York Times best-selling author of The Geography of Genius