The culmination of everything Tristan Gooley has written so far: How to take what you learn about the outdoors—and make it second nature
Publisher's note: The Nature Instinct was published in the UK under the title Wild Signs and Star Paths.
Readers of master outdoorsman Tristan Gooley have learned that the world is filled with clues to look for—we can use the Big Dipper to tell time, for example, and a budding flower to find south. But what about the innate survival instincts that told Gooley to move on one night, just as he was about to make camp? Everything looked perfect, but something felt wrong. When Gooley returned to his abandoned campsite to search for clues, there they were: All of the tree trunks were slightly bent. The ground had already shifted once in a storm—and could easily shift again, becoming treacherous in heavy rain.
The Nature Instinct shows us how Gooley and other expert observers—from hunters in the English countryside to the Pygmy people in the Congo—have recovered and rekindled this lost “sixth sense;” a subconscious,deeper understanding of our surroundings. By training ourselves through slow, careful observation, we too can unlock this kind of intuition—for finding the forest’s edge when deep in the woods, or knowing when a wild animal might pose danger—without even having to stop to think about it.
About the Author
“A captivating guide to finding one’s way in the wild.”—The Wall Street Journal
“[A] beautifully written almanac of tricks and tips that we’ve lost along the way, with the intention of helping us regain what he calls the 'sixth sense': our innate ability to scan the landscape and anticipate what might happen next . . . Long story short, I now trust Tristan Gooley with my life.”—Guardian
“Gooley offers the reader a chance to recover the outdoorsman’s natural sense through 52 'keys,' to exchange slow, analytic thinking for the fast thinking that makes connections with nature in a way that few now experience. I recommend turning those keys and seeing what happens.”—Field Magazine
“With the promise of fostering a level of awareness so rarefied as to be a 'sixth sense,' Gooley takes readers on a journey to acquaint them with the sounds and signs of nature. . . . The rewards are there for those willing to learn the lessons provided in this detailed and lovely book.”—Publishers Weekly
“An imperative book for outdoors enthusiasts but also contains important information for anyone who spends time outside. Gooley’s book is a comprehensive guide to gaining back what was lost; it will help its audience appreciate nature and animals with a new set of eyes.”—Foreword Reviews
“The most powerful parts of The Nature Instinct are its many examples of how to correct our present-day nature deficit. By undertaking the exercises he describes—using Orion to tell direction and time, creating maps from the wind, or identifying trees by their sounds—the book ‘gently’ hammers our brains ‘into a new pattern of thought.’”—Undark
“Gooley writes affectingly of how to recapture our ability to live in the real world with senses ‘almost forgotten and steamrollered by our modern lifestyle.’ . . . A welcome read for the outdoor inclined.”—Kirkus Reviews
“An artful yet practical guide to better understanding nature.”—Choice
“Most of us have lost our way in nature at one time or another.. . . Gooley can you lead you back to nature if you’re willing to invest the time.”—National Parks Traveler
“[A] fascinating look at immersing oneself in nature and understanding what one sees.”—Library Journal
“What’s wonderful about this book is not just that it is full of helpful instructions for decoding the numerous clues the Earth provides to its workings—from the flick of a lizard’s tail to a flutter in a bramble hedge—Gooley also communicates and inspires a joyful awe in the countless daily occurrences which offer observant travelers a key to the planet’s miraculous system.”—Big Issue
“A paean to the beauty and majesty of nature, especially the nature we overlook in our back gardens and local parks. . . . And like all the best books, it makes the world around you a lot more interesting.”—Spectator
“Beautifully written. . . . I promise you will feel more in tune with the world around after reading only one chapter.”—Royal Institute of Navigation