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Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do Hardcover – Jul 22 2014

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (July 22 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316252085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316252089
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.2 x 24.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #76,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"A visionary." ---Outside

"Nichols's message is a critical and compelling one." ---David Bennett, Green Team Operations & Innovations, Google

"If your time on our planet needs less stress and more happiness, find your way to Nichols's Blue Mind for the surprisingly simple and joyous ways water can change your life."―Timothy Dykman, Ocean Revolution

"Nichols insists on a more experiential brand of activism, encouraging individuals to encounter the oceans directly, in order to build personal and emotional connections-to get their feet wet."―GQ Magazine

About the Author

Wallace "J." Nichols, Ph.D., is a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences and founder/co-director of Ocean Revolution, SEE the WILD, and LiVBLUE. His work has been broadcast on NPR, BBC, PBS, National Geographic and Animal Planet and featured in Time, Newsweek, GQ, Outside, Fast Company, Scientific American, and New Scientist. He lives in California with his partner Dana and two daughters.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Awesome topic but kind of dry to read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very informative
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9fd5d054) out of 5 stars 153 reviews
71 of 71 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0122cc0) out of 5 stars Why the beach is so soothing July 30 2014
By Joan N. - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
I always knew there was something special about living on an island, surrounded by the calming sounds of lapping waves. This book explains it.

Nichols writes that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water. He combines water science and neuroscience to show exactly that. He defines the “blue mind” as a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life. It is inspired by water and the sensations associated with it. “...[W]ater provides the most profound shortcut to happiness out there.”

He explores our emotional ties to water, explains the technology of brain study, contemplates what happiness is and how it is evaluated, looks at the affect of the color blue and the other sensations of water. He explores the recreational use of water and the health benefits of water, including its therapeutic use for PTSD, drug addiction and autism. He explains the Red Mind and the Gray Mind – enlightening.

Blue Mind is not a dry science book. Nichols includes lots of stories as examples of his thesis. Some of the findings are subjective and anecdotal and the stories help illustrate them.

The application of Nichols' book is broad, all the way from health benefits to urban planning. He is also concerned about the future of water and ends his book with a reminder of our emotional attachment to it and the need to make sure it is there for the future.

Now I know why there are aquariums in waiting rooms and why you should put a small one on your work desk. I know what it means if someone gives me a blue marble. I also now know the science behind why I love the water so much, especially the beaches of my island home.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
78 of 83 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0122d14) out of 5 stars This is a Healing Masterpiece... July 22 2014
By oceanshaman - Published on
Format: Hardcover
And so I got all formats: Kindle. Audible. Hardback.
The science is cutting edge. You will learn some things you've always known on a gut level, but you'll learn the science behind them.
You'll learn much you don't know and you need to pay close attention if you are struggling with a health crisis of some sort.
Everything Dr. Nichols discusses... you want to ask:How can I apply this cutting edge knowledge to what I am facing in my own life? Or to what I see loved ones facing?
Dr.Nichols connects many dots in this field of exploding scientific progress and discovery but you will need to complete what this book can do for you personally... as a healing masterpiece.
My background is medical so healing is major in my world.
I believe this book has so much to offer and I encourage you to share what you learn... knowledge,insights... with others you know and care about.
Expect to be intrigued. Expect to be fascinated. Expect to be surprised. Expect to find this to be a transformative book of enormous power.
44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fbf1168) out of 5 stars I seem to be happiest when I am in the warm ocean water off ... July 22 2014
By TL - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I live in Jamaica on the beach in the summer and spend a lot of time in southern California in the winter, near the ocean. I have always had a hard time articulating why I find those locales so relaxing and invigorating at the same time.

I seem to be happiest when I am in the warm ocean water off Jamaica, swimming out a couple of hundred yards to get away from the beach noise. staring at the clouds, watching the world walk down the beach.

Guess what. Now, for all those people that ask me about my love of the ocean and its impact on my mind -- I have a book for them to read.
105 of 117 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fbf1528) out of 5 stars Heart in right place but disappointing Aug. 21 2014
By Karen - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I was really looking forward to reading this book and paid full price to get it to take with me on a vacation -- to the beach. Unfortunately, I feel very disappointed. It's not the science that bothered me -- I'm kind of geeky and I was looking forward to enjoying the science beneath my own love for being near water. But the truth is that there is not all that much science directly related to love for water, so the author stretches out his argument to include too much boring detail about the science behind fMRIs and brain imaging in general, the science of happiness in general, etc, etc. I have read other books on the science of happiness (e.g. a good "lay" book would be "The Happiness Project") so this was not new for me and therefore not what I was looking for. His dilemma may be that there's not that much specific research relating to love of water? He tries to make up for this by throwing in some lovely quotes of poetry or brief snatches of biographies relating to water, but after awhile, this solution wears thin. It would have far been better for him to "fatten up" the book with more of people's own stories of how being near or in water had inspired or healed them. That would have held my interest and made the book seem less dry. I also thought there was a bias toward extraverts (perhaps because the author himself surfs and scuba dives) and less attention to introverts (people who seek the sea for contemplation, poets, painters, etc.). The author's genuine love for and concern for our oceans and seas does shine through, but in all, even though I was so intrigued by the concept of the book, I ended up disappointed enough at its execution that I regret having spent full price for the hardback copy.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fbf160c) out of 5 stars And the great part is Sept. 2 2014
By Kevin Weiner - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As a neuroscientist, I’m trained to read journal articles and books with a hard-nosed, fine-tooth comb, in order to poke holes in the arguments and details of scientific pieces. And even with that mindset, I can say that Nichols really delivers. Summarizing how functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) works in a little over four pages, in layperson’s terms no less, is something that most neuroscientists wouldn’t (and perhaps couldn’t) attempt. The utility of what Nichols does is that he connects the dots for us across research fields – making connections between the latest neuroscience research and recent findings in ecology, marine biology, psychology, and even ecopsychology. And the great part is, it’s not all science. Peppered throughout the book are personal stories about his own water experiences, as well as linkages to philosophy, poetry, surfing, and swimming.

The fundamental question addressed in Blue Mind, according to Nichols is: “What happens when our most complex organ – the brain – meets the planet’s largest feature – water?” Nichols more than adequately answers this question and presents his claims in a way that I don’t think any other writer or scientist could – by including something for each type of reader. If you want to read about the latest in neuroscience research, it’s in there. If you want to read about water and emotions, it’s in there. If you want to read about ocean advocacy, it’s in there. If you want to read about why you will pay more for waterfront property (and what in your brain is telling you to do so), it’s in there. If you even want to know why water is bad for some people, it’s in there too (albeit less so).

Blue Mind is the type of book with so much rich, diverse content that you could come back to it again and again and learn something new that you may have missed on the first read.

If you are interested in a more detailed review, please visit my published reviews of Blue Mind: