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The Eight Master Lessons of Nature

Cover: 'The Eight Master Lessons of Nature'

Staff Review: "The Eight Master Lessons of Nature" by Gary Ferguson

★★★★★

Writer Gary Ferguson has crafted a brilliant manifesto on the inner and outer workings of nature and how lessons from the natural world can help us humans in our own lives. (Big hint: Reconnect with nature!)

Ferguson's book is part history, part biology, with some anthropology, self-help and memoir added to the mix. He takes us through important (and moving, and even oddball) research from nature, and writes about how humans understand and interact with nature (or don't), from the ancient Greeks on through a modern group of teenage girls in an outdoor therapy program. In a style that is easy to understand, he explains how knowledge gleaned from the plant and animal kingdoms – the mutual dependencies within ecosystems, within packs, or herds of animals; or the importance of the feminine role – can be applied to our own lives in ways that can not only help us lead a more fulfilling life, but also one that connects us to the natural world around us.

For example, the way a forest regenerates after a catastrophic fire holds lessons for the ways we humans live on after our own catastrophic or traumatic events (lesson seven of the eight.) Or documented cases of animals grieving over a death in much the same way a human might (lesson five.) Or, just as important as what we know about nature is what we don’t know – and that, in itself, is an important lesson in embracing the myriad mysteries of life (lesson one, in fact.)

It’s hard to succinctly describe this book, just as it’s near impossible to describe “nature.” But by sharing bits and pieces of the natural world and showing how a firmer, more consistent connection to nature benefits the human race, Ferguson has written an important, accessible book that will rekindle your curiosity with nature and spark a desire to get outside and in the middle of it all.

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: nonfiction, nature

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