Go Wild Book Summary - Go Wild Book explained in key points
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Go Wild summary

John J. Ratey & Richard Manning

Eat Fat, Run Free, Be Social, and Follow Evolution’s Other Rules for Total Health and Well-Being

4.3 (35 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

'Go Wild' by John J. Ratey & Richard Manning argues that humans are evolutionary designed for physical movement and connection with nature, urging us to prioritize these activities for optimal health and wellbeing.

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    Go Wild
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    Humans evolved to actively live in the wild, not to be sedentary.

    You wake up, go to work, sit at your desk all day, come home, watch some TV, go to sleep and do it all over again the next day. If this sounds familiar, there might be a part of you that is yearning to break this cycle, escape the modern world and live “the wild life.”

    This is actually a very natural feeling because evolution didn’t shape us to sit at desks all day – it prepared us to be wild.

    We possess the same instincts as other animals: the natural impulses that drive, for instance, a mother bear to raise her cubs in such a way that they’ll survive. The difference is that wild animals are much more in tune with nature, their surroundings and what’s good for them than most humans are.

    However, there are some people who have made a point of continuing to live wild and carry on the traditions of our hunting-and-gathering ancestors. And research shows that these people tend to be happier and healthier precisely because of this stronger connection with nature. They’re spending most of their time outside – farming, hunting, breathing fresh air, eating fresh produce and meat. In other words, doing the very things our bodies have evolved for.

    Yet some experts have suggested that we’ve somehow evolved beyond our wild nature. This theory is both untrue and incredibly unhealthy.

    In fact, our modern sedentary lifestyle is likely a big contributor to many of our most troubling illnesses, including obesity, heart failure, autism and cancer.

    As we stuff ourselves with junk food and spend our days staring at screens while barely moving or going outside, we further disconnect ourselves from the way we are supposed to live.

    Just look at the San people of Southern Africa. They hunt, farm, live in tight-knit communities and have managed to stay both physically and mentally healthy.

    So perhaps there are some lessons to be learned on how we can live healthier modern lives.

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    What is Go Wild about?

    Go Wild (2014) provides a timely look at why human beings shouldn’t be sitting in front of a computer all day. Evolution did not craft our bodies and minds for today’s sedentary lifestyle and diet. Our move from wilderness to cubicle is likely responsible for our increasing susceptibility to a number of new diseases.    

    Best quote from Go Wild

    We are designed to be wild, and by living tamely we make ourselves sick and unhappy.

    —John J. Ratey & Richard Manning
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    Who should read Go Wild?

    • Fitness enthusiasts
    • People looking to change their lives
    • Nature lovers

    About the Author

    John J. Ratey, MD, is a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the coauthor of the best-selling book Spark.

    Richard Manning is an author and award-winning journalist whose works include One Round River and Against the Grain.

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