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

4.1 (40 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.    

    Go Wild Review

    Go Wild (2014) explores the profound impact that reconnecting with nature can have on our health and well-being. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers a scientifically grounded perspective on the benefits of spending time in nature, giving readers solid evidence to support the importance of this connection.
    • By exploring various studies and personal narratives, it highlights the positive effects nature has on our mental health, stress levels, and overall happiness.
    • The book urges readers to reclaim our natural inheritances and shows how we can bring more nature into our daily lives, promoting a more balanced and fulfilling existence.

    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
    example alt text

    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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    Go Wild FAQs 

    What is the main message of Go Wild?

    The main message of Go Wild is that reconnecting with nature can improve our mental and physical well-being.

    How long does it take to read Go Wild?

    The reading time for Go Wild varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Go Wild a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Go Wild is a compelling read that emphasizes the importance of nature in our lives. It offers practical insights and research-backed evidence on the benefits of connecting with the natural world.

    Who is the author of Go Wild?

    The authors of Go Wild are John J. Ratey and Richard Manning.

    What to read after Go Wild?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Go Wild, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
    • Spark by John J. Ratey & Eric Hagerman
    • Jog On by Bella Mackie
    • Let It Go by Peter Walsh
    • The 3.3 Rule by John Briggs
    • On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
    • Discipline Equals Freedom by Jocko Willink
    • Raising Mentally Strong Kids by Amen MD Daniel G. & Charles Fay
    • Neurodharma by Rick Hanson
    • What Doesn't Kill Us by Scott Carney