The New Science of a Lost Art
Even before the pandemic hit, rates of workplace stress were on the rise. Add to that anxiety about finances, job security, and health, and you’re left with millions of people feeling burned out. Reminders to “breathe” during a time of such uncertainty and isolation run the risk of sounding banal. But according to science journalist James Nestor, it’s actually the key to transforming our lives—more than diet, sleep, or exercise. In his instant New York Times bestseller Breath, Nestor deep-dives into an often overlooked pillar of health, and shows us how even slight adjustments to our breathing can profoundly improve everything from workplace efficiency and athletic performance, to anxiety, asthma, and sleep.
“Our breath is a beautiful, healing, mysterious gift, and so is this book. I already feel like it’s going to change my life.”— Elizabeth Gilbert
When we consider our health and well-being, we often scrutinize the foods we eat or the amount of stress we’re under. Rarely, if ever, do we consider the ways we breathe. Yet poor breathing habits are linked to a laundry list of chronic health problems: ADHD, autoimmune diseases, gut issues, and even cavities and crooked teeth, explains acclaimed science journalist James Nestor. In the modern workplace, an estimated 80 percent of office workers suffer from email apnea—a clinically-researched syndrome that causes breathing to become disjointed and dysfunctional. Psychological ailments which are so common today, like anxiety or panic, too have a physical manifestation closely tied to how we breathe. It turns out, human anatomy has dramatically changed in the past few hundreds of years, and because of that, we have lost the ability to breath properly, with grave consequences. In his landmark book Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, Nestor seeks out what went wrong—and how to fix it, turning the the conventional wisdom of what we think we know about our most basic biological function on its head. What holds readers and listeners to their chairs is Nestor’s mix of new science, humor, history (how cultures around the world have used breathing as medicine for millennia), and simple, constructive takeaways. You will never breathe the same again.
Brilliantly researched and utterly fascinating, Breath has earned praise from the likes of Joe Rogan and New York Times bestselling author Joshua Foer, who calls it a “transformative book that changes how you think about your body and mind.” Breath became an instant New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and London Sunday Times bestseller, and will soon be translated into 30 languages.
Nestor has been invited to speak about the importance of proper breathing at Stanford Medical School, the United Nations, and Global Classroom (World Health Organization+UNICEF), as well as more than 60 radio and television shows, including Fresh Air with Terry Gross, the Joe Rogan Show, ABC’s Nightline, CBS Morning News, and dozens of NPR programs. To date, he has written for publications such as Scientific American, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The San Francisco Chronicle, to name a few.
In his earlier book, DEEP: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What The Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves, Nestor follows extreme athletes, adventurers, and scientists as they explore the depths of the ocean, uncovering weird and wondrous discoveries that redefine our understanding of both the ocean, and ourselves. It was a Finalist for the PEN American Center Best Sports Book of the Year, a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, a BBC Book of the Week, an Amazon Best Science Book of the year, and one of ArtForum’s Top 10 Books of the year. After its publication, Nestor teamed up with National Geographic Explorer and marine scientist David Gruber to create Project CETI—an ambitious undertaking to help us connect with and better understand the animals we share the planet with. Using technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence, Project CETI hopes to one day crack interspecies communication, and was recently accepted as a TED Audacious Project. More at mrjamesnestor.com.