Top critical review
Interesting read – with scientific inaccuracies
Reviewed in Australia on 17 September 2021
I don't doubt that James Nestor has devoted over a decade of his life to exploring the simple act of breathing, but it bugs me that he kept claiming that his arguments were "science" when in actuality, there is a lack of conclusive scientific evidence over many his claims (not that is disproves them either, but it's worth mentioning). He seems to try and blend the teachings of religions/spirituality with hard science by combining the two, but instead confuses the two and claims breathing is "the new science of a lost art".
The only scientifically conclusive piece of advice that he gives is to breathe through the nose instead of mouth, because the latter has detrimental effects on health and overall physiological functioning, as he demonstrated in an experiment in which he was a test subject. Although let's be honest, that's should hardly be a surprising fact to most of the population.
The book is also filled with countless anecdotes with an unusual level of detail. For example, he seems to begin every one of his personal stories with a paragraph describing the clothing choices of the people he encounters and the vibe they give off. I mean, maybe his style of writing isn't just for me, but that coupled with the fact that this book spends approximately 200 pages making ambiguous and self-contradicting points packaged and labelled as "science" makes me doubt whether he just elongated what was meant to be a blog article for cash.
I'm still thankful for what this book had to teach me and open my eyes to, but it might be a better use of your time to simply watch one of the author's interviews instead.