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James Nestor Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Get High Now (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Role of Fiction (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

James Nestor
When James was stupider and younger, he wrote a small coffee table book that was culled from notes on meditation and other ancient and hippy practices found in the crawlspace of his uncle’s retro-mod bachelor pad out in the Hollywood hills. The book combined illustrations and humor with medical science and was given a terrible name by his editor, which he quickly, and still does, regrets very much.

Along the way, he joined up with a doomed surfing expedition to Russia and Norway for Outside Magazine in the year 2009, in which he joined a group of kooks to ride some mysto breaks down in the Arctic Circle. He also lived for a short period of time with some Vanuatuan yam farmers that worshipped the US Army.

At his home in San Francisco, he runs his 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300D on used cooking oil whenever he is able to. He used to zip around town (really, he would breakdown all over town) in a Sebring-Vanguard CitiCar, the first-ever American-made production electric vehicle. The thing barely worked and was quickly offloaded on a dude with purple suspenders that lived in Eugene, Oregon.

James has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, Outside magazine, National Public Radio, Dwell magazine, Scientific American, Men’s Journal, The Atlantic, and The New York Times, as well as others.

When “Breath” released, it was immediately a Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times, Sunday London Times Top 10 bestseller and was translated into thirty languages in 2021. It was named a Best Book by Parade, Barnes & Noble,, Washington Post, and Amazon.

James’ book “Deep” was a Finalist for the PEN American Center Best Sports Book of the Year, an Amazon Best Science Book of 2014, a BBC Book of the Week, an ArtForum Top 10 Book of 2014, a Christian Science Monitor Editor’s Pick, and more. It has also been translated in Portuguese, German, French, Polish, Italian, and Chinese, along with other languages.

On April 16, 2016, Sundance Institute and The New York Times debuted “The Click Effect”, a Virtual Reality short documentary that James created with Sandy Smolan. The film was based on a chapter in his book “Deep”, and was produced by Annapurna Pictures with support from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. It became one of the most viewed VR films to date, with more than a million views. “The Click Effect” was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best VR Experience in 2017.

Along the way, he has been lucky enough to be invited to speak at such places as Harvard Medical School, Global Classroom, the United Nations, Stanford Medical School, UBS, and Yale School of Medicine. He’s also appeared on more than forty television and radio shows, including the Joe Rogan Experience, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, CBS Morning News, BulletProof, ABC’s Nightline, and dozens of NPR programs.

“Deep” is the first non-fiction book and was released in the year 2014. While James was on assignment in Greece, he witnessed something that confounded him: a guy diving three hundred feet under the ocean’s surface on just a single breath of air and returning four minutes later, smiling and unharmed.

The guy was a freediver, and his amphibious abilities inspired James to seek out the secrets of this little-known discipline. James embeds with a group of renegade researchers and extreme athletes who are transforming not just our knowledge about this planet and its creature, however also our comprehension of the human mind and body. Along the way, he takes us from the surface to the Atlantic’s greatest depths, some 28,000 feet below sea level.

He discovers whales that communicate with other whales hundreds of miles away and seals that dive to depths under 2,400 feet for up to eighty minutes (longer and deeper than scientists ever believed possible). They also find sharks that swim in unerringly straight lines through pitch-black waters.

As odd as these phenomena are, they are reflections of our own species’ remarkable, and often hidden, potential—this includes directional sense, echolocation, and the profound physiological changes that we undergo while underwater. The most illuminating, James unlocks freediving skills while communing with the pioneers that are expanding our own definition of what is possible in the natural world, as well as in ourselves.

James manages to communicate some quite complex ideas in a way that does not insult or intimidate the reader. Nestor delivers one of the best science books in quite some time, that hooked readers and served as some quick reading.

“Breath” is the second non-fiction book and was released in the year 2020. It doesn’t matter how much you exercise, what you eat, how young, skinny, or wise you are, if you are not breathing properly. There isn’t anything more essential to our well-being and health than breathing: let it out, take in air, repeat twenty-five thousand times a day. However, humans (as a species) have lost the ability to breathe properly, with some grave consequences.

James travels around the world to figure out just what went wrong and how it can be fixed. The answers are not found in Pulmonology labs, like we might expect, however in the muddy digs of secret Soviet facilities, ancient burial sites, New Jersey choir schools, and the smoggy streets in Sao Paulo. James finds women and men exploring the hidden science behind ancient breathing practices like Tummo, Pranayama, and Sudarshan Kriya. He teams with the pulmonary tinkerers to scientifically test some long-held beliefs on how we breathe.

Modern research shows us that making even tiny adjustments to how we exhale and inhale can rejuvenate internal organs, jump-start athletic performance, halt snoring, autoimmune disease, and asthma. It can even straighten scoliotic spines. None of this should be possible, yet it is.

Readers found this to be a transformative book that changes how you think about your own mind and body. It is a fascinating read, filled with some dazzling revelations. James lays out in spellbinding as well as riveting and comedic fashion his ten year personal investigation of breathing.

Book Series In Order » Authors » James Nestor

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