Blue Mind by Wallace J. Nichols Book Summary

The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do

Updated: January 27, 2022 Reading Time: 3 minutes rating: 6


This book has some nice arguments and showcases what Science has been able to explain of our love of water. But somehow it fell too long and convoluted.

It might just be that I’m very familiar withwater and love being in it so a lot of what Nichols mentions felt obvious.

Still, I hope his projects make more people aware of how to solve the current issues and preserve Nature


  • “Swimming is between me and the water, nothing else. The moment the water encloses me, I am, gratefully, alone.” - John Jerome, Blue Rooms

  • “You didn’t come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here. - Alan Watts

  • Our current understanding of the brain “approximates to what we knew about chemistry in the 19th century—in short, not much.”

  • At a certain point, reliance on your conscious mind can become a disadvantage: think too much, and suddenly you’ve lost your rhythm and the ball misses the hole, the shot clanks off the rim, you play the wrong note—and you strike out.

  • “ocean view” is the most valuable phrase in the English language

  • Our brains are wired to be Teflon for the positive and Velcro for the negative to ensure survival

  • If positive experiences (1) are intense enough, (2) are novel enough, (3) occur often enough, or (4) if we direct our focused attention to them long enough, they will strengthen the brain’s “happiness” neural pathways and therefore make it easier for us to feel positive emotions.

  • Throughout history, people of all cultures have assumed that environment influences behavior. Now modern science is confirming that our actions, thoughts, and feelings are indeed shaped not just by our genes and neurochemistry, history and relationships, but also by our surroundings. - Winifred Gallagher, The Power Of Place

  • I look out my bedroom window to the right, and I can see the ocean. And I can hear it at night. I have everything I want. - Brett Smith, Former homeless veteran who now live in the Ocean Beach section of

  • “Happiness consists of living each day as if it were the first day of your honeymoon and the last day of your vacation” - Leo Tolstoy

  • One of the hormones that regulates arterial function is catecholamine, and catecholamines are part of the body’s response to stress. As Becker describes it, “During immersion, the body sends out a signal to alter the balance of catecholamines in a manner that is similar to the balance found during relaxation or meditation”

  • “From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free” - Jacques-Yves Cousteau

  • “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention” - Herbert Simon

  • “Going into the water you leave autism behind…” - Don King, whose autistic son, Beau, bodysurfs with him