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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. Narrated by James Nestor.

There is nothing more essential to our health and wellbeing than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat 25,000 times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences. Journalist James Nestor travels the world to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it.

The answers aren't found in pulmonology labs, as we might expect, but in the muddy digs of ancient burial sites, secret Soviet facilities, New Jersey choir schools, and the smoggy streets of São Paulo, Brazil. Nestor tracks down men and women exploring the hidden science behind ancient breathing practices like Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya and Tummo and teams up with pulmonary tinkerers to scientifically test long-held beliefs about how we breathe.

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

Drawing on thousands of years of medical texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry and human physiology, Breath turns the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function on its head.

You will never breathe the same again.

©2020 James Nestor (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"A transformative book that changes how you think about your body and mind." (Josua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein)

"Who would have thought something as simple as changing the way we breathe could be so revolutionary for our health, from snoring to allergies to immunity? A fascinating book, full of dazzling revelations." (Dr Rangan Chatterjee)

"I highly recommend this book." (Wim Hof)

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What listeners say about Breath

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A waste of time

After listening to this book for a while I realised he was giving any breathing tips just stories so I skipped to the summary where the techniques were giving and that's all you need.

31 people found this helpful

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A detailed and insightful look into breathing

A detailed and insightful look into breathing.

This book taught me a lot that I didn’t know and I’m already starting to put into practice some of its advice.

The eight you are left with make you question the length of the book and, although some of the stories surrounding the tips are interesting, other ones drag and feel repetitive.

This meant it was a bit of a struggle at times to commit to.

A good book and it is useful, although I’m left feeling that I could have for the same insight from a 2000 word article.

29 people found this helpful

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Comprehensive & useful

This was really interesting. I thought I already knew a lot about breathing, I’ve been meditating a while & doing Taoist breathing techniques. This was interesting, well written & comprehensive. The techniques at the end was a nice touch & definitely make this one to get on audible rather than paper.

24 people found this helpful

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Light on content, heavy on anecdote

I found it laboured and overly padded with too much narration of the author's personal interactions. Thankfully the last chapter provides some actual breathing techniques.

19 people found this helpful

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The power of your breath... and tonnes of interesting things you didn’t know.

As a yoga teacher, I am familiar with many of the techniques discussed in this book. The author presents them here (in the audible version) in a really accessible and interesting way. I’ve learned much about the historical investigations into the power of breathing and our evolution as a species... and the wonderful anecdotes and personal stories throughout are most engaging. I thoroughly recommend this book (even if you think you know all about breath techniques already) the passion and curiosity of the author and his cohorts is palpable!

15 people found this helpful

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Informative and could be life changing information

This is an absolutely fascinating book. The author did a huge amount of research and I'd guess many will be amazed at how many things are connected to the way we breathe, such as blood pressure, bone density, our facial structure, snoring, allergies, hypertension, psoriasis, asthma, crooked teeth...
The explanations of some those things made so much sense and I liked the suggestions provided on how to go about remedying some of those issues in a way that costs nothing but time and effort.
Am about to start reading for a second time to truly take it all in.

11 people found this helpful

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good message, very long winded

takes ages to get to the point... it keeps on going!

skip to the summary and the breathing techniques.

9 people found this helpful

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Listen to it!

Simply incredible. Very enjoyable to listen to. I don't normally like American audiobooks (sorry) but this kept me engaged and his voice was continuously comforting. Beyond that, it's just a fascinating book. The simple breathing exercises have already helped me control my lifelong anxiety and I can calm myself down in a matter of seconds. I've changed the way I breathe, and it's changed the way I feel. Highly recommended.

8 people found this helpful

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Researched based but hated authors impersonations

The book itself is great. Very educational and I loved that it is research and fact based. It taught me a lot about stress and anxiety.

However, the authors impersonations of the people he interviewed from doctors to medical subjects sounded like he was a Californian stoner, surfer dude. He was all but short of saying ‘it’s totally raaaaaad duuuude’. So you can just imagine when he is quote a French woman in that voice how it would be extremely annoying!

Breath Aileen breath!

5 people found this helpful

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Fantastic book!

Great book with different types of breathwork traditionally practised around the world. Don’t skip to the breathing techniques at the end, get the full benefit and enjoyment from a well written book!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-11-20

a must read for everyone

as a Breatheology master instructor and Wim hof method instructor, the art of breathing is not new to me but still i enjoyed reading Breath, it is full of knowledge that we should have learned in school. the world would be a better place of we did

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kishen. W.
  • 20-09-20

Fascinating!! A factual awaking of the science of breath.

I have suffered from a blocked nose all my life! Which is why I was drawn to this book(after watching James’ TED Talk).
I am an active 52 year old, working in the health & fitness field for 34 years now, so the art of breathing has always been a keen subject to me. ‘Breath’ is such an eye opener to the world of the science of breathing that I feel anyone one with an interest in the subject should definitely read it.
The manner in which James has narrated the book, makes it a delightful listen, even to the lay person, who would just be inquisitive above breathing.

Thoroughly enjoyed the book! Would definitely encourage everyone to read it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kevin Nguyen
  • 31-05-21

Great book.

I love this book. Wished I read it earlier.
It is so simple and natural but hardly anyone shares it to mainstream.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jude
  • 12-08-20

a gripping lesson

an eye opener. will be using this technique from now on. great narrator too

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-06-20

A Good Reminder

Researched. Insightful. Interesting. Necessary. Worth listening to this book more than once. Worth sharing.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Andrea Giuliodori
  • 09-06-20

Great book!

I've really enjoyed Nestor's book: a great mix of storytelling, facts and useful tips. Bravo!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Hansie Engelbrecht
  • 03-09-21

Must read

A wonderful insight into the art of breathing. Must read for any health or fitness fanatic.

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  • robin kohler
  • 20-06-21

Discovering the power of breathing

A great attempt at understanding Breath in its full power. There are many mysteries of the body that medical science cannot explain. Breath might be the missing link between how life energy invigorates and sustains all life.

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  • Michel Hogan
  • 18-06-21

So good I bought the hard copy as well

There's so much terrific information in this book I bought the hard copy so I could go back and reference the examples more easily. It will change the way you think about breath!

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  • Nick Lindner
  • 30-01-21

Compelling, entertaining, informative

This is THE book on breathing you are looking for. I have never been so engaged in a self help book.
This is a resource to return to.