The Secret Wisdom of Nature

Trees, Animals, and the Extraordinary Balance of All Living Things; Stories from Science and Observation (The Mysteries of Nature Trilogy, Book 3)
Narrated by: Sean Barrett
Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (150 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The final audiobook in the Mysteries of Nature trilogy by the New York Times best-selling author of The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben.

Nature is full of surprises - deciduous trees affect the rotation of the Earth, cranes sabotage the production of Iberian ham, and coniferous forests can make it rain - but what are the processes that drive these incredible phenomena? And why do they matter?

In The Secret Wisdom of Nature, master storyteller and international sensation Peter Wohlleben takes listeners on a thought-provoking exploration of the vast natural systems that make life on Earth possible. In this tour of an almost unfathomable world, Wohlleben describes the fascinating interplay between animals and plants and answers such questions as "How do they influence each other?", "Do lifeforms communicate across species boundaries?", and "What happens when this finely tuned system gets out of sync?".

By introducing us to the latest scientific discoveries and recounting his own insights from decades of observing nature, one of the world's most famous foresters shows us how to recapture our sense of awe so we can see the world around us with completely new eyes.

©2019 Peter Wohlleben (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Secret Wisdom of Nature

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Well - He doesn't quite understand the way, Yet

I like this book and enjoyed it. But it will be pushed aside by those he wishes to speek to and miss understood by the general public. Just as with his tree book, He hasn't quite grasped "it" yet and may benefit from growth. I say this because I sense a prejudice or a hard headedness within him, towards the human condition. He seems to be pleistocenian, as he very clearly believes that pre-human or no-human ecosystems are the "right ones" and that humans inevitably destroy their environment. This of course is not true as humans are nature and members of earth's family, although we are currently not her favorite children... This reminds me of something from Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Kimmerer a former professor of mine, her book came out long after I was in class. An anecdote from that book and by no means what that book is about is, When a group of young school kids where asked how humans hurt the earth, they had lots a good answers about how people destroy her but when kids where asked how humans can help the earth they had no answers. I hope he leaves Europe and western thinking behind him to look for the those with deep knowledge. These people are few and far between in the scientific world - in which I live and work but these voices can be found. I agree with most everything in the book and I know that as land managers age and are replaced with younger folks, a more holistic approach to forestry will be achieved. An issue not entirely described well in this book (I am less familiar with German forestry) but I fear that invasive insects and pathogens are a far greater menace than he lets on, I prey that Germany is not facing the scale of this issue as New York is... I look forward to his future work and I hope that criticism causes growth and not a entrenchment.

19 people found this helpful

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Connections, Complexities, Humility

"We don't really understand how the clockwork of nature functions, and as long as we don't, we shouldn't try to fix it."
- Peter Wohlleben, The Secret Wisdom of Nature

I should disclose that my discomfort with Peter's empathetic narrative style is mostly just a person preference and one I've brought up with his previous books in his 'The Mysteries of Nature trilogy'. I DO love his enthusiasm and agree with a lot of what he has to say, however, in his books.

He even, in this book, addresses his writing style:

"Over the years, an undertone of emotion crept in, which was more in line with my personal thinking. In other words, I relaxed adn let my heart do the talking instead of my brain."

...And...

"The language I use is too emotional, they said. My descriptions make trees and animals seem human, and that is not scientifically correct. But can a language stripped of emotion even be called a human language?"

So, while I still will argue that anthropomorphizing trees and animals presents VERY real issues, Wohlleben has also recognized that the costs of doing it are worth the benefits (empathy with the situation of trees and animals). And, really, it is hard to argue with that.

All that said, his curiosity and his ability to pull research and other ecological writing into a compelling narrative is amazing. My favorite part, however, is one that is often overlooked in both scientific studies and commercial lobbying. Wohlleben presents nature as complicated and inter-dependent and recognizes just how much we don't know about nature, let alone our impact on the trees and animals we interfere with everyday. His combination of curiosity and humility kept me reading this trilogy.

6 people found this helpful

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If you care about plants, animals or people- you should read this!

Great book about the interconnectedness of nature throughout history. Very thought provoking. Easy to read the scientific information.

2 people found this helpful

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Very important message

I listened to all 3 books with my son and we both learned or re-learned a lot. This is overall a wonderful book series and is perfect as a trilogy. We found it a let down that the narration of the last book is so sleepy. It seems that the narrator is constantly suppressing his yawning. Which made me yawn several times and also made me fall almost asleep while driving. So, don’t listen to this book and drive. I recommend to the narrator to get more sleep, and to the author to stick with the narrators of book 1 (secret life of trees) and book 2 (secret love few of animals). They were perfect in every way. Overall, I am very impressed with this trilogy. A beautiful message to our young.

2 people found this helpful

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Knowing is the best place to begin healing

This book will open your eyes to the world around you and, as it did for me, encourage you to help make the world a better place.

1 person found this helpful

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Good book, horrible narrator

The subject matter is interesting. The narrator ruins the whole thing, coupled with extremely low recording level this book is a hard listen. I know this is probably really picky but this guy's pronunciation of the letter S is so sharp it feels like someone has poked a sharp object in your ear.

8 people found this helpful

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A great listen!

I really live this author! Excellent descriptions and explanations. I can really feel connected with the topics.

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a very well thought out book

I did love the book, the connections the way they all entwine with each other is amazing and should be studied alot more extensively. the reason I give 3 stars is because of how "preachy" it got, yes I know humans are bad and we destroy things, yes we ruined alot of things that we cant get back, but it doesn't need to be mentioned every single chapter. this should be a information book with all the data you collect. not a written plea to the world

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Great learning experience

Awesome to hear how environment is changed with something as simple as fish. Great read.

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Entertaining and important

Peter Wohlleben does a great job of presenting scientific information in an accessible manner. He presents not just information about the natural environment, but, how to protect it.