Book reviews

Here are just some of the reviews for Think like a Tree: The natural principles guide to life

“This is an inspiring, thought provoking, well-conceived, easy to read book, brimming with helpful and down to earth comparisons of how we can learn from nature (trees in particular), in order to improve our lives. It is more than it says on the cover, a unique and motivational guide to the natural principles to living happy, healthy, well managed, productive, efficient and fulfilled lives, sprinkled with little known and fascinating facts about trees.
With a hectic life, making time to read books with the purpose of improving my life is very difficult. To follow suggested exercises or recommendations is even harder. But this book is different and I will be re-reading it in the paper version, so that I can make personal notes and highlight the points which ‘hit a nerve’ for me , I’m sure I will re-visit this book many times and it will become treasured and well used, as an invaluable life aid, in our troubled world.
It’s one of those rare books that I want to give to all my friends because I know that they will love it as much as I do. Thank you Sarah for writing it! “

This is a beautiful book.  The author lets her wounded healer’s passion for trees fly to the very top delicate branches, linger for a while and then flutter down to nestle beneath the forest floor. Snuggled in quiet contemplation, roots and fungi nurture us whilst the trees provide a sacred space suspended in time. Sarah takes us on a journey through her own life and how trees can be symbolic structures of healing. She returns us to our lost self – that part we became divided from the day we left the comfort of the forests and headed into an unknown wilderness. A delight to read as the pendulum sways once again towards nature as a healing force.” – Dr Kim Brown – Health Scientist and  Founder of Nature Therapy CIC

“Wow- I’ve never seen Dad this happy reading a book, he’s already said he needs me to read it when he’s finished. He was trying to save it to read on holiday, but I think it will be finished before then! Thank you”

“I have really enjoyed reading ‘Think like a tree’ It felt like I was remembering lost human wisdom that had been buried under the clutter of modern life.  Sarah brilliantly articulates the simple truths that can be gained by slowing down and observing lessons from nature.” EC

“Like Sarah, I also love trees. Having worked more with trees recently and teaching people how they grow and interact with other trees and plants, it has really entered my consciousness that thinking more like this, slowing down and observing can help me deal with things like stress, busyness and simply being. This book has really helped me tap into that. The exercises are definitely my favourite part of the book, and ones I know I will revisit. I also loved the summing up at the end which gives you ten easy ‘thinking like a tree’ steps as well as further nature challenges and reading. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves nature and needs an excuse to be out there more! ” – CP

“I will continue to dip in and out of it, as there are different things to relate to in different parts of your life and during different experiences. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something a little bit different, and perhaps people who feel they have become disconnected, but maybe don’t know why. The main thing is the book allows you to use this book as you see fit, to fit your life and your choices.” – CO

“This book was a joy to read. It is not only full of fascinating facts about the life-cycle of trees but backs up the theory that we can live a life in true harmony with nature. Many authors suggest better ways of living but all of the suggestions made by Sarah are based on the way that our beautiful, resilient trees have been living for thousands of years. It is so simple. No wonder that so many of us are falling ill in an era where we turn our back on nature’s principles in favour of staring at computer screens, tablets and phones for hours on end for solutions to life. We can just look around us and learn from nature’s wisdom. After reading this book, and also attending the Think like a Tree course, I realise that I can make a difference – not only for my lifetime but for the future of my grandchildren too. If you are longing for a happier, calmer, more natural way of life, read this book and start to think like a tree.”

“This book is written in an easy to read, informal style. It is easy to understand and the message within the book is written in a friendly and relatable style. The author assures the reader that she is no expert and it does not come across as being preachy or self righteous in any way. There is a liberal sprinkling of humour too. There are plenty of easy and simple exercises to do, which I urge you to try. There are also some case studies which provide another perspective. It also made me take a fresh look at my own personal situation and evaluate it, in ways that I never imagined before. It gave me lots of “food for thought” and ignited a few internal fires too. It made a lot of sense and certainly got me doing a lot of deep thinking and soul searching. Please don’t dismiss this book as being one for “tree huggers” and “eco-warriors” – there is something in it for everyone.”

“I can only say – what an amazing lady you are … and through your book of Principles, you have brought together many things for me, to either make new commitments, or re-commit too, for my life and work going forward. There are not many books that I can say have had such a profound effect in my life that they have changed it’s course – one of the first was The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, closely followed by The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod – both eliciting changes in my daily patterns, and slowly improving my life.  Another was Flow (Psychology of Happiness) by Czikzentmihalyi….which I note you reference …and I had bought, but never read, until it was again referenced in a book I read last year called IKIGAI !! So – I am now very proud and happy to say …. That those authors started me on a path of change, and learning, and now YOU have brought everything together – that I either believe in, or have learned to be correct principles, and brought me more cognitively to why I am loving my connections to our woodlands and Trees.” -AE

“I really enjoyed the blend of information about different species of trees, observations about society, case studies and reflective exercises. They are cleverly woven together by an author with a clear passion for her subject. I have already recommended this book to colleagues and wouldn’t hesitate in recommending to clients, family and friends. AC

“I was impressed by the depth of her research which underpins her very accessible philosophy and resonates with so much that I hold dear in this world – compassion, community, co-operation….. I’m still reading it as I’m digesting it with relish and highlighting paragraphs that I want to recall and remember and re-quote. A delightful guide to life for anyone and particularly those for whom the natural world is important.”

“I appreciate the way all the chapters end with practical exercises. Even working with one of these exercises could potentially be life-changing if we follow through. Exercises that stand out for us are likely to change with our needs. This is a book that can be re-read and chapters re-visited. I know more about my garden now, and when I walk down a street and see that tree roots have lifted the tarmac in places, it makes me smile.” R

“Think like a tree is an easy, insightful read. Sarah Spencer pulls together important knowledge from a vast variety of sources to motivate you in following her advice. If you are looking for eye-opening insights into how trees can inspire you to revolutionise your life, go into the forest, be in silence, be present – do whatever you need to do, however long you need to do it, until you hear them speak to you. And don’t doubt it, you will – in your way. In this book you will find a very clear and helpful summary of how trees and nature embody principles that you can follow to lead a better, more wholesome and caring life. Let them inspire you!” A

“I certainly have been looking at trees with renewed interest since reading the book, seeing how individual plants adapt to their circumstances in a way that can be used as metaphor for how individual humans adapt to their world and society.  This book gives you an understanding how to use patterns seen in nature, especially those seen in trees as an aid for contemplation. Sarah shows how the natural patterns of creation and destruction we are all aware of, though perhaps hadn’t considered very much, can be reflected in how we live. She shows how is possible to use these patterns to live a life that’s is truer to our strengths and shows how many of us work against them. LK

“The way this book weaves together its several strands marks it out as different.  Notably, a personal development and well-being guide, it also blends social and scientific evidence with ecological awareness to advance its message, together with Sarah Spencers’ (the author) personal narrative and struggle with illness as a backdrop, and setting the scene.

Admittedly I’m a Treehugger!  So I was obviously drawn to this book with its intriguing title.  The intrigue continued, the data and detail blending seamlessly with its absorbing text and guidance message.  The clear, direct style made the substance of the message easy to digest and also a pleasure to read. Each chapter (or Group as they’re called) is coherent and distinct but not wavering too far from the central theme laid out in the introductory section.  Quotations from well known authors and thinkers appear at the beginning of each chapter, and sprinkled throughout the book; invariably apt, well-placed and thought provoking, which brings added interest and enjoyment.

Everyone loves a tree… don’t they? The bibliography (an interesting read in itself!) indicates thorough research.  Sarah picks out many remarkable attributes of trees as a comparative device for human self-development. This might seem unlikely, but I suggest it makes convincing reading. Yes, this book fits nicely into my sphere of interest, though I’ll happily recommend it for anyone with a latent curiosity because of its readability.

If it brings you to love trees more, then that’s good; if it brings you to nurture yourself more, then even better.

I’m looking forward to it sitting on the shelf alongside my other tree booksIt’s one of those books; not simply a one-off read, but a book that I’ll revisit and refer to.  Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, it’s motivational. It should get you out there, among the trees, actively using its self-development tools. ” AM