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  • The Comfort Crisis

  • Embrace Discomfort to Reclaim Your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self
  • By: Michael Easter
  • Narrated by: Michael Easter
  • Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (363 ratings)

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The Comfort Crisis

By: Michael Easter
Narrated by: Michael Easter
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Publisher's Summary

“If you've been looking for something different to level up your health, fitness, and personal growth, this is it.” (Melissa Urban, Whole30 CEO and New York Times best-selling author)

Discover the evolutionary mind and body benefits of living at the edges of your comfort zone and reconnecting with the wild.

In many ways, we’re more comfortable than ever before. But could our sheltered, temperature-controlled, overfed, underchallenged lives actually be the leading cause of many our most urgent physical and mental health issues? In this gripping investigation, award-winning journalist Michael Easter seeks out off-the-grid visionaries, disruptive genius researchers, and mind-body conditioning trailblazers who are unlocking the life-enhancing secrets of a counterintuitive solution: discomfort.

Easter’s journey to understand our evolutionary need to be challenged takes him to meet the NBA’s top exercise scientist, who uses an ancient Japanese practice to build championship athletes; to the mystical country of Bhutan, where an Oxford economist and Buddhist leader are showing the world what death can teach us about happiness; to the outdoor lab of a young neuroscientist who’s found that nature tests our physical and mental endurance in ways that expand creativity while taming burnout and anxiety; to the remote Alaskan backcountry on a demanding 33-day hunting expedition to experience the rewilding secrets of one of the last rugged places on Earth; and more.

Along the way, Easter uncovers a blueprint for leveraging the power of discomfort that will dramatically improve our health and happiness, and perhaps even help us understand what it means to be human. The Comfort Crisis is a bold call to break out of your comfort zone and explore the wild within yourself.

©2021 Michael Easter (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Changes the way we think about the modern world and how everyday conveniences are eroding our understanding of what it mean to be human.” (Richard Dorment, editor in chief, Men’s Health

“I read The Comfort Crisis in three straight sittings and was so motivated and inspired that I immediately made changes to my daily routines. Two months later, I've never been fitter, more self-confident, or happier. If you've been looking for something different to level up your health, fitness, and personal growth, THIS IS IT.” (Melissa Urban, Whole30 CEO and six-time New York Times best-selling author) 

“Entertaining and enlightening, Easter’s quest for a ‘rewilded’ diet, creative boredom, and other sensation - restoring discomforts is chock-full of solid science as well as a rollicking adventure.” (Dan Fagin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation)  

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I Can Listen To This Over and Over

The Comfort Crisis has given me a fresh outlook on how I am seeing my life. I see in my own life that the Comfort Crisis has been slowly taking over my world. Amplified by the restrictions of the pandemic, comfort has taken over my life. Instead of going to a climate controlled office, in my climate controlled car, from my climate controlled house ... I don't even need to commute any more. A daily run to the supermarket became my sense of an outing. Then I found myself going out the front to check the letterbox multiple times a day (even after I knew the window for the postman, postwoman or non-binary postal delivery technician had past). When the pandemic first hit it was in our Australian Autumn (Fall), and whenever I had a telephone call I would head out in to my yard and get some air and some greenery and take my calls. But, over time, that too faded. As someone who had been in to Cycling, Swimming, Walking and Life Saving, things were really off, and the weight was really coming on (fast).

Before getting my first car 23 years ago (WOW) I used to walk and take the train & bus everywhere. Lugging my back of books for University (NB in Australia it is not the norm to live on campus so it is like any other commute) was par for the course. And before that I was lucky to be a kid who walked to school (though high school was only 10min at best). Now, after many false starts I am taking up Rucking as described in the book. Even though I listened to the book several times now, getting out with a backpack loaded with weight left me feeling silly. But, I have pushed through that now and I think driving to the gym to lift weight in a climate controlled room is sillier (nothing against the gym and it's proven benefits that's just an analogy as to how I felt). I now Ruck between 30-60 minutes every day if I can. One other thing I had to get past was thinking, "I don't want to just walk around suburbia, that's not really inspiring." Now I use that time to listen to an audio book, or, observe people's gardens and see what planting is really working well in comparison to my own yard. The only thing is I live in a really flat location that is former grazing land. The nearest decent hill is a 30 minute drive. So that is my next goal.

It all may sound obvious, we weren't meant to live in a bubble. We all take fascination in looking at beach and pool scenes from the 60's and 70's and observing there are hardly any overweight people. And usually none of modern standards. For thousands of years we have gone along happily without vehicles, motorcycles or even bicycles (though the horse/donkey and cart had been around they still weren't available to everyone). So carrying a load of some description was the order of the day. It makes sense that as a meat eater you really should understand the act of taking an animal life. And balancing the emotion of knowing a hunted animal won't at least suffer the harshness of a wild death of a bear, a pack of wolves or drawing in a river crossing. And giving consideration to the fact that since the advent of the smart phone, so very few of us are ever truly left alone with out thoughts. We all know the feeling of being out without our phone, or the sense of foreboding when the charge is low.

Michael brings all this together, through his own experiences and learning outcomes, to tell us quite frankly what we all should know. Life, we're doing it wrong. There is nothing wrong with using all the wonderful tools of modern life (from cars to computers and all in between). But, there is something inherently wrong in not using our number one assets, our bodies. There is something inherently wrong in our diet. As a child of the 80's take out may have been a once a week treat. A block of chocolate was share between the family (Mum, Dad and Brother) watching the Saturday night movie on TV. These days we are bombarded with fast food companies ready to solve every craving (burgers, breakfast, tacos, coffee and even pizza). Treat foods have been made mainstream staples and concocted from anything but.

We are too comfortable too much of the time. We've all seen the image of escalators leading to a gym. For me it has been the welcome kick up the butt to lift myself off the couch and go for an evening walk with my Ruck (currently 22lbs/10Kg) and walk for 30-60 minutes. And let me tell you this is firing the muscles right through the body. At 45 I have regained a spring in my step. Thanks Michael for bringing your story in to the world.

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The forgotten art of living hides in these pages.

What an amazing listen. Michael masterfully reels you in the story and then pivots into cutting edge science studies that adds to the experience.

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Completely absorbing

Couldn't stop listening. This book has made me want to take a new direction in life, thank you Michael.

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excellent listen

amazing, very relevant to today's society. definitely makes you stop and think about the way we live.

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Simple common sense advice

This book made so much sense and all its claims have research backing them.

Really made me think what in modern life is responsible for my physical and mental health and this book gives very practical and easy to do ideas on how to improve them.

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fantastic ideas

this was a great book I enjoyed it meant sleep love the idea of being bored is very creativity I like it recommended it's great

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GoRuck!

Loved it! So any facets of my life to reconsider. Well researched but also entertaining.

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Great listen!!!

I definitely learned a few things and will be implementing some changes into my life

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Thought provoking

I absolutely loved this book , the themes beautifully wound into his one month trip in the Arctic . I feel inspired to push through and do hard things . Should be on the school syllabus as essential reading

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Great book that wakes the brain, and when you put any of the information into practice, the body.

A great listen that I could not stop listening. Covers what a modern human needs to know to function in today’s society.

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