The Wayfinders

The Wayfinders

Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World

Book - 2009
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Every culture is a unique answer to a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human and alive? In The Wayfinders, renowned anthropologist, winner of the prestigious Samuel Johnson Prize, and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis leads us on a thrilling journey to celebrate the wisdom of the world's indigenous cultures.

In Polynesia we set sail with navigators whose ancestors settled the Pacific ten centuries before Christ. In the Amazon we meet the descendants of a true lost civilization, the Peoples of the Anaconda. In the Andes we discover that the earth really is alive, while in Australia we experience Dreamtime, the all-embracing philosophy of the first humans to walk out of Africa. We then travel to Nepal, where we encounter a wisdom hero, a Bodhisattva, who emerges from forty-five years of Buddhist retreat and solitude. And finally we settle in Borneo, where the last rainforest nomads struggle to survive.

Understanding the lessons of this journey will be our mission for the next century. For at risk is the human legacy -- a vast archive of knowledge and expertise, a catalogue of the imagination. Rediscovering a new appreciation for the diversity of the human spirit, as expressed by culture, is among the central challenges of our time.

Publisher: Toronto : House of Anansi Press, 2009.
ISBN: 9780887848421
Characteristics: 262 p. ;,21 cm.


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Feb 11, 2016

This is such an amazing book. How we have contorted the ancient cultures to fit our limited and brutal paradigm is enlightening on so many levels. I agree, this should be required reading for high school students, especially now when diversity and culture are on the radar finally.

Feb 08, 2016

An excellent book that should be read by all non-First Nations people, we have a lot to answer for.

Dec 08, 2015

Thought it would have more direct and tangible links to the thesis, instead a lot of loose thoughts....

Nov 06, 2015

As a Native American this book is beautiful and I hope that people read this book.
As a human being this book in perfect and everyone should be required to read this book.

Aug 28, 2014

Author Wade Davis presents some highlights of human cultures that you've probably never heard of. The purpose of the book is to get us to gain an appreciation of these and other cultures so that we may come to their defense before they disappear in a mass extinction of human ingenuity and creativity. These are the stories of us. Davis treats them with respect and delivers them with compelling insight.

Meeseeks Dec 07, 2013

I echo the comments from other reviewers, this book is fascinating and definitely worth a read.

Dec 06, 2013

Brilliant. This really made me think about ideas of progress and knowledge in a different way.

Feb 18, 2010

Wade Davis coined the term "ethnosphere" to describe the wide variety of cultures that span the planet. In the 2009 series of CBC Massey Lectures, he explains "why ancient wisdom matters in the modern world" and why even our concept of what is "modern" hinders our ability to see the benefit to our planet that would come from incorporating non-western cultural viewpoints. For the sake of all of us sharing living space on Earth, we need to open our eyes to better possibilities. The Wayfinders is an impassioned - and very readable - account of vibrant current cultures that are in danger of being lost.

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