I came across an interview conversation in an interview between Joe Rogan and James Nester, author of “Breath – The New Science of a Lost Art” – a New York Times bestseller. They were discussing how you can warm your body through an ancient breathing technique. I was curious and bought the book.
I enjoyed the author’s personal journey to understand breathing – a regular and unnoticed activity that everyone carries on. The book has a non-linear narrative that takes you across different subjects, experts, locations, and experiments.
In modern medicine and science, the body components involved in breathing are neatly segmented and taken up as an area of specialization. But you see the author taking an interconnected view – he explains how breathing influences your blood pressure, how breathing exercises help regulate blood pressure and support heart function.
He introduces us to experts from a diverse set of fields. You see a choir conductor, treating tuberculosis and emphysema patients before moving on to coach Olympic teams. An anthropologist and a dentist help uncover the relationship between our diet and congestion, sinusitis, and sleep apnea. The author names such experts as Pulmonauts, as they explore pulmonology from different angles.
As you read through the book you get explored to the science, knowledge, and practices available across different subjects and experts. I enjoyed most the interrelationship that he highlights. The story of different experts putting together the learning from one domain into another and coming up with creative solutions is inspiring. It demonstrates the pitfalls of narrow specializations that are the norm. It shows the power of a polymath or a t-shaped knowledge & integrated creative approach can bring.