James Nestor is an author and journalist who has written for Outside Magazine, Men's Journal, National Public Radio, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Scientific American, Surfer's Journal, Dwell Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, and more. His book, DEEP: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What The Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) was released in the United States and UK in June 2014.
DEEP was a BBC Book of the Week, a Finalist for the PEN American Center Best Sports Book of the Year, an Amazon Best Science Book of 2014, BuzzFeed 19 Best Nonfiction Books of 2014, ArtForum Top 10 Book of 2014, New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, Scientific American Recommended Read, Christian Science Monitor Editor’s Pick, and more. The book follows clans of extreme athletes, adventurers, and scientists as they plumb the limits of the ocean's depths and uncover weird and wondrous new discoveries that, in many cases, redefine our understanding of the ocean and ourselves. DEEP has been translated into French, German, Chinese, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, French, and more. The audiobook, read by Nestor, was released by Audible in June 2016.
Nestor has appeared on more than 40 national radio and television shows ― including ABC’s Nightline, CBS Morning News, and dozens of NPR programs.
He is currently under contract with Penguin/Riverhead on a new nonfiction book which Publishers Weekly long-windingly described as "...a journalistic exploration of the emerging and often wildly curious field of breath research, following the path of a single inhale, from its origins in the Big Bang 14 billion years ago into our lungs, as Nestor embeds with pulmonology scientists on the edge of startling new discoveries and 'breath hackers' who are tapping the human body's hidden potential in endurance, weight control, immune response, and longevity, all by harnessing breath, our most basic -- and misunderstood -- biological function." The yet-to-be-titled book will be published worldwide in late 2019.
On April 16, 2016, The New York Times and Sundance Institute debuted “The Click Effect,” a Virtual Reality short documentary by Nestor and Sandy Smolan. The film, produced by Annapurna Pictures with support from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, was based on a chapter in DEEP. “The Click Effect" has since become one of the most viewed VR films to date, with over one million views. In September 2017, "The Click Effect" was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best VR Experience.
Shortly after, Nestor did very little constructive work and very much hemming and hawing.
In 2017, Nestor and National Geographic Explorer and marine scientist, David Gruber, launched CETI (Cetacean Echolocation Translation Initiative), a nonprofit research group that develops and employs technologies such as machine-learning and AI to decipher the language of sperm whales. More at ceti.foundation.
Nestor joined a doomed surfing expedition to Norway and Russia for Outside Magazine in 2009, in which he and his team became the first to ride the breaks of the Arctic Circle. He has lived for a short time with Vanuatuan yam farmers who worshipped the US Army. At home in San Francisco, Nestor runs his 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300D on used cooking oil and occasionally risks his life picking up laundry in his Sebring-Vanguard CitiCar, the first-ever American-made production electric vehicle, which barely runs two blocks and is for sale.