#bookreview Notes on a nervous planet by Matt Haig published by Canongate

Amazon blurb:

The world is messing with our minds.

Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index.

– How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad?

– How do we stay human in a technological world?

– How do we feel happy when we are encouraged to be anxious?

After experiencing years of anxiety and panic attacks, these questions became urgent matters of life and death for Matt Haig. And he began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him. Notes on a Nervous Planet is a personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the twenty-first century.

My reading experience:

I enjoyed Reasons to stay alive for not only the openness of what Matt went through but also for the pointers. The main message in that book for me, was that reading can save your life. It can! I’m a self confessed bibliophile who studies bibliography and bibliographers so this was not hard to do.

Notes on a nervous planet has a new directive – How to stay sane in this mad world. Matt’s pointers are based on his own experiences and it’s his prerogative – he is the author. The first half of the book for me seems to way heavy on not getting drawn into arguments on social media. Matt’s message is this: do not use it as a safe space to air your opinions [when you are a best selling author]. I have to say that I thought this was something most people knew anyway, so I was a little disappointed. That said I have gleaned a few laughs from his lists – I believe the humour was intended. I’ve also got a few pointers and reminders such as, the world is shrinking, mirroring, and be careful who you pretend to be. From someone who tends to keep Twitter to post book reviews and Instagram as a picture diary (both private accounts) I am reminded that I censor myself online (I don’t consider that a bad thing) but I am not wearing any masks in my real life. This brings me nicely to studies on personas by academics.

All in a day’s work

Matt easily forgets that it’s not things or people who make you feel, only you can make yourself feel anything at all – sad, angry, joy etc etc. I think Matt is right though to point out “the shock of the news” – I myself have given up starting my day with it. Music is the way forward!

Find the hope that is already here and help it grow.”

I adore his notions of utopia (although he says there isn’t one) and will definitely attempt to think less in labels, and all of his tips for dealing with the madness of the news.

I particularly love the Note to self section which I need on the cover of my journal.

Matt has cleverly woven a wealth of fact through this book, some history, humour and guidance, and as is his want or style, lots of himself. I love this mans openness. This little gem is something to dive into and use, yes use, not just read.

Don’t just take your time, be your time.”


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