New Release Book Review: Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

Notes on a Nervous Planet…

About the Book:

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 21st century.

My Thoughts:

I’d love to make reading Notes on a Nervous Planet a compulsory human activity. Wake in the morning, eat breakfast, read Notes on a Nervous Planet for ten minutes and then begin your day. This little book, written by the immeasurably talented Matt Haig, is most accurately summed up as excellent. I have already been recommending this book to family, friends, and work colleagues.

“It might sound dramatic to say the planet could be heading for a breakdown. But we do know beyond doubt that in all kinds of ways – technologically, environmentally, politically – the world is changing. And fast. So we need, more than ever, to know how to edit the world, so it can never break us down.”

There is so much to be drawn out of this book. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by all that needs to be done, if you or someone you know has ever felt anxious or panicked or just strung out by the busyness of daily life, then you’ll gain by reading this book. If you’re as solid as a rock, you’ll still gain from reading this book as a means of gaining some insight into what it’s like for those who aren’t as solid as a rock.

“We often find ourselves wishing for more hours in the day, but that wouldn’t help anything. The problem, clearly, isn’t that we have a shortage of time. It’s more that we have an overload of everything else.”

The format of this book makes it easy to digest, because as the title implies, it really is a compilation of notes on many topics that are relevant to our lives as they are today, living on a nervous planet. Drawing on historical comparisons, scientific observations, social issues, psychology, technology, and marketing trends, Matt Haig offers so much food for thought on so many things.

“To enjoy life, we might have to stop thinking about what we will never be able to read and watch and say and do, and start to think of how to enjoy the world within our boundaries. To live on a human scale.”

What I loved most about Notes on a Nervous Planet was how Matt Haig not only brings issues to light, he poses a range of ways that we, as individuals, can take control over our own solutions to what may or may not be troubling us. I saw things in this book that I can do for myself, and then other things that I could do for my children, and different things again that I could utilise at work with the students I interact with on a daily basis.

“Because often identifying a problem, being mindful of it, becomes the solution itself.”

There are some very important observations on mental health that would prove to be of value to EVERYONE whether you have ever experienced a mental illness or not. It’s time to get real about mental health and it’s very unlikely that any of us will cruise through life feeling tip top 100% of the time. Equally unlikely is the chance that we will never encounter another person who isn’t feeling 100% tip top all of the time. None of us live in bubbles – I think! We all have family and friends and colleagues that we interact with on a regular basis. I don’t have enough fingers on one hand to count the amount of people I have known who have ended their own lives. Same goes for those I know who have been diagnosed with some form of mental illness. I highly doubt I am unique in this.

So this:

“I feel we need to stop seeing mental and physical health as either/or and more as a both/and situation . There is no difference. We are mental. We are physical. We are not split up into unrelated sections. We are not an existential department store. We are everything at once.”

And this:

“We need to build a kind of immune system of the mind, where we can absorb but not get infected by the world around us.”

Are just examples of the excellent observations and solutions Matt Haig offers us within his Notes on a Nervous Planet. Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t end this review with a snapshot of Matt’s observations on the importance of reading:

“It’s important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you’re given. It is how humans merge. How minds connect. Dreams. Empathy. Understanding. Escape. Reading is love in action.”

Thank you Matt Haig, for an authentic, honest, and intelligent look at what life is doing to our living.


Thanks is extended to Allen & Unwin for providing me with a copy of Notes on a Nervous Planet for review.

About the Author:

Matt Haig is the number one bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and six highly acclaimed novels for adults, including How to Stop Time, The Humans and The Radleys. As a writer for children and young adults he has won the Blue Peter Book Award, the Smarties Book Prize and been shortlisted three times for the Carnegie Medal. His work has been translated into over forty languages.
@matthaig1 |

Notes on a Nervous Planet
Published by A&U Canongate
Released on 1st August 2018
Available in Hardcover, eBook and Audiobook

13 thoughts on “New Release Book Review: Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

  1. I will be on the lookout for this book. The world/Australia has changed so much and not in a good way either and it’s doing my head in so this would be the perfect read right now!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This book was such a reward to check out. It’s been a long period of time given that I kept up until 3 am to end up a book. This one is worth the sleep deprivation I will need to deal with in a couple of hours. I also suggest to check out . PS: I love your blog. Thank you so much

    Liked by 1 person

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