Books · Read in 2021 · Reviews

(audio) Book Thoughts: Notes on a Nervous Planet (Matt Haig)

A very relatable view on anxiety in a crazy world


Title: Notes on a Nervous Planet
Author/Narrator: Matt Haig
Genre: Non-Fiction / Mental Health
First published: 2018
Edition: Audio 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 twenty-first century.


Honestly, I got more out of this book than I expected. I love Matt Haig as a fiction writer, but this was my first non-fiction book by him. This book centres around anxiety and how the world around us influences our mental health.

I only have mild anxiety myself, but I found a lot of the things Haig talked about in this book incredibly relatable. I liked the way that he normalises anxiety and talks us through what impact the world around us has on us human beans and our amazing minds.

Although he discusses ways to combat anxiety, it is clear that he knows that there is no easy fix. In fact, he still suffers with anxiety himself. He does give us an insight in what has helped him and what may help others.

He discusses all the things that influence are mental well-being in this modern world, such as social media, horrible news stories, etc, but also acknowledges that it is incredibly hard to step away from these influences. The world is designed to keep us needing, keep us wanting, and in the end it gets us.

I love the way he rattled off lots of lists. It reminded me of the beginning and end scenes of the movie Trainspotting and I found it strangely satisfying, especially on audio, which is the way I consumed this book.

Despite the serious subject, this was a light book to get through. Matt Haig has a great tone to his work and I found it very friendly and easy-going. I think this book will be very useful for those who suffer with mental health problems. It normalises it and makes you realise you are definitely not alone.

6 out of 7 stars

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