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Notes on a Nervous Planet

By: Matt Haig
Narrated by: Matt Haig
Length: 5 hrs and 11 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (48 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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. 

©2018 Matt Haig (P)2018 Canongate Books Ltd

What listeners say about Notes on a Nervous Planet

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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Couldn't finish it

Maybe I'm unfair in my appraisal as I have zero neuroticism but christ almighty this is stuff which would seem obvious to the average 20 year old. Stop comparing yourself to others, the news is scary and you can't control it so don't consume too much, internet fights are bad... like this is just a fevered annoying rant. I don't feel sympathetic for those with anxiety, I'm annoyed this guy wasted a couple hours of my life.

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A gently life altering read

This book has changed my life. Not in a cheesey, selfhelpy, "my life in wonderful now" kind of way but in a genuine way. There was one particular line that hit me like someone had just stuck me with an arrow. It was the one about checking Twitter when I should be making myself breakfast. I had to go over that line again and again. I knew that I'd just come across one of those life altering pieces of information. I will listen to this book over and over again. I just know it.

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eye opening

was great to listen too. I found the listings in each chapter a bit much, bit overall I took away some great points and hope to listen again some day

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Wonderful

A fascinating and consoling exploration of what trying to feel okay often entails in the 21st century. Eloquently written and sincerely performed, this audiobook is equally revealing, reassuring and awe-inspiring. Just wonderful.

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More perspective, less tech

This was a nice, short read. Haig heavily discussed a global perspective of the technology revolution and it's impact - both negative and positive. I was most engaged when he shared specific examples of his worries, anxious situations and panic attacks. He inspires readers to employ mindfulness, social media boundaries, connection with others and simplification in cultivating a calmer, happier life. Haig's personal resilience and professional advocacy is to be commended!

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honest and real

I truly resonant a lot with what Matt Haig writes in this novel, his ideas on life I could not agree more with. He has inspired me to be more aware of the technology I use and to use it less, to go out in nature and to find peace. I highly recommend this.

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  • Clementine Beresford
  • 08-02-2019

Great Read

This is a stand alone book to read, but even better if read after reading Reasons to Stay Alive! I really enjoy books that are read by the authors, it somehow gives the book more credence, I would recommend both of these books, especially if you have suffered depression yourself or someone close to you has or has episodes of depression!

15 people found this helpful

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  • K. J. Noyes
  • 09-07-2018

Reasons looked inward, Notes looks back out again.

Honest and applicable life lessons from one of my favourite contemporary writers and thinkers. I'd call Matt Haig 'a thinker'. As well as enjoying almost every adult and children's novel he's brought out, I can recognise my own life, thought processes and faults in his two non-fiction 'guides to life' as I think of them. Reasons To Stay Alive was a bare-all look at one man's breakdown and recovery/lessons learned. Now Haig puts himself and us in the context of the wider world, society, the universe itself as he has us contemplate the meaning we give our modern lives, our obsessions with technology and social media, how we allow the influence of others to affect our own self-esteem and value. Utterly relatable, I think most people would find value in reading this. Just to have someone tell you (in my case literally as the author narrates the Audible version I listened to) that I need to go to bed earlier, turn away from the phone more, see the bigger picture of my place as a rather small cog in a very much larger machine - it's that kick you need sometimes to look at your life and appreciate just what you really have. As with the previous book, the short chapters and flitting from subject to subject worked for me. There is a connecting theme and flow, but it also feels very human and stream-of-consciousness, with lists (as a listener, I could hear them, rather than see them on a page, and would have liked to see them written down to savour a little more). Haig says what we all need to hear, and I imagine many will nod along, as I did. He makes an affable reader, his material highly relevant to his audience, and teens through to pensioners will find something enlightening and emboldening here to unite us all. With thanks to Nudge Books for providing a sample Audible copy.

37 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-01-2019

Helpful

Matt Haig is a Wonderful writer who have had the bravery to potrtray anxiety and deppression, in a way that doesnt give you anxiety nor make you Sad. Its eye opening, it helps to calm you in days that are overfilled with things. It helps you see the Worth in small things. Important things. I Just really loved this book

8 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 29-08-2018

Some nice things we all know we need to hear

A good read. Not exactly a page turner. But a good, nice, and short book.

7 people found this helpful

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  • supercooljeni
  • 15-01-2019

Fantastic food for thought

I personally find Matt Haig's philosophy on life one that I can really get on board with. I have enjoyed listening to this book whilst working and it's a gentle reminder to just "be", to enjoy life and let go of the guilt and stress associated with modern life. 5*

14 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-01-2019

Kind hearted but flimsy self-help

Like a book made of Facebook memes or instagram inspirational quotes. Well meaning, certainly, but lacks depth, analysis or criticality. Matt Haig is most definitely invested and cares very much about his subject - I took a lot from ‘reasons to stay alive’ - but this is all surface and all well trodden ground in the social media age.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Plamen
  • 24-04-2019

It doesn't get better!

I seldom write bad reviews since I buy books that I think I might like, but this one surprised me. I thought it would be about overcoming the challenges of the modern world but it turned out to be just an expose of those challenges. I sticked to the end since I've listened to books that were tedious in the beginning but got a lot better afterwards, but not this one! It just keep going and going in the same depressing monotonous tone with the same depressing monotonous thoughts. For a guy that suffered depression, for which I wholeheartedly sympathise, you'd think that he would not want to spread it, but this book was more depressing than any I have listened before, and the one I listened before that one was by Cormac McCarthy... It was full of misunderstood, misrepresented, or at best half true "facts" and theories. Very unscientific for all the works he quotes and refers to. Basically, it was 95% of ranting what's wrong with the modern world and about 5% (at the end of the rants, usually) about ways to try to minimize the damage. What I really didn't liked was that he made it look like everyone had his problems, which is completely untrue. He represent a miniscule portion of the populace, but his words will make you hypochondriac on his ideas that this and that is wrong with you. And, as a personal quirk, I hate when a chapter starts with a quote... It just bothers me for some reason, but I'd forgive it if the rest of the book's content was good. But in this case it just exacerbated my frustration.

5 people found this helpful

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  • CantineroJake95
  • 25-02-2019

Highly Relevant & Informed

Beautifully and eloquently narrated by the author himself - this book demystifies some of the issues troubling us a in the 21st century in a reader friendly and engaging way, while referencing other topical reads such as 'Why We Sleep' by Matthew Walker.

4 people found this helpful

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  • James O'F
  • 13-11-2018

not novel, not well structured

Reasonable food for thought, but only because collecting these ideas is always worthwhile. However, there was scarcely one idea in the book that I have not independently concluded in my own time, and I'm no expert. It is full of baseless armchair psychology. The focus on social media is tiresome. The quotes are meh. The sources seem to be just things the author googled, plus Sapiens and Why We Sleep. The concepts are structured in a chaotic fashion (not improved by the author saying this was deliberate in order to mirror chaos in the world...). It felt like eavesdropping on the author's therapeutic thought journal, and no doubt it was therapeutic to write. It just wasn't especially enjoyable to listen to. Performance was fine

21 people found this helpful

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  • Celia Felgate
  • 12-07-2018

simply amazing

I thought that a follow up to reasons to stay alive would be too much of an ask. I was wrong

3 people found this helpful