Book Review: Notes on a Nervous Planet, by Matt Haig

Posted on Friday, 7th December 2018

I finally got round to reading Matt Haig’s book, ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’.

Like, 'Reasons to Stay Alive', the book is made up of short, easy to digest chapters. As I said in my book review about 'Reasons to Stay Alive', I believe one reason for this is for people who are struggling while reading this to be able to pick it up and read a little bit, making it easily digestible.

Matt Haig is very good at writing very true observations about life. The chapter ‘Goalposts’ was an uncomfortably accurate observation on this idea that we will be ‘happy when’. This is an idea that is often discussed with my counselling clients.

Matt is also talented at dispensing advice without it seeming like advice. He writes lists with titles such as ‘What I tell myself when things get too much.’ So it’s merely him telling the reader things that are helpful to him, but they are also manageable tips that are easy to follow. In fact, most of what he writes about is very relatable. Including social media making him anxious, the importance of sleep and how our smart phone affects us.

Certain parts that I particularly enjoyed were the parts about time, and about our physical environment. The chapter ‘Stop the Clocks’ talks about time and the fact that it is a manmade construct. This is something I’ve always found interesting to read about since reading the book The Timekeeper by Mitch Albon. He talks a fair bit about the impact our physical environment can have on our mood. If you follow me on Instagram you will see I am a big believer of this too.

As I’ve said, it had many similarities to his book ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ and I actually think I preferred it to 'Notes on a Nervous Planet'. I think so many factors can influence how much we enjoy a book. Even thinking about the environment in which we read it. I read ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ in the summer time, usually when I was outside. I read ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’ during not very good weather, usually indoors, with the rain, wind and clouds as a backdrop.
I found 'Reasons to Stay Alive' a little more optimistic and hopeful and 'Notes on a Nervous Planet' I found a bit more hard going. This perhaps should come as no surprise, going by the titles of the books alone.

In conclusion, I always think Matt writes a lot of sense. This book was easy to read, matter of fact, with easy to follow advice (should you wish to take it). It wasn’t the most cheerful of books and so I would advise to be aware of how you’re feeling when you pick it up.

If you are struggling with how you’re feeling at the moment, why not get in touch?

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