Having read his first amazing book on depression Reasons to Stay Alive, I just had to read his next book Notes on a Nervous Planet. 

In this book Matt shares very interesting views about the effects of both technology and consumerism on our mental health.

He also offers some helpful strategies for those who need help with their addictions in these areas.

Haig is very honest and open about his journey with anxiety and depression [which he also covered in Reasons To Stay Alive] and reflects on how the up-tempo nature of modern society is playing havoc with mental health.

We are under pressure to perform, to spend more, to be seen to be successful, to be seen to be living it up, to consume, to have the latest gadgets all the time.

All this pressure has a negative effect on our mental health.

In fact, the book’s blurb is: What if the way we live was engineered to make us unhappy? And what if there was something we could do about it?”

In an era of serious mental illness suffered by many, this book is water in the desert. To say this book is important is an understatement.



I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has suffered with panic and anxiety or anyone who wants a better insight into the mind in overdrive.

This is a book you can turn to when you going through that off day.

It is witty and well written in easy to understand snippets and holds a light up to our ever increasing obsession with image and techno stuff.

Favourite Quotes:

  • “Reading isn’t important because it helps to get you a job. 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.”
  • “Remember no one really cares what you look like. They care what they look like. You are the only person in the world to have worried about your face.”

  • “And all this talk, over and over, of bravery: it would be nice one day if a public figure could talk about having depression without the media using words like ‘incredible courage’ and ‘coming out’. Sure, it is well intentioned. But you shouldn’t need to confess to having, say, anxiety. You should just be able to tell people. It’s an illness. Like asthma or measles or meningitis. It’s not a guilty secret. The shame people feel exacerbates symptoms. Yes, absolutely, people are often brave. But the bravery is in living with it, it shouldn’t be in talking about it.”
  • “Happiness is not good for the economy. We are encouraged, continually, to be a little bit dissatisfied with ourselves.”

  • “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.”
  • “Be a mystery, not a demographic. Be someone a computer could never quite know.”
  • “How much extra happiness am I acquiring? Why am I wanting so much more than I need? Wouldn’t I be happier learning to appreciate what I already have?”

  • “find a good book. And sit down and read it. There will be times in your life when you’ll feel lost and confused. The way back to yourself is through reading. I want you to remember that. The more you read, the more you will know how to find your way through those difficult times.”

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