Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

Haig navigates a world that can be dark and stressful in search of the light that lifts the weight of the world off our shoulders; whether or not that’s possible, it’s nice to believe it is

Book Review by Heather McDaid | 29 Jun 2018
  • Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig
Book title: Notes on a Nervous Planet
Author: Matt Haig

The world is a nervous system. We are connected, more so than we ever have been, unable to truly disconnect. The planet is growing quickly, or disappearing quickly, whichever way you look at it. There’s no sign of slowing in any direction. And so we worry. Politics, body image, social media followers, life, news – it’s all there, flashing before us on screens on our TVs, or carried around in our pockets.

Notes on a Nervous Planet posits that there is potential for calm, offering a retreat from the bustling world around us. Haig identifies how fear sells and worry is currency to reap, while acknowledging the difficulty in truly being able to switch off. He remains hopeful, however, that people can find their own ways to disconnect from the stresses the world imparts on them and live in the present.

It’s a nice idea, growing from Haig’s hugely impactful Reasons to Stay Alive, and fills the pages with stories and tips interspersed with instagrammable pull-quotes. Robots are at odds with people often, and he negotiates the minefield of being human and trying to overcome anxiety in a world that is heavily populated but makes you feel alone.

Haig navigates a world that can be dark and stressful in search of the light that lifts the weight of the world off our shoulders; whether or not that’s possible, it’s nice to believe it is, and this book is the little beacon of hope that it could be.


Canongate, 5 July, £12.99

https://canongate.co.uk/books/2470-notes-on-a-nervous-planet/