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Notes on a Nervous Planet summary

Matt Haig

Build your very own twenty-first-century survival kit

4.5 (157 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig is a thought-provoking book that explores our modern world's impact on our mental health. It offers practical tips to deal with anxiety, stress, and information overload, urging readers to cherish their mental well-being in today's hectic world.

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    Notes on a Nervous Planet
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    The world is faster and messier than ever, and it’s making us sick.

    The modern world is a great place to live. There is less extreme poverty, hunger and violence than ever, and life expectancy is rising. But even though people live longer, more prosperous lives, they are also much more likely to be stressed, anxious and depressed. In industrialized nations all over the world, mental illness is on the rise. 

    Perhaps one reason for this is all the environmental, political and cultural changes we are experiencing at the moment. Change makes people nervous. Just think about the ice caps melting, robots taking our jobs or fake news stealing elections, and the world can start to seem like a pretty scary place.

    Of all these transformations, none is happening as rapidly as technological change. According to Moore’s Law, the processing power of computers doubles every few years. In the 1960s, when this observation was first made, a simple mathematical computer was the size of a car. Today you can carry the whole internet around in your pocket. 

    This rapid technological progress may be at the root of many other changes, influencing everything from political elections to our body image. Social media, for example, has quickly become a huge part of our lives, with major impacts on how we relate to each other. Think about it – just a handful of years ago, no one knew what a selfie or a tweet was. Now we are constantly packaging, presenting and rating ourselves on social platforms.

    But while technology is overhauled every few months, humans haven’t changed in thousands of years. No matter how many blue screens light up our homes at night, we still operate on the same internal clock as our ancestors did. We still need a healthy amount of sunlight, sleep and real-life social interaction. So, when we’re holed up inside for 14-hour workdays, emails keep us up at night and social media replaces human interaction, we deprive our bodies and minds of basic human needs. Like the author, you probably know from experience that too much technology, and social media, in particular, can exacerbate feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.

    It’s high time we examine how our modern life intersects with mental health and find ways to protect ourselves from the negative effects of ever-faster technological change.

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    What is Notes on a Nervous Planet about?

    Notes on a Nervous Planet (2018) is a compassionate guide on how to stay happy and healthy in the messy, modern world. Drawing on personal experience, author Matt Haig explores how technology can exacerbate stress, depression and anxiety, and presents ways to guard against this.

    Notes on a Nervous Planet Review

    Notes on a Nervous Planet (2018) is a thought-provoking book that delves into the challenges of living in a fast-paced, technology-driven society. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Offering a refreshing perspective on modern life, it explores our obsession with social media, information overload, and the impact these factors have on our mental health.
    • Through personal anecdotes, insightful observations, and practical advice, the book navigates the complexities of our digital age, providing strategies for finding balance and reconnection.
    • Combining wisdom and humor, Matt Haig presents the content in an engaging and relatable way, making the book both thought-provoking and entertaining.

    Who should read Notes on a Nervous Planet?

    • People suffering from anxiety, depression and panic disorder
    • Anyone who just can’t put their phone down
    • Parents, educators and coaches interested in responsible technology use

    About the Author

    Matt Haig is a British journalist and author who has written over 20 fiction and non-fiction books for both children and adults. His memoir, Reasons to Stay Alive, details his struggle with depression and was a number-one Sunday Times best-seller in the United Kingdom. His children’s books have been translated into over 25 languages.

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    Notes on a Nervous Planet FAQs 

    What is the main message of Notes on a Nervous Planet?

    The main message of Notes on a Nervous Planet is understanding and managing our anxiety in the digital age.

    How long does it take to read Notes on a Nervous Planet?

    The reading time for Notes on a Nervous Planet varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Notes on a Nervous Planet a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Notes on a Nervous Planet is worth reading because it offers valuable insights on managing anxiety in today's world.

    Who is the author of Notes on a Nervous Planet?

    The author of Notes on a Nervous Planet is Matt Haig.

    What to read after Notes on a Nervous Planet?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Notes on a Nervous Planet, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
    • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
    • I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t) by Brené Brown
    • Unwinding Anxiety by Judson Brewer
    • Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs
    • Welcome Home by Najwa Zebian
    • The Overthinking In Relationships Fix by Rodney Noble
    • On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
    • The 3.3 Rule by John Briggs
    • Break the Cycle by Dr. Mariel Buqué