Notes on a Nervous Planet
by Haig, Matt

A follow-up to the best-selling Reasons to Stay Alive shares a broad analysis of how modern life feeds anxiety, examining factors ranging from inequality and sleep disorders to social media and current events. Original.

Matt Haig is the author of the internationally bestselling memoir Reasons to Stay Alive, along with five novels, including How To Stop Time, and several award-winning children's books. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages.

He was having a panic attack in the middle of a mall. At 24 years old, Haig had first had an attack the previous month, filled with pain and terror. And now he was crying in the middle of a shopping center, with his girlfriend, Andrea, trying to talk him through it. Years later, Andrea, now Haig's wife, would try to help him again, this time preventing him from getting caught up in a fight on the internet. And soon he would have another bout with anxiety. But as he disconnected from technology to try to recover, Haig began thinking about writing a book to address how to handle the constant demands of modern life. Notes on a Nervous Planet contains lists, imagined conversations, essays, and personal stories that critique the damage that worry-about the environment, politics, the news, and everything else that demands our attention on a daily basis-wreaks on our ability to live a full life. Haig artfully, powerfully counters these challenges with battle-tested advice from his own hard-won experience. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

An anxiety-afflicted writer offers thoughtful tools for coping with our anxiety-provoking culture.In this illuminating follow-up to his memoir, Reasons to Stay Alive, novelist and children's author Haig (How to Stop Time, 2018, etc.) continues to explore how the rapid pace of our modern world can adversely affect our psyche. Early on, he asks, "how can we live in a mad world without ourselves going mad?" In bite-sized chapters, the author considers the various issues that plague us, including our increasing addiction to smartphones and social media, the emotional impact of absorbing 24-hour cycles of often grueling international news events, and our collective lack of sleep. Haig recalls his past anxiety attacks and prolonged bouts of serious depression, emotional episodes he addressed in his previous memoir, but here he reflects on the details as a launching pad for confronting these challenges. "In writing this book I have tried to look at the human psychological cost of th e world by looking at the only psychology I truly know—my own," he writes. "I have written about how we as individuals can try to stay sane within a maddening world. The fact that I have had mental illness, though a nightmare in reality, has educated me on the various triggers and torments of the modern world." Haig's solutions align with the current trend of mindfulness exercises—conscious breathing techniques, meditation, walks in nature, etc.—but he also expounds on the deeper benefits derived from reading good books and other activities. His prescription is to embrace the best of what modern culture has to offer and attempt to find balance rather than allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the increasing demands of so much social and technological stimuli. As he notes, "a completely connected world has the potential to go mad, all at once." A somewhat repetitive but often wise and inspiring self-help title strengthened by the author's very personal experi e nces and acquired insight. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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