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Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse: And Other Lessons from Modern Life

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  4,266 ratings  ·  362 reviews
What's wrong with calling a burglar brave? Why are people so f***ing hung up about swearing? Why do the asterisks in that sentence make it okay? Why do so many people want to stop other people doing things, and how can they be stopped from stopping them? Why is every film and TV programme a sequel or a remake? Why are we so reliant on perpetual diversion that someone has c ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published November 6th 2014 by Guardian Faber Publishing (first published November 4th 2014)
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Average rating 3.43  · 
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Marianne
“…if there’s one thing British audiences enjoy laughing at even more than their own failings, the rapacity of corporations or xenophobia in the Daily Mail, it’s the French”

Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse: And Other Lessons From Modern Life is a book by British actor, comedian and writer, David Mitchell. It contains a collection of columns that Mitchell has written for the Observer over the period 2009 to 2014, with some additional commentary. It also includes a twelve page appendix of pred
...more
Paul
Jan 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2015
Drawn from his column in the Observer each week, this collection of articles is diverse and wide ranging. No subject is too big or trivial for Mitchell to consider, from smoking to politics, the nuclear question to chocolate flavoured toothpaste and swearing to Downton Abbey. He asks questions that others won’t like, why do so many people want to stop other people doing things, and how can they be stopped from stopping them? And why are people so obsessed with bin collections? He is not afraid t ...more
Sally906
Oct 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I have long been a fan of David Mitchell – his dry laconic wit has me in stitches when I watch him on TV in ‘Would I lie to you’ and his frequent appearances on ‘QI,’ so I jumped at the opportunity to read his latest release. THINKING ABOUT IT ONLY MAKES IT WORSE is a collection of his columns that have previously been published in The Observer, now linked into rough chapters, or themes if you will, with headings such as:

• Just turn on your television set and stay in and do something more boring
...more
Mikayla
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
I unfortunately couldn't finish this one. As much as I like David Mitchell I couldn't get through his articles. I found some humour in them, that I can't bash him for. Though I just found it hrd to sludge through and it is definitely not a book to sit down to read in a couple of sittings, 20 minutes at a time is what's gonna end up happening with this. ...more
TraceyL
Mar 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, humor
I love David Mitchell. I watch a lot of British panel shows, and it feels like he appears on them all. He's funny and his wife is awesome. This book started off strong but did ramble quite a bit in the second half. Maybe it's just because he talks about a lot of things that are very British (politics and such) and I only vaguely knew what he was talking about. It was still pretty fun. ...more
Nigeyb
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I had not realised that Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse: And Other Lessons from Modern Life was a collection of quite old satirical articles from David Mitchell's Observer newspaper columns. Once I'd finally realised I almost gave it a miss, I mean what's more dated than a satirical newpaper column? I'm glad I gave it a chance as Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse: And Other Lessons from Modern Life is still very enjoyable despite being dated. David Mitchell is very witty and perceptive ...more
Bryndley W
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Overall rating: 4 out of 5.

If, like me, you have an inflated opinion of yourself, enjoy listening to BBC Radio Four, and ‘get’ satire, I would strongly recommend that you purchase David Mitchell’s new book, ‘Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse’. The new book features a selection of some of David Mitchell’s best articles written during his time at The Observer from 2008 to 2014. ‘Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse’ offers David Mitchell’s concerns, opinions and possible (although somewhat un
...more
Anna || BooksandBookends
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
I received a free copy of this book by the book's publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Comedian David Mitchell is well known thanks to the variety of TV shows such as 'Peep Show' and 'That Mitchell and Webb Look' he can be seen in. As a result, as soon as I saw he had written this book I knew that I wanted to read it. If I'm being completely honest, this book didn't match my original expectations and though it's humerous at times, it's also rather tedious reading at times.
...more
Stefani - SpelingExpirt
Oct 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
Thinking About it Only Makes it Worse by David Mitchell is quite possibly the worst book I’ve read this year, although maybe not quite as bad as that Whistleblower book that made me want to strangle the protagonist.

I wanted to read this book because I immediately thought I’d get some laughs but mostly I got eye ache from rolling them too much. I honestly don’t even know where to start here, it wasn’t as if the entire book was awful. Half the book was terribly dated because he’d written it years
...more
Marie Andrews
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
I love David Mitchell and usually find him hilarious, but was disappointed with this book. It took me a long time to read (over a week, rather than the usual one sitting I read books in) because I just couldn't get into it and didn't find the chapters that engaging or thrilling. It also was no where near as funny as I was expecting and whilst there certainly was a few funny bits, it was certainly not on the level I was hoping for. He talks about a variety of subjects from Politics to TV but I ju ...more
Shirley Bateman
Jan 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I love David Mitchell. I’d actually like to hang out with him — not possible, obviously 🙄. Mitchell’s Observer newspaper columns are great but didn’t work brilliantly as a book as they felt a bit repetitive. Added to this, many articles were written about 10 years ago, so they were a bit dated. Still, the audiobook (read by Mitchell himself) is a treat. I found myself laughing out loud on my daily commute.
Neha
Oct 07, 2020 rated it liked it
I didn't realise at first that this was a collection of David Mitchell's newspaper columns (which I anticipated might go straight over my head) but having inhaled the book within a couple of days it's exactly the kind of amusing pedantry I'd hoped for from this legendary comedian.

As expected from Mitchell it was insightful, funny and at times quite moving. From the sombre respect reserved for the humble poppy to the hilarious panic of the horsemeat scandal I enjoyed some truly laugh out loud mom
...more
Benjamin Stahl
First Reading (2017) - 3 Stars

My girlfriend, being a fan of Would I Lie to You? got me this book. I never knew anything about David Mitchell - having spent eighteen months in England four years ago, he was just a recognisable face. This book however, is quite enjoyable and often very funny. I would imagine one needs to have a foot in British culture to get most of things things he talks about - something I pretty much intentionally don't. But his general ranting - though of a liberal persuasion
...more
Bradley
Jan 24, 2015 rated it liked it
A collection of humorous newspaper articles written by David Mitchell are reprinted under vaguely ordered chapters.

I found a good many laugh out loud moments within the book and plenty more to smile about but there is most certainly a diminishing returns element to all this.

The first ten stories are fun and original, the next ten are fun but 3 of them feel like something you read in the first ten. This continues on until by the end of the book the last ten maybe only 1 or 2 have a fresh feel. Th
...more
Tanya Kuznetsova
This book is a compilation of David Mitchell’s articles written for his column in the Observer over the years (2009-2014). Many of them date way back before I even started living in Britain, so I studied them with a mixture of anthropological interest combined with some degree of bewilderment. These articles were originally written as a response to the then current events, which by definition makes many of them obsolete in 2019, and that’s where the main weakness of the book lies.
It is far from
...more
Joey Woolfardis
Sort of a summation of some of David Mitchell's articles as featured in the Observer newspaper, he annotates them and (quite possibly) edits them. I'm unsure as to the specifics, but that's not particularly a bad thing.

As one would expect, the mini-essays in this book are on a variety of topics, though most of them could be described as "British". It is an enjoyable book for its humour and scope; no fan of Mitchell could deny that it is definitely him speaking. I enjoyed his opinions and style o
...more
Abi McManigan
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
David Mitchell has a talent for taking any subject possible and turning it into an hilarious yet educational rant and the series of these rants are what this book consists of.

Actually compiled of his newspaper columns over a period of several years this was something different to listen to when winding down at night.

He covers myriad topics such as corrupt bankers, history exams and sexist football pundits which I agree sounds really boring but in fact is the opposite.

He has a knack for picking o
...more
Peter Geyer
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
David Mitchell is a familiar face and voice on my television when I want to watch some British comedy, and he sometimes appears on the Guardian online.

This book is a collection of writing from various times, with added comments here and there, some lugubrious in that he admits when his observations or prognostications haven't been the best. The chapters are on particular topics and are themed well.

It would probably better to see Mitchell as a social critic, one of the roles of a comedian or sati
...more
Simon
Jul 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I actually didn't realise before starting this that it was just a collection of newspaper columns. What this means is that it's probably best read in short bursts in the bathroom rather than all in one go.
The columns are mostly what you'd expect from Mitchell. Mordant, slightly grumpy and contrarian, but sprightly and often laugh-out-loud funny. One rather heavy section deals with the last election campaign and while he makes some good points I think he's on better form when doing the observatio
...more
Luke
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed his biography much more but it was amusing to listen to his thoughts on the happenings of yesteryears.
Tom Boniface-Webb
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The first collection of Observer articles from the entertainment polymath David Mitchell.

I’m vaguely annoyed that I missed these articles in the Observer when they were first published - I was too busy being hung over on a Sunday morning - but it does mean that I have a bumper lot to get through in one go here.

Mitchell’s thoughts converge mainly with mine, particularly on the political spectrum, but most certainly not on the musical one (he claimed on tv to have only ever bought one album - Phi
...more
Sarah
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5⭐
I love David Mitchell; I really enjoy his intelligent and sardonic style of comedy, and this collection of his newspaper columns from 2009-2014(ish) is exactly what you would expect. Each piece is a witty, insightful, self-deprecating, and hilarious commentary on then-current events. They are a bit dated now, and some apply to specifically British people/events/news, but they are still joyous to consume.

I suspect, however, that a book is not the best format for these articles; reading dozen
...more
Sam Hooker
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not your mom’s watery 2% satire. Full-fat sardonic brutality.

My biggest take-always from this were that I’m offended by all the wrong things, and the British monarchy is more useful than most Americans think. I don’t know what to do with this information.

If you’re fully satisfied with the things from which you derive your offense and prefer not to audit them, I do not recommend that you read this book. For everyone else, it’s a witty, insightful romp through the socio-political issues of the las
...more
Danny Reid
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it
A hit or miss collection of columns. Some had me laughing out loud, such as the indignity of teaming up with the French on national defense or the wretchedness of Banks, but just as many times my illiteracy with the books' very specific Britishness left me lost. I mean, I know it's prime ministers, but as soon as we're left with zingers aimed at shadow secretaries, I'm a goner. Still, good insights are peppered throughout. ...more
FlyingBulgarian Svetli H.
Very entertaining, sometimes completely out of the blue commentary of David Mitchell and his views.

I disagreed with some, agreed with others and found myself un-opinionated by most. I genuinely thought this book would be funnier - my husband always praises Mitchell as the best comedian so maybe my hopes and expectations were too high.

Pleasant enough though - and listening to the book was also insightful as Mitchell himself narrates the audible version.
Emily Moon
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting read in 2019 as it was focused on the financial crisis of 2012. But, I really enjoyed it and it was an insightful read as we battle continuously through the political situation of Brexit. At times, he goes just a little far but his observations and commentary about modern Britain make for an engaging and, at times, laugh-out-loud read.
Nickolas
Feb 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Not as good as his first book. A lot of it is a compilation of columns he's written in the past. It's very UK political so full of references to people and things a non UK person would know or understand. Still enjoyable though and I did learn a thing or two. ...more
Wendy
Dec 29, 2017 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Abandoned at 36% — just too much British politics circa 2010, but does have its moments. Sadly, not what I’m in the mood for circa 2018. I might skip ahead in search of more of the good stuff but won’t count it as finished.
Sohvi
Nov 03, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books, random
Oh David. No.
Joe
Nov 01, 2017 rated it liked it
I haven't actually finished it but I'm stopping reading cos I'd like to read something else ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

David Mitchell is a British actor, comedian and writer. He is one half of the comedic duo Mitchell and Webb, alongside Robert Webb, whom he met at Cambridge University. There they were both part of the Cambridge Footlights, of which Mitchell became President. Together the du
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