Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Reasons to Stay Alive” as Want to Read:
Reasons to Stay Alive
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Reasons to Stay Alive

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  28,264 ratings  ·  3,547 reviews
I want life. I want to read it and write it and feel it and live it. I want, for as much of the time as possible in this blink-of-an-eye existence we have, to feel all that can be felt. I hate depression. I am scared of it. Terrified, in fact. But at the same time, it has made me who I am. And if - for me - it is the price of feeling life, it's a price always worth paying. ...more
Hardcover, 266 pages
Published March 5th 2015 by Canongate Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay AsherThe Bell Jar by Sylvia PlathThe Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey EugenidesRomeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
513 books — 482 voters
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. CoveyHow to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale CarnegieThe Secret by Rhonda ByrneThink and Grow Rich by Napoleon HillThe Reframe by Brian Maddox
Best Self Help Books
1,298 books — 1,824 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  28,264 ratings  ·  3,547 reviews

Sort order
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
FINALLY! A book about depression that makes sense, that those with depression will read and sit nodding their heads and agreeing all the way through it. No psychobabble here (from Psychologists who have never experienced depression) - just real raw telling of Matt Haig's journey with the dreaded black dog. This book should be given or bought by EVERYONE battling depression, or has a loved one battling it. It's everywhere you know.

Matt so simply explains how it feels, he is so darn honest and al
Es Summer
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it

If you are doubting to read this book, read this quote:

"The world is increasingly designed to depress us.
Happiness isn't very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturizer?
You make someone worry about ageing.
How do you get people to vote for a political party?
You make them worry about immigration.
How do you get them to buy insurance?
By making them worry about everything.
How do you get them to have plastic surgery?
JV ❄️☃️❄️
"I hate depression. I am scared of it. Terrified, in fact. But at the same time, it has made me who I am. And if – for me – it is the price of feeling life, it’s a price always worth paying. I am satisfied just to be."
2018 — The demon came. 'Twas the year I lost a part of myself. My soul wept and mourned for that someone I once truly cherished — the previous me. Looking into the mirror, I saw nothing but hopelessness, worthlessness, and sadness in those eyes — bereft of joy and love. The demon
4.5/5 stars. If you've suffered from depression and/or anxiety yourself at some point in your life or you know someone that has (and it's very likely that you do) this book is an absolute must-read.
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
"Words, just sometimes, can set you free."

'But in the end one needs more courage to live than to kill himself.'
~ Albert Camus, A Happy Death

This book has been an incredible read. I am not sure if there is an ancient saying about this, but this book surely appeared when the reader needed it. Matt Haig's Reasons To Stay Alive is just wonderful. It brought many bright rays of hope and sunshine, at a time when life's become so very uncertain and it seems to be all about getting through one day at a
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
One of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. Inspiration almost drips off the pages. It's honest and vivid enough to make difference even for people who have done no personal trips to the hellish planet of Depression.
And the imagery! Don't get me started on it or I won't get any sleep today! I love when concepts are mixed with guidelines and wisdom of someone who has been there and done all that.
I can't imagine why I never knew about this author before! It's a sure must read and a
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Beautiful. Informative. Powerful.

Around the Year in 52 Books Challenge Notes:
- 34. A book about mental illness
Jul 17, 2018 rated it liked it
“How to stop time: kiss.
How to travel in time: read.
How to escape time: music.
How to feel time: write.
How to release time: breathe.”
― Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive


This was OK ! There were some bits i related to, others not so much. However, the writing style was simple and accessible, the paragraphs; short and concise. This is a good read if you're beginning your journey of learning about depression :)
Hattie Grünewald
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I won this proof on twitter from Matt and though I don't often review books here, I thought that probably I owed him that. Not just for giving me a free copy, but for writing the book in the first place.

Let me be honest, I started reading this and thought "This book isn't written for me". But then I thought "There are people I would like to read this, because it feels so familiar to me." I would like to give it to people who are close to people with depression and anxiety, but don't really under
"Now, listen. If you have ever believed a depressive wants to be happy, you are wrong. They could not care less about the luxury of happiness. They just want to feel an absence of pain. To escape a mind on fire, where thoughts blaze and smoke like old possessions lost to arson. To be normal."

A meaningful book about depression, anxiety, and creating reasons to stay alive. Like a modern day William Styron, Matt Haig shares his experience with depression and anxiety and how he fought to overcome su
Joanne Harris
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of this book from Canongate. My usual technique, when reading an ARC, is to read 5 pages, then take a view as to whether I'm going to actually read the book. With REASONS TO STAY ALIVE, I'd passed the 50-page mark before I remembered to take a view, and by then I was down the rabbit-hole. Matt Haig is a marvellous writer: limpid; tender; passionate. In this memoir (and it's short, barely 200 pages long), he manages to articulate, both the bleakness of depression and the means o ...more
Whitney Atkinson
4.5 stars

If you’re easily triggered by descriptions of other people’s mental illnesses, I would advice against reading this during low points. There’s some very in-depth descriptions of his dark thoughts and the panic and depression he felt, and it was really uncomfortable to confront. I think the title misled me because I picked this book up on a bad night hoping it would be uplifting, but I almost immediately had to put it back down when I realized it wasn’t going to help at all, just add to m
Nicola Gipson
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who suffers from anxiety and depression will understand just how horrific and truly debilitating it can be . This book is excellent for anyone who has no idea how a family member or partner suffers. Hope you are still doing well Matt and what an absolutely fantastic supportive wife you have.
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So good that it should be required reading. In schools. For GPs. Everyone. Haig says that each mind breaks differently, but I think his heartfelt words will say/mean something to anyone who has felt anxiety or depression. Some sections were so real that I had to put the book aside for a while.

It's brilliant and hopeful. My thanks to Matt Haig for sharing so much of himself. It's not something most of us are able to do.
Nat K

5**** plus.

”You are going to go mad. Like Van Gogh. You might cut off your ear.”

Whether you have a large black dog lumbering behind you, or a playful puppy bounding by you side, your mental health is one of your greatest assets. It is more delicate than the most intricate Swiss watch. We often don’t think of it too much, until things go skewiff. It’s something we take for granted, like the sun rising and setting.

”Life is hard. It may be beautiful and wonderful, but it is also hard. The way peopl
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Wow. Wow. Wow. What an absorbing and powerful read. This was a book I purposefully set out to read slowly and in snippets mainly because many of the books themes took me to places too familiar and disturbing but I also couldn’t look away instead I devoured this in almost one sitting. Like a tragic car accident you can’t help staring at, I couldn’t stop reading. There’s times this book felt suffocating and uncomfortable like reliving a past nightmare. I even felt while reading this book a resurfa ...more
Amy | shoutame
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Not too long ago I was approached by Canongate about this book. They had seen that I made a recommendation video on my YouTube channel for books relating to mental health and because of this they thought I would enjoy this book. Mental health awareness is something I consider to be of the utmost importance - having suffered with depression and anxiety from a young age this is definitely a topic I hold dear to my heart.

Now I have to be honest - I'm not one for reading non-fiction, in fact last ye
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
I'm so conflicted, and I feel really bad rating this two stars. Maybe it's more like a 2.5 for me?
I do genuinely appreciate a lot of things about this, but at the same time I just couldn't connect. Honestly, if you're planning to read this - my lack of enjoyment over this book is probably a 'me-problem' and you should just go for it. I'm just not one of the people who 'get' this book, I guess.

Just to jot things down quickly(ish):
Things I enjoyed about this:
- Matt Haig brought up books a lot. I u
Julie Eilén
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I feel like this book is a friend I very much needed.
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z2017, ebook, nonfiction
3.5 stars.

I enjoyed reading this. It was such an honest and personal account of what Matt Haig went through. I could really relate to this but reading some parts were hard because of that. I kind of wish I read this when I was in a better mental space because I might have gotten more out of it but I think he did a really good job. I especially liked a passage that I have highlighted below about depression (I marked it with a * to differentiate it from the other quotes).

I hope more people come f
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thoughtful, witty and comforting approach to depression. I would've liked a little more hard science in this, but the author's right to say that our understanding of the brain is in the early stages, and to a sensible degree, we have to find what works for us. Throughout the book, we're offered avenues to explore that.

I'd particularly recommend this book to family and friends of the sufferer, as it explains depression very well, but there's plenty in here for veterans of the struggle.
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads, e-books
Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

After finishing this one, I can tell you that it is like a double edged sword. It is mostly positive and good but there were some parts that made me a bit uncomfortable. More on my full review which will come later...

Depression rates are even higher among medicine students than the general populations.
And because there is a stress from the subject itself, from our daily struggles and from dealing with illness and death and the everlasting torment from the faculty, we some
Johann (jobis89)
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“There is this idea that you either read to escape or you read to find yourself. I don’t really see the difference. We find ourselves through the process of escaping.”

The story of how Matt Haig came through crisis, triumphed over a mental illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again.

I wouldn’t say this book was revolutionary in any way, nor did it teach me anything I didn’t already know about depression and anxiety. However, Matt Haig writes in such an inspiring and hopeful way th
Liz Barnsley
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A fuller review MAY follow but my initial reactions to this book, just after finishing it, you can find here.

It is ironic (is that the right word I wonder?) that the author who gave me my first reason to stay alive, at a time when I struggled to find one - with his previous novel, The Humans - then went on to write openly, elegantly and with no holds barred, about his own experiences of depression and anxiety. And called it "Reasons to Stay Alive" If I was better with words myself I could probab
Matt Haig is an amazing writer. This is the first nonfiction book I’ve read from him, he wrote my favorite book I read last year: The Humans. But this book is really great and really important. It’s a book about his depression and anxiety and it’s partly the story of how he tried to kill himself and how he overcame that, but there’s also some really insightful facts about depression and anxiety and metaphors and lists of reasons to stay alive, and just a lot of really inspiring hopeful things in ...more
Sonya Serial Reader
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wait about my video about mental illness, this book made me decide to do it, to come out and dare to say it outloud, yes I have depression and anxiety disorder, I am fighting them everyday, and I relate to every single thing in this book (even though there are some differences). Gonna talk to you soon about it all. till then, keep fighting, keep hoping. Life is not as bad as it may seem some days!
da AL
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally, mental challenges discussed from the POV of someone who's survived and continues to surmount. It's also a sort of 'behind-the-scenes' to my most recent fave novel, "The Humans." The author does a fine job of performing the audiobook.
Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Wherever you are, at any moment, try and find something beautiful. A face, a line out of a poem, the clouds out of a window, some graffiti, a wind farm. Beauty cleans the mind.”

This was really good. I almost read it in one sitting, every time a 'chapter' ended, I wanted to continue. I got this for christmas and, as I am dealing with an anxiety disorder and depressive episodes, I wanted to read this for quite some time but I didn't know what to expect. And even now after reading it, I can't pro
Leilah Skelton
Nov 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reasons to read this book:

1) You have suffered/ are suffering depression and/or anxiety.
2) You know someone who has suffered/ is suffering depression and/or anxiety.

If you’re asking the question “Is this book for me?”, then the answer is simply, statistically speaking, that this book is for everybody. There isn’t a single person who wouldn’t benefit from the candid insights and sincerity it contains. Matt Haig has given us a book that is half memoir, half life raft, spoken with a voice that com
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book. I've been meaning to read it for a long time, but it was certainly worth the wait! I suffer from the illness myself, and this book is so much better than most self-help books.

Travelling through, Matt Haig's journey and experience with severe anxiety and depression, this account manages to portray an understandable and readable insight into the illness. If you suffer from this or know someone who does, this book is an essential read. Even if you don't, it still makes for
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: Reasons to Stay Alive - Matt Haig - 5 stars 11 28 Feb 22, 2019 12:05PM  
Play Book Tag: Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig 5 Stars 3 22 Sep 23, 2018 09:14AM  
Mental Health Boo...: Realistic portrayals of mental health 13 155 Sep 06, 2018 08:23PM  
  • Jump...And Your Life Will Appear: An Inch-by-Inch Guide to Making a Major Change
  • Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading
  • Shoot the Damn Dog: A Memoir of Depression
  • Untenrum frei
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate: A User Guide to an Asperger Life
  • The Skeleton Cupboard: Stories from a clinical psychologist
  • The Ministry of Thin
  • The Time in Between: A Memoir of Hunger and Hope
  • A Change Is Gonna Come
  • Making Friends with Anxiety
  • The Self-Care Project: How to let go of frazzle and make time for you
  • Countless
  • A History of Britain in 21 Women
  • Mind Your Head
  • Sane New World: Taming The Mind
  • Man Up: Surviving Modern Masculinity
  • A Brief History of Anxiety...Yours and Mine
Matt Haig was born in Sheffield, England in1975. He writes books for both adults and children, often blending the worlds of domestic reality and outright fantasy, with a quirky twist. His bestselling novels are translated into 28 languages. The Guardian has described his writing as 'delightfully weird' and the New York Times has called him 'a novelist of great talent' whose writing is 'funny, rive ...more
“How to stop time: kiss.
How to travel in time: read.
How to escape time: music.
How to feel time: write.
How to release time: breathe.”
“THE WORLD IS increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturiser? You make someone worry about ageing. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new smartphone? By making them feel like they are being left behind. To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our messy, human selves, would not be good for business.” 409 likes
More quotes…