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

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  2,623 ratings  ·  219 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

Kindle Edition, 337 pages
Published November 4th 2014 by Guardian Faber Publishing (first published November 1st 2014)
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3.40  · 
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 ·  2,623 ratings  ·  219 reviews

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“…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
Jan 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 26, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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
Bryndley W
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Anna (BooksandBookends)
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.
Stefani - SpelingExpirt
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
Jul 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
I tried over and over again to read this one but it just isn't the book for me. I was expecting humor but I didn't find it...
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
Peter Geyer
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
Marie Andrews
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
Benjamin Stahl
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 - is very clever and full of t ...more
Danny Reid
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.
Emily Moon
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 29, 2017 marked it as abandoned
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.
Nov 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't actually finished it but I'm stopping reading cos I'd like to read something else
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mildly amusing but I got a bit bored. In my head I said that with David Mitchell's voice.
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A collection of Mitchell's newspaper articles.
Occasionally amusing, but overall not a book I'd recommend to others.
Amanda G. (Nellie and Co.
I have to confess, I didn't and don't actually have an issue with this book, I believe the issue here is with myself. I enjoy David Mitchell's line of work; he is a wonderful and humourous comedian with lots of life experience and a life slightly different to my own, especially in his past and how he was brought up, so he brings a good amount of topics and differences to the table, but what I was looking for in this book, humour, was really taken up with a tad too much moaning and criticising of ...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
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is certainly one of the more enjoyable compilations of comedic think pieces from British journalism I've read recently. As much as I admire Danny Wallace, who I would tag as the closest parallel currently, this has the more sustained humour, and the more hard-hitting forthrightness. Of course it's a left-wing forthrightness, but the way the jokes and the convictions of the author skewer so many sacred cows and current modes of life and thought is much to be appreciated. The book does its cr ...more
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It's a collection of columns previously published in The Observer, but as I don't live in the UK and therefore have not been in contact with said paper, all was new for me.

This was the first I actually read by David Mitchell (not to be confused with the author of Cloud Atlas, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and more recently The Bone Clocks). I've seen/listened to him on a number of BBC shows though. And liked it. If you did as we
Jilly Gagnon
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, and David Mitchell is incredibly intelligent comic gold (and if you've devoured all of Peep Show and That Mitchell and Webb Look, as I have, you can actually hear his voice in your head as you read, like an extra-funny unexpected audio book).

As an American, though, several of the topics were too specific for me. The political tiffs of Britain circa 2009-2013 usually weren't things I could relate to, so I wound up starting--and eventually skipping over--about a third
David Mitchell talking jolly good sense about subjects ranging from apology-extortionists, sparkly poppies, movie franchises and, of course, politics. This book is essentially a big collection of Mitchell’s columns loosely grouped together into topics. I started reading it because I like Mitchell generally and find him funny, and I quickly found myself gently nodding along to his quiet outrage. The quality of the writing is excellent, but after a while it started to feel very repetitive – same s ...more
Amanda S.
***An ARC of Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse by David Mitchell was generously provided to me via NetGalley in exchange of honest review.

To be honest with you, I have never heard about David Mitchell before. I'm not familiar with American comedian other than the obvious one, such as Ellen or.. Heck, I don't know, okay? I only know Ellen. Haha. Even though I know some, I don't know that in American they call them comedian. I guess I know them as actors or hosts.

This book is not as witty or
Sarah Tipper
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is full of reasoned but amusing opinions rather than outrageous statements seeking the quick spotlight of attention used by some columnists. It has lots of bits of history scattered like confetti. It’s a calm book but certainly not a dull book.
It’s a good analysis of what we, as a society, have been concerning ourselves with for the past six years or so, a nice glance back over our shoulder with a wry shake of the head from side to side. It’s entertaining, informative and very funny w
Graeme Dunlop
Feb 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great, just great! I really like David Mitchell's self-deprecating style of humour, so buying this book was a no-brainer! I was slightly disappointed that it's a collection of newspaper pieces he's written but I needn't have been. After all, I never read the originals so it was all new to me!

Most enjoyable and quite often laugh-out-loud funny. Best read in small doses, I think, to avoid becoming jaded with the format.
Mitchell is a favourite of mine. His arguments are always hilarious but logical and incisive. This is a collection of columns he wrote for the Guqrdian and the Observer from 2010 to 2014. They are clever, funny and biting. They are also on a range of topics and if you try to read more than a few at a time, you may find yourself rather overloaded as I did. Best read in small doses, it's laugh-out-loud funny.
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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
“There’s something fishy about Google’s motto, “Don’t Be Evil.” I’m not saying it’s controversial but it makes you think, “Why bring that up? Why have you suddenly put the subject of being evil on the agenda?” It’s suspicious in the same way as Ukip constantly pointing out how racist they’re not –” 7 likes
“British Airways: “No one is actually going to save the environment, so you might as well enjoy it while it lasts.” 5 likes
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