Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How to Be Human: The Manual” as Want to Read:
How to Be Human: The Manual
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How to Be Human: The Manual

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  2,504 ratings  ·  236 reviews
It took us 4 billion years to evolve to where we are now. No question, anyone reading this has won the evolutionary Hunger Games by the fact you're on all twos and not some fossil. This should make us all the happiest species alive - most of us aren't, what's gone wrong? We've started treating ourselves more like machines and less like humans. We're so used to upgrading th ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published January 25th 2018 by Penguin Life
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about How to Be Human, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about How to Be Human

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,504 ratings  ·  236 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of How to Be Human: The Manual
Prachi Pati
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: self-help
There are books that work for you, and then there are books that just don’t cut it. It may be a best seller or a book by a renowned author, and yet, if you have to be honest, you would admit that a book didn’t work for you. The reasons could be multiple, trivial or very relevant, and yet- there are some things that you just need to accept and move on.

This book was one such disappointment for me. It hurts a little more, because I bought a paper book to read after ages, and found out that this was
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
An interesting read, Ruby Wax is on form with her witty style. The book, I'd call it a self-help guide, to mindfulness, and it's done with the help of a neurologist and a Buddhist.

What I found impressive is how she manages to cover a dry subject in an entertaining way. I liked her solo parts better than the dialogues with the two experts. My favourite chapters were the first one, covering human evolution at breakneck speed (that made me eager to read the rest of the book), and the chapter on rob
Jan 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
I couldn't bring myself to get even halfway through this book. For some reason the tone is excruciating to me, and I just can't understand the appeal to anyone who isn't a child!

I really just do not understand the modern trend with writing in a tone of 'I know so little about this wow this is all so big and confusing' when you're supposed to be writing to inform people. I found the 'conversation' parts actually infuriating - there are numerous quotes where the author actually interrupts the neur
Giuseppe D
Aug 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Let's say 3.5 on this one. I liked bits of it. The first chapter about evolution is quite funny if but it seems sometimes a bit simplistic. And it's a theme throughout the book, sometimes it feels like the author is reducing everything to her own experience a little too much, especially in the chapter about relationships.

I liked how everything goes through the different points of view of the neuroscientist who tries to explain where in the brain stuff happens (turns out we still don't know much
Actual rating: 3.5 / 5 stars

I recognised Ruby Wax after thinking she looked familiar in the picture she included in the book, I looked up her other books, briefly read her bio on goodreads and realised I new her from her comedy career.
I find it strange how there were sort of a jarring humour in a way in terms of some of the subjects that Ruby Wax was talking about. I think this was in terms of religion. it was sort of a dismissive, sarcastical regarded to, but I feel like in a way this could hav
Sarah Millward
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was ok
I did enjoy reading this book, it was entertaining and informative, but I was hoping it would explore the differences and similarities between the scientific and spiritual perspectives a little more. I feel like it didn’t take full advantage of having a monk and a neuroscientist as co-writers- they didn’t really feel like co-writers, they felt more like occasional visitors.

I guess I just wasn’t really in the mood for a self-help type of book, which is what this turned out to be, but I think Rub
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved this! I'm not one for science-y, self help books but I found this easy to read and really engaging. It was funny and rhe dynamic between the monk, Ruby & the neuroscientist was fun to read, and really demonstrated how science and mindfulness can work together to help. Ruby's sense of humour came through amd really made it easy to understand. Am now looking for her 1st book 'Frazzled' to try 🙂 ...more
Luís  Benedito
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
One the most wonderfull ways to understand how non-messed we truly are.
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really liked the structure of this book. Ruby Wax introduces each chapter (on various aspects of being human), which is then followed by a transcription of the relevant conversation between her, Gelong Thubten (the monk), and Ashish Ranpura (the neuroscientist). These exchanges don't always feel easy to me, but I'm sure it's hard to transcribe these things and keep the length under control. At the end of the book is a section of mindfulness exercises for each chapter's topic. For me, as a Budd ...more
Maïa Grange
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How to Be Human is the first book by Ruby Wax that I have read, and I'll start by saying I will definitely be reading more!

How to Be Human is a succinct, 'psychology 101' type book for any individual wanting to understand a bit about how the human mind and social interactions work. I know I just made the book sound dry - except it is anything but!

Wax skilfully integrates scientific findings, anecdotes, jokes and stories (both autobiographical and other) to make this book a light, interesting a
Michalis Manassakis
Feb 16, 2021 rated it liked it
I am a fan of Ruby Wax. I like her personality and I do think that she has been through a lot . She has showed her vulnerability and that is basically the reason she has a strong fanbase. However, this is not enough for me to justify a good review on her book. There is a lot of interesting information about the mind and how it works but most of it is rather basic; although the approach with the monk and the scientist was clever, it did not provide me with a lot of insights rather than : mindfuln ...more
Shirley Bateman
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Highly practical and deeply insightful. The book taught me so much about mindfulness and compassion. The main message I’ve taken from it is that we should always be kind to ourselves, especially when negativity takes over our thoughts.

The audiobook, narrated by Wax, the Buddhist monk, Gelong Thubten, and neuroscientist, Ash Ranpura, is really special. I particularly loved listening to Thubten taking us through the mindfulness exercises.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Like a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in a book. There is real knowledge in this book about how the mind works and how we feel things and how we can change our feelings. It’s easy to read and provides methods for meditation in your daily life. The conversations between ruby wax, the neuroscientist and the monk were fascinating though would work better on an audio book or podcast. Overall would recommend to any who wants to learn more about their mind and their ability to train it.
Linda Hill
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
A non-fiction look at how we live our lives and become who we are – and what to do about it!

Not having read anything by Ruby Wax previously I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. What I got in How To Be Human was an honest, open and insightful look at the way we behave, how we are programmed and, more importantly, how we can take back control. Ruby Wax writes with such integrity, warmth and humour it is impossible not to be drawn in, and affected by, her book.

I found myself completely captivated
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Ruby Wax, a monk and neuroscientist walk into a bar.

Not really, but they do sit around and discuss life, mindfulness and the science behind it. The result is an enjoyable and informative exploration of evolution, brain development and how mindfulness is even more important in coping with modern life than ever. It is well researched, funny and insightful and makes a good beginners guide to the whys and hows of mindfulness.
Phil Bradley
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazingly helpful book. It gave lots of good advice, especially on mindfulness and compassion. Lots of useful exercises as well. Really enjoyed some of the sidelights that it gave me. “The brain is Velcro for negative thoughts and Teflon for positive ones”. Thoroughly recommend this book to everyone.
Zoe Hall
Jun 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-stars
I won this book in a giveaway, so thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy. I found this to be a really interesting read. It was nice to have 3 viewpoints too. I can’t say as I’ve read many books of this type, but alas, I found it to be a fairly decent read!

‘You are the interior decorator of your life’...
Lady Drinkwell
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I only seem to like self help books written by Ruby Wax. I very much liked the combination of the monk and the neuroscientist and there are some very useful mindfulness exercises at the end. I have put it on a shelf in the bathroom in case visitors would like to read it.
Jul 08, 2019 rated it liked it
this was a pretty quick read. i like to learn about brains and why some of them are so hardwired for failure - and this ticked those boxes. i really liked the conversation parts, and i'd probably have read a whole book just of that, to be honest. ...more
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I think this would be great as auto book, alot of conversations and moments within the chapters that bounce back and forth. It felt like I was reading a script at times.

I can see being made I to a TV series.

Loved the last chapter on forgiveness.
Chiara Bruzzano
Feb 11, 2020 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susanne Mills
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book :) I love how honest Ruby Wax is about her own mental health needs and her struggles. I’ve ready books by her before and this certainly didn’t disappoint. I found myself having a giggle at parts and nodding at others. Well done Ruby. Keep talking about mental health :)
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fabulous guide to mindful living.
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
”I’m going to start where we all started, back in the swamp and with a fine-toothed comb find out what happened to make us who we are today. (I spoke a little about this in Frazzled but am now digging deeper). Are we everything evolution dreamed we’d be? If not – who can we blame? Not that we can do anything about it. but if there’s life on other planets, they may learn from us. The human race is a miracle when it comes to survival. If you’re alive and reading this book right now, you’re a bona ...more
Nicole Sweeney
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Review originally posted on The Bibliophile Chronicles.

One of my aims for 2018 is to attempt to read more non-fiction books, when this surprise came through my letterbox I was really excited to read it thinking it would be a fun and interesting look at mindfulness as well as being full of funny anecdotes from Ruby Wax. I’m sure this book will work for plenty of people and fans of Ruby Wax will no doubt adore it, but unfortunately it just wasn’t for me.

There are some really interesting parts of t
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it
My quest to read all the books I bought, dumped in a box and then forgot about continues. This week - How to Be Human by Ruby Wax and Two Interesting People.

I'm not sure why I stuck with this one after Mindfulness for the Frazzled , by the same author, was such a letdown. How to Be Human turned out to be a mixed bag. Then again, Neil Gaiman liked it, so of course it can't be all bad.

Like Frazzled, this book is peppered with Ruby's "insights" and anecdotes from her own life (that I couldn't ca
Sunneva Smaradottir
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
I want to rate this book with 2.5- but since that's not an option I will elaborate on my review.

Ruby Wax (the author) has good insight into the human psyche - i.e. thoughts and emotions. She is upfront with her dealings with depression and other character flaws. She manages to round up in a short book the stress of modern life on the human mind and how our "biological predisposition" affects us in ways that are not always obvious to us. That is, she speculates that our anxiety, depression and st
Ellie Morland
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help, adult
I love this book, it was such an interesting read for mindfulness and opened up my mind to many different theories relating to the human species that i would never have thought of. I recommend reading as a self-help book making you feel happier.
"If you're reading this book right now, you're already a gold medal winner in the evolutionary Hunger Games... " Given the dysfunctional nature of my body I think I probably only just scraped in with a participation trophy, but I am immensely pleased to have beaten the odds and not been born a frog!

How to Be Human is a funny, compassionate, and insightful guide to mindfulness, empathy, forgiveness, and the pursuit of inner peace over external perfection.

In writing this book, Ruby Wax teamed up
Sarah Hopkins
This book is a conglomeration of thoughts by Ruby Wax, a lady credited for her work towards better mental health, a neuroscientist of great intelligence and a Buddhist monk who is a practitioner of mindfulness.
It suggests that, for all our advances as a species with technological breakthroughs and strivings to better ourselves and our world, we still need to embrace a satisfaction in the moment of where we are each currently at.
There are some interesting facts and quotes - like we actually shar
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Calm: Working through life's daily stresses to find a peaceful centre
  • Notes on a Nervous Planet
  • My Sh*t Therapist: & Other Mental Health Stories
  • Reasons to Stay Alive
  • Happy
  • The Hairy Dieters Eat For Life Book 2
  • Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to Happiness
  • Rewild Yourself: 23 Spellbinding Ways To Make Nature More Visible
  • Haatchi & Little B: The Inspiring True Story of One Boy and His Dog
  • A Liberated Mind: The essential guide to ACT
  • The Joy of Work: Dilbert's Guide to Finding Happiness at the Expense of Your Co-Workers
  • Everything I Know About Love
  • The Salt Path
  • This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor
  • The Beauty of Living Twice
  • Ghosts
  • A Monk's Guide to Happiness: Meditation in the 21st Century
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Ruby Wax arrived in Britain in 1977 to pursue an acting career. She says "I really could never find my niche. I was a terrible actress, I couldn't sing, I couldn't do characters, I couldn't do an English accent and I lived in England, so I was narrowing it down".

She met French and Saunders at a party and worked alongside them a number of times, on television in Happy Families, at charity events su

Related Articles

Juneteenth, observed on June 19th each year, is an American holiday commemorating the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in Galveston,...
139 likes · 19 comments
“唯有寬恕自己,才能寬恕他人。與其總是為了人生的種種不滿找個人來怪罪,我們也許可以透過將「不像我們」的人們視為「如同我們」的人,而最終與所有人產生連結並和解。” 0 likes
More quotes…