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  • Reasons to Stay Alive

  • Written by: Matt Haig
  • Narrated by: Matt Haig
  • Length: 4 hrs and 26 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (100 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Whether you suffer from depression yourself or hope to gain a better understanding of someone who does, Reasons to Stay Alive is an unfailingly honest account of life at its bleakest, but one that simultaneously manages to deliver a powerfully positive message. 

What does it mean to feel truly alive? Aged 24, Matt Haig's world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. 

This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. 

A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth. 

'I wrote this book because the oldest clichés remain the truest. Time heals. The bottom of the valley never provides the clearest view. The tunnel does have light at the end of it, even if we haven't been able to see it.... Words, just sometimes, really can set you free.'

©2015 Matt Haig (P)2015 Canongate Books Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Maybe the most important book I've read this year." (Simon Mayo)
"A life-saving book." (Amanda Craig)
"Brings a difficult and sensitive subject out of the darkness and into the light." (Michael Palin)

What listeners say about Reasons to Stay Alive

Average Customer Ratings
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Now, I too, have a reason or two to stay alive!

When there is a high wall in front of you that you find impossible to climb, don't give up, keep tying and stay alive, that's the message I got when I found myself in a blind alley &found no reason to live. After listening to the story of this young & seemingly sucessful youths who didn't want to live on, I too, decided to carry on my physical existence &leave a mark behind!

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A good debut book!

The starting was hard to engage. But then I was hooked. The last few chapters are extra good!

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Best for Depressed Being

I never thought people can feel, what I felt. But author has already been here and somehow concurred this Pain.
First half was life a biography.
Second Half is boring.
End is great ..


Loved it!!

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Memoir or Biography: Interesting read though!

It is tough to classify this book in one genre. This is not a self help book for sure and as author puts it "This book is as messy as Life itself can get".

The solutions this book identifies are necessarily partial and personal, but are intended. I'm a growing fan of Matt Haig's writing. This is my second book from same author. After I enjoyed Midnight Library I picked this work. Recommend this short and sweet read.

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You've got to read this!

Great book! As real as it can get. Helps you make sense of Depression and Anxiety. Bits and pieces are worth holding on to for life.

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on point and honest

I loved it. content is very personal and honest. the narrator's voice is very calming.

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An eye opener

Loved the narrative. Some of the chapters are real eye openers for someone who had never experienced mental illness or struggled to decipher the condition during the clinical anxiety. The author gives clear takeaways on how to live life during the illness in few chapters which can be bookmarked for reference.

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  • David Lipschitz
  • 11-01-17

Helpful

Short chapters well narrated and even though the subject is "fear" there is a lot of fun in the book. I really enjoyed the book & the way it was honestly written & narrated & I intend listening to it again.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Frannie
  • 02-12-16

Powerful. Raw. Hang on and don't give up, not yet.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

So... real.

It wasn't enlightening nor technical nor did it teach me anything new about mental health issues.
But it made me feel perhaps understood. As if, I'm not the only one who struggles or has struggled with this, as if yes, that's exactly how you feel.

I would definitely recommend it to those who have suffered and/or are still suffering from depression.
You can win it. You can come out of it alive. Please don't give up.

Ps. Didn't like Matt Haig as a narrator. Sorry but it just didn't work for me.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jere
  • 08-05-16

Easy to reach!

It makes you feel better, even it is about dark things. Depression needs to be normalized. Good experience!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ann Higgs
  • 11-06-15

From the heart.

Excellent book written from the heart with absolute sincerity. A book I will go back to many times.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 31-07-22

GREAT BOOK

Just the words I needed to hear.
Thank you.
It puts my struggles in perspective.

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  • liz thielen
  • 22-05-22

More than a guide

For someone struggling with depression,anxiety and suicidal ideation, this book felt like a warm hug and a very necessary reminder that it is going to be okay. I made my loved ones listen to it as well because it explains the pain you feel so well.

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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 04-07-21

Words can make the world a better place

Honest and beautiful book. The key Message from this book will help me to Value everything about life for the rest of my life. I read it just after I finished the lovely Midnight Library and now I have ordered the Comfort Book. Thank you Matt Haig for your honesty, words can truly make the world a better place!

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  • WCC
  • 28-01-20

Nice audible book for knowing experience in depression

The narrator, which is the author himself, has a very calm voice that helps you keep listening to the whole story despite some of the words were so overwhelming!
Generally a great book and I get to know more about what depression and panic attack are like as some friends of mine have been affected by these conditions.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-07-18

Honest even with the redundancy

I found the narrative a bit superfluous and because of that, I was dying for it to be over. That said, I stillI appreciated the author's courage to talk about his experiences, despite the redundancy. I listened to this book because I was hoping to learn how others document their experiences with depression. While I don't struggle with anxiety, I am plagued with chronic loneliness and also trying to document my experience.

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  • Tracey Clare Dunlop
  • 10-09-19

If you’re depressed, get money, a partner & family!

I’ve seen SO many rave reviews of this book, and it just made me rant. I do like Matts writing and reading but to me this is ‘miss-sold’ as effectively you learn that his ever present girlfriend and well off family enable him to ride out his depression.. and those are not things available to huge amount of people who suffer from depression.

This could be made ok if he made any allusion to the fact there may be people out there that suffer alone, broke and forced to work, but it seems to be written solely for those able to approach things in the same way as Matt.

I’m really glad he’s managed to work his way through and found ways that work for him, but don’t recommend this book for those looking for solutions or understanding unless you’re middle class, masters educated and have money for travel.

307 people found this helpful

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  • Camilla Morgan
  • 26-05-15

A brave work for which I am so grateful

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Firstly, I would recommend this to people who don't suffer with mental illness but who want a better understanding of those who do. Partners, employers, politicians.

Primarily, I would recommend this book to friends suffering with their own mental health battles because Matt Haig's words give us permission to feel like normal, natural human beings again, despite and because of the struggle that is depression. This book is brave and terribly personal and it reassured me to know that I am not the only person to struggle as I do.

And, above all, I would recommend this book because Matt reassures us, in a calm and resounding voice, that depression does lift and that we will feel joy again.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Andrea was my favourite character, just as my partner is my favourite person in the world. To someone living with depression, the strength, patience, understanding and LOVE shown by our nearest and dearest is astounding, especially in those times when depression wears its ugliest face.

What about Matt Haig’s performance did you like?

I loved Matt Haig's performance and it meant more to me that this personal account was read by the person who lived through it to tell the tale.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listened to it pretty much all in one sitting.

Any additional comments?

Thank you to Matt Haig, you've helped me more than you know and I hope I'll meet you one day and thank you in person.

50 people found this helpful

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  • elaine
  • 18-11-18

reasons to stay alive

I did have to stop reading this book it made me feel even more depressed

46 people found this helpful

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  • Mr S S Humphrey
  • 24-03-18

Not for me

I feel for Matt regarding his experience, and it’s good to hear that he is managing it now and has come through the other side. The account of what depression and anxiety are is good, as is the way Matt tells the story, but I didn’t really take anything away that could actually help, other than managing the situation. There is little reference to dealing with the root cause, and I find that this is an issue in the society we live in, in general. I feel that the work of Dr David Hawkins, Lester Levenson, Eckhart Tolle, and many more, around working with the feeling and dissolving it resonates much more with me.
Having said that, this is probably a great book for those feeling isolated about their depression and anxiety - it’s an honest account that can help people to feel more connected to others and also understand their own challenges more.

44 people found this helpful

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  • Kaggy
  • 21-03-15

Words of wisdom

Matt Haig delivers exactly what you expect in this book. This is an achingly intimate account of his descent into depression and his description of his experience is vivid and disturbing. He then goes on to explain that depression isn't a personal failure or an inevitable downward spiral. If anything his appreciation of life, things and the people he loves has been enhanced by his experience. This is a book that should be shared with people who suffer from depression and anxiety and the people who are close to them. There is so much joy in this little book and I felt ten years younger after listening to it.

I recommended reading The Humans after this. You will get the link.

37 people found this helpful

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  • poppy red
  • 13-08-15

Amazing

I purchased reasons to stay alive on audible and so heard the story of Matt's journey into, through and out of depression told as if he were explaining it. I believe this made the experience much better although I also think that you can probably hear his voice in the book too, he is such an amazing author.

I loved this book and frequently listen to chapters just to remind myself of the message that Matt is sharing. I won't tell you what that is because I think it will be something different for each of us. I think that you should hear it though :) What I can say is that this stopped me in my tracks , more than once. It made me think about my life and the lives of people around me . It helped me to know about dark times and light.

I wish that the whole world would read this book, and I'd love it if , once we have, we could all talk about its content .

33 people found this helpful

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  • Sarah Guerin
  • 25-08-19

Disappointing Conclusion

The first half of the book was life changing, as someone who currently suffers from panic disorder I loved Matt’s descriptions and depictions of experiencing mental illness, with the “going to the shop” inner monologue a particular highlight. However from there it jumped very quickly from agoraphobia to neutral thoughts to “and then I started running and was better” without a lot of insights into the process. The last few chapters were overly philosophical and waffly, and the twitter chapter seemed insensitive to people at the darkest end of mental illness (who I assume are the largest demographic of readers!), who wish that family, friends, and bacon sandwiches could be enough to pull them from depression, but alas they often are not.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Dougster
  • 02-04-15

Company and Catharsis

Congratulations to Matt Haig for being a survivor of such a horrible illness. Thanks for providing an account of your own experience which can give company to those going through their own. I hope you found catharsis in sharing it and I wish you - and all readers - respite from the black dog.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Lesley
  • 03-07-15

LIVING with depression rather than dying from it

The word enlightening in greatly over used but this book is just that. Enlightening. With brutal honesty as well as humour the author sets out his own baffling journey from the onset to his eventual recovery from depression. This story gives those who have not have experienced severe clinical depression great insight into what that illness is and what it means to go through it, for the sufferer and for those close to them.

When talking about suicide the author says "I didn't really want to die. I just wanted the pain to stop." That really made me think about what prompts people do take their own lives and it has nothing to do with attention seeking or selfishness.

Everyone should read or listen to this book.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Mr
  • 24-10-18

Am I allowed to not like this?

I am very interested in mental health and psychology, and I know that everyone has to cope with it in their own individual way. Haig says in his book that writing helped him cope with his depression, and obviously other people have also found it helpful. So the book has served it's purpose.

I however, really struggled to keep listening. The first half came across as a long protracted cry of self-pity, and the second half a long series of self-help cliches culled from various "books wot I ave red". Interspersed with personal anecdotes that go nowhere, and tendentious cod-philosophy, usually without any kind of context.

I *know* that feeling sorry for oneself is an unavoidable part of depression, and is *not* a character weakness. But I found the author's apparent determination to see something heroic in endless misery infuriating. At several points he seems to me to come dangerously close to suggesting that depression and hypochondria are a necessary pre-condition for being able to truly appreciate the finer points of human existence: which I think is balderdash. Depression is not "ennobling" and mental suffering without purpose, has no more virtue than physical suffering without purpose.

Towards the end of the book, Haig writes - "More harm is done by work than by idleness". And this perfectly summed up my problem with the book, it's all about wallowing inside the self, and not about being focused and purposeful. Which IMHO is the only thing that will keep people stable after the sugar-rush of self-help mantras has dissipated.

I'm delighted that Haig found writing this book helped him over-come his demons. And I'm delighted it's helped so many other people too - but I found it exasperating.


I didn't like the narrator either, but that might just be because I found the material he was reading uncompelling.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Ben
  • 14-03-16

Professional suffer = 10/10

I am male 30 from Australia and have been dealing with all sorts for close to 8 years. Hands down best book I've read / listened to. Thanks Matt

5 people found this helpful

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  • Emma Fox
  • 26-08-21

It's rare to be understood by a book

But this book understood me. I'm so very grateful I discovered Matt Haig, I'm nearly done reading everything he's ever published.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Rhiannon
  • 06-09-21

So many reasons to stay alive, not least of which is Matt Haig’s writing!

An honest memoir / self-help book for all humans, and especially those of us touched by anxiety and depression.

While at times confronting and even troubling to those who relate closely to Matt’s experiences; Reasons to Stay Alive provides commensurate comfort to humans with busy, anxious and/or troubled minds.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-08-21

A must for everyone

Wonderfully written and narrated by someone who's lived and continues to live with the struggles of mental health. Possibly a life saving piece of literature. A huge thank you to Matt...

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mika
  • 11-03-21

Worth a read

As someone who turned to this book during a really dark time, I think this book focused way too much on the negative parts, when I was hoping for more optimism. That said, the last quarter of this book had some extremely helpful advice and is something I will refer back to when I need some words of encouragement.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-01-21

Brilliant

So nice to listen to a fantastic writer who can share and articulate this nasty Mental disease . I could relate to so many of Matt’s own experiences .. Great narrator and stories . Ive began yoga and meditation thanks to Matt’s advice ... feeling great and so much clarity .

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tayler
  • 30-11-20

A tough listen but worth it

This book may be short in length but it’s so dense with information and stories.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-01-20

Fantastic Book

This book was recommended by https://linktr.ee/livingthelifeyoulove on Instagram - so I purchased it that day, very happy I did.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Holly Lanagan
  • 01-02-16

Didn't Resonate

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I purchased this book having heard a lot of good things and had high hopes. I also thought it might be interesting to hear a male perspective on anxiety and depression. I listened to it in its entirety and while there were some great quotes, Matt Haig's experience and narrative just didn't resonate with me.

The overall theme seemed to be that if you wait mental illness out, it will pass. And come back. And pass again. And come back again, etc. I'm disappointed - I feel I didn't learn anything and have nothing to take away from this book despite the authors honesty.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-09-22

Surprised.

This was my first audiobook and I much prefer having a book in my hand and reading it. So, I didn’t think I would like this even in the beginning I was thinking hmm, it won’t have a huge affect on me. But I was surprised to find myself crying at the very last chapter. It was beautiful and sums up a very hard mental Illness but also gives you a lot of hope in a realistic way but also somehow makes you believe in magic. It beautiful. He is a lovely writer, my first book of his was the midnight library that was just as amazing and life changing for me.
Highly recommend.