Book Review – How To Be Human: The Manual

  • Julia's Reading Challenge for 2019



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 things like our iPhones: as soon as the new one comes out, we don't think twice, we dump it. (Many people I know are now on iWife4 or iHusband8, the motto being, if it's new, it's better.)

We can't stop the future from arriving, no matter what drugs we're on. But even if nearly every part of us becomes robotic, we'll still, fingers crossed, have our minds, which, hopefully, we'll be able use for things like compassion, rather than chasing what's 'better', and if we can do that we're on the yellow brick road to happiness.

I wrote this book with a little help from a monk, who explains how the mind works, and also gives some mindfulness exercises, and a neuroscientist who explains what makes us 'us' in the brain. We answer every question you've ever had about: evolution, thoughts, emotions, the body, addictions, relationships, kids, the future and compassion. How to be Human is extremely funny, true and the only manual you'll need to help you upgrade your mind as much as you've upgraded your iPhone

Introduction on Goodreads. 


Julia's Review

This book is a little bit unique and certainly has that "marmite" feel - you will either love it or hate it. I really enjoyed it, perhaps because I listened to the audio version and the humour certainly came across. I had many laugh out loud moments and also a few lightbulb moments. It was good to hear the different perspectives from the experts. I must admit, when I first heard the monk speak, I thought it was one of those automated voices that are created by robots, but you soon appreciated that it wasn't and I enjoyed what he had to say. 

We all live in such a fast-paced world nowadays, so taking some time out to practice mindfulness can't be a bad thing, can it? Chapter eleven goes through exercises that you can do to help certain aspects of your life. The monk has his versions of exercises and Ruby has her versions. I took something from both and now I am practising mindfulness every day.