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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 c 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 created chocolate toothpaste? Is there anything to be done about the Internet? These and many other questions trouble David Mitchell as he delights us with a tour of the absurdities of modern life - from Ryanair to Downton Abbey, sports day to smoking, nuclear weapons to phone etiquette, UKIP to hotdogs made of cats. Funny, provocative and shot through with refreshing amounts of common sense, Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse celebrates and commiserates on the state of things in our not entirely glorious nation.


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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 c 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 created chocolate toothpaste? Is there anything to be done about the Internet? These and many other questions trouble David Mitchell as he delights us with a tour of the absurdities of modern life - from Ryanair to Downton Abbey, sports day to smoking, nuclear weapons to phone etiquette, UKIP to hotdogs made of cats. Funny, provocative and shot through with refreshing amounts of common sense, Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse celebrates and commiserates on the state of things in our not entirely glorious nation.

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    “…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 “…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 predictions (made with tongue firmly in cheek) for years to come. Amongst the myriad of subjects on which Mitchell opines, TV shows, ad slogans, elections, wheelie bins and a comparison of GFC bankers with Nazis are just a sample. Much of what Mitchell says is very funny, clever, incisive and often thought-provoking, but some of it would only be so for the British and those who closely follow British politics and current affairs. None-the-less, some opinions are universally applicable: “…in general, we should avoid changing the names of aspects of the state or government because politicians’ tendency will always be to make the new names more emotive, more like adverts. And the government has nothing to sell us that we don’t already own” and others will resonate with many: “If those who misuse the apostrophe are not adversely judged for it, then why did I waste so much time listening in class?” Although some columns are quite dated, they may still be interesting to most readers, but others are, frankly, boring and readers could not be blamed for skipping pages. Viewers of QI and Would I Lie To You will hear Mitchell’s distinctive voice behind the text. Not for everyone.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    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 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 to be controversial too. He agrees with the judge who called a burglar brave, has a liberated view about swearing and bemoans that total lack of common sense that seems to prevail most of the time. Even though I get the Observer every week, I have only occasionally read his column in the paper, and I have heard him often on Radio 4 on various panel games, and he can be very funny. Whilst this book raised a few chuckles, there were no laugh out loud moments. I do like his attitude though, even if he can be a bit of a curmudgeon at times, and he has a refreshingly blunt point of view. Worth reading I think, and I will now be following his column each week in the paper.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sally906

    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 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 instead, and • Some things change and some things stay the same – and that’s one of the things that stays the same. Of course with such wide ranging chapter headings that each contain a plethora of loosely linked articles and the topics make it nigh on impossible to review. There is always going to be some topic that annoys people and other people love, and this is how I found it to be, some left me yawning – others didn’t. I don’t live in the UK – so ALL of these articles are new to me as I don’t read The Observer – however a friend of mine who lives in London complained as he said there was nothing new in the book for him as he avidly reads the columns, so keep that in mind. However, what I DID pick up was that some of the pieces he wrote may have been a bit old, like events happened years ago – and the information no longer as current – so I wasn’t quite as enthralled as I could have been as he didn’t change the tense when he added the pertinent column piece. He could have said that this happened back then, and this is what I thought and then either tells us if there have been any changes and what he thinks now and it would have added a deeper insight. I feel like a traitor for saying I thought just regurgitating his articles was a little bit lazy – he is normally so funny I think he could have pulled a whole new list of the absurdities of modern living to have a go at. I know too that in his introduction Mitchell mentioned that he was going to be complaining about the modern life, but I expected it to be, well, amusing complaining. If not all the time, at the very least some of the time, David Mitchel is a comedian after all – he kept telling us he was a comedian on more than one occasion. But he did do a lot of whinging and I didn’t actually laugh out loud once – whereas I am always cracking up at the things he says on TV – I did smile quite often – and even related to his parents and their Christmas cards. That was me he was writing about too – no card for two years and off the list you go!! But for the most part it just wasn’t as entertaining as I thought it would be. Maybe it was because it is not a book you should really start at the beginning and read through to the end – which I tried not to do – I was happier when I just dipped in and out of it which is maybe what he intended his readers to do. So if you are a fan of David Mitchell by all means pick up THINKING ABOUT IT ONLY MAKES IT WORSE but dabble with it, treat it like a box of chocolates – read a bit here and a bit there rather than inhale the whole lot - your enjoyment will be better. His voice comes through in his writing and I could almost hear him speaking as I read. I love that in a book. C – Above average. Was very readable and I really liked it but was easily able to put it down and walk away for a while. With thanks to Allen & Unwin and the author for this copy to read and review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mikayla

    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. 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.

  5. 5 out of 5

    TraceyL

    I love David Mitchell. I watch a lot of British panel shows, and it feels like he appears on them all. He's funny and his wife is awesome. This book started off strong but did ramble quite a bit in the second half. Maybe it's just because he talks about a lot of things that are very British (politics and such) and I only vaguely knew what he was talking about. It was still pretty fun. I love David Mitchell. I watch a lot of British panel shows, and it feels like he appears on them all. He's funny and his wife is awesome. This book started off strong but did ramble quite a bit in the second half. Maybe it's just because he talks about a lot of things that are very British (politics and such) and I only vaguely knew what he was talking about. It was still pretty fun.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nigeyb

    I had not realised that Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse: And Other Lessons from Modern Life was a collection of quite old satirical articles from David Mitchell's Observer newspaper columns. Once I'd finally realised I almost gave it a miss, I mean what's more dated than a satirical newpaper column? I'm glad I gave it a chance as Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse: And Other Lessons from Modern Life is still very enjoyable despite being dated. David Mitchell is very witty and perceptive I had not realised that Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse: And Other Lessons from Modern Life was a collection of quite old satirical articles from David Mitchell's Observer newspaper columns. Once I'd finally realised I almost gave it a miss, I mean what's more dated than a satirical newpaper column? I'm glad I gave it a chance as Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse: And Other Lessons from Modern Life is still very enjoyable despite being dated. David Mitchell is very witty and perceptive. I laughed out loud, I smiled a lot, and concluded much of it was also wise and clever. It was also quite fun to revisit the pre-Brexit, pre-Trump days of Cameron, Brown and George W Bush when the world now seems a much simpler place, credit crunch and all. I now plan to read the 2019 follow up Dishonesty is the Second-Best Policy: And Other Rules to Live By. 4/5

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bryndley W

    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 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 unlikely) solutions to, a variety of topics which include The financial crisis, his penchant for daytime TV and even chocolate flavoured toothpaste. As you would expect from a comedian like David Mitchell, with roots in the high-brow world of BBC Four, his articles prove to be both illuminating and an entertaining read. Many of the articles are demonstrative of his formidable intellect, although somehow, even through all the doom and gloom, prophecies and predictions, Mitchell still manages to hang on to his classic sense of humour; and with one well-placed turn of phrase, retains the ability to make you laugh out loud, even when you probably shouldn’t. One of my only criticisms of this book is the fact that it is reminiscent of a Simpson’s clip show, all the material already existed and all that had to be done was group articles together into broad chapters which focus on vaguely similar themes and hey presto, a new book! However David Mitchells rationally argued, well-informed and frequently hilarious articles go quite some way to counterbalance this fact. The book makes for a great overall read, especially for any of his fans; just don’t read the whole thing at once!

  8. 5 out of 5

    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. 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. The language used meant that if you were wanting a relaxing holiday read, rather having to use a dictionary all of the time, this isn't for you. If it wasn't for the dictionary on my Kindle I wouldn't have been able to make sense of some of his sentences. Let's face it, for me at least, the news is rarely interesting nor exciting. Neither is politics for me. However, they should make an excellent ground for comedy as it's something that everybody hears about. In this instance however, it just didn't work. Other people may thoroughouly enjoy this but it's not something I have any intention of reading again. Essentially, it's a book complaining about the British compaining and Mitchell proceeds to complain about it.... It was a good concept which could have been executed so much better. As I went through the book it did improve and some of his comments are witty and brilliant. Especially his thoughts about new technological inventions such as new toiets which have been designed to 'clean' you after you take a visit... This will no doubt be hilarious for some, but is just not my cup of tea. Reading this on holiday at times felt more like reading a droll newspaper rather than a comedian's book. For these reasons, it has to be 2/5 stars for me.

  9. 4 out of 5

    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 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 ago but he tries to get around his laziness, where he should have written or updated it, by throwing in really bad italicised comments. They’re along the lines of “look how wrong I was, I’m hilarious”. Read the rest of why I despised this book and more at SpExReviews

  10. 4 out of 5

    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 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 just didn't find them very interesting and a lot of the things were already topics/jokes he has spoken about before so it was nothing new. Quite disappointed, but still a fan of his in everything else he does.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Bateman

    I love David Mitchell. I’d actually like to hang out with him — not possible, obviously 🙄. Mitchell’s Observer newspaper columns are great but didn’t work brilliantly as a book as they felt a bit repetitive. Added to this, many articles were written about 10 years ago, so they were a bit dated. Still, the audiobook (read by Mitchell himself) is a treat. I found myself laughing out loud on my daily commute.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Neha

    I didn't realise at first that this was a collection of David Mitchell's newspaper columns (which I anticipated might go straight over my head) but having inhaled the book within a couple of days it's exactly the kind of amusing pedantry I'd hoped for from this legendary comedian. As expected from Mitchell it was insightful, funny and at times quite moving. From the sombre respect reserved for the humble poppy to the hilarious panic of the horsemeat scandal I enjoyed some truly laugh out loud mom I didn't realise at first that this was a collection of David Mitchell's newspaper columns (which I anticipated might go straight over my head) but having inhaled the book within a couple of days it's exactly the kind of amusing pedantry I'd hoped for from this legendary comedian. As expected from Mitchell it was insightful, funny and at times quite moving. From the sombre respect reserved for the humble poppy to the hilarious panic of the horsemeat scandal I enjoyed some truly laugh out loud moments (some - embarrassingly - in public spaces). Worth a try for those who need bite sized reads.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Stahl

    First Reading (2017) - 3 Stars 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 First Reading (2017) - 3 Stars 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 that inescapably charming British wit. I had a good chuckle with it. Second Reading (2021) - 2 Stars After reading Mitchell's latest book, Dishonesty is the Second-Best Policy, I looked back on this book much more fondly. At the time of first reading it, as stated in the review above, I moderately enjoyed it. Dishonesty is much less humorous - more jaded and upset with the way of the world. It was largely a rant against Donald Trump, Brexit and conservatives in general. Certainly many people's cup of tea, but not mine. It just came off as preachy, misinformed and far from funny. Returning to this book with my wife (who still likes the guy, whereas I now half-jokingly refer to him as a "disgusting leftie"), I had promised her this one was much better. Unfortunately, it was not nearly as good as I remembered it. Definitely better than his newest book, but far from great. I do like that he is much more balanced and takes the piss out of everyone rather than aiming solely at those who don't share his own values. For instance, in writing about a case where a delivery driver was suing his employers and making a big hullabaloo on social media when a complaint led to his being barred from hanging a crucifix in his company van, Mitchell rightly points out that not just the driver but the person who complained in the first place were kind of dicks. The driver, at the end of the day, ought to be a humble Christian and accept that if his employer wants to avoid needlessly triggering customers, then he might content himself with keeping the crucifix in his personal car, not his work-provided one. On the other hand, what type of person is getting so worked up by another harmlessly adorning their van with a small symbol of religious devotion? Everybody just needs to calm the fuck down. There were, of course, some genuinely hilarious parts. But they were not as frequent as I had hoped. Most of the time, David just rants in his likeable, faux-pompous way about things that have happened and since been forgotten. There is also a part right in the prologue that almost put me off reading it the first time, and that I hated just as much this time around: a needless reflective exercise on the despicably blasphemous 'Piss Christ' art showing, where David deviates from his usually gentle humour at Christianity's expense and jumps headlong into a revolting brainstorm about how Christ's image could have been even further desecrated. I'm sure his atheist fans love that, but it struck me as surprisingly distasteful and pandering a joke for Mitchell to make. But that's the culture isn't is?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    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 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. That is just the way it is. Combine that with my requirement to read the book within a timeframe (back to the library it goes) and it is like eating one chocolate bar after another. I suspect this has meant I have cut off a star from this rating because of the way I read it. There is a lot to like though. David is possibly quite angry but it is the anger that makes those laugh around him. The anger of a middle aged privileged white guy railing about how people called him names because of his "posh" credentials or the fact grammar as he knows it is not used by others. Fortunately David is self-aware enough to know this is funny so he avoids the "get over yourself" tag. Other articles give a fresh new perspective on looking at certain events or attitudes people have. Politicians come in for a pasting which given we are stuck with them regardless of what we do we might as well laugh about how poor they are at doing their jobs. The BBC is defended in a manner that conjures up Saturday night TV in the 70's (before we were all forced to review what we remembered of the presenters and see all manner of different interpretations to their actions with the Yewtree investigation overlay on.) All in all, funny and informed enough to be relevant and a few pointers to looking at the world a little more critically (or with a different form of critique anyway).

  15. 4 out of 5

    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 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 being the only weakness though. While some of these opinion pieces offered witty and relatable observations about the human condition (my favorite being about people who move to sunnier climes becoming less happy as a result), others were forgettable and dull. Much of the book would only be of any value only to the British, rather than a wider western or international audience. Finally, my god what is it with sentences that are so long-winded they occupy seven or eight lines and require the reader to go back to the beginning by the time they are done with it? I’m generally inclined to think that to enjoy the book, you have to ‘get’ David Mitchell’s personality and outlook on life (and he is not a sunny soul). Much of it just comes across as ranting for ranting’s sake, or defeatist attitude. Towards the end of the book I had certainly had enough and was ready to be done with it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    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 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 of writing and found most things to be very interesting, even, dare I say it, thought-provoking. I would suggest it is more of a dip-in-and-out book rather than something you read all the way through in one (or a few) sittings, much like a newspaper is issued periodically as opposed to at the beginning of the year. It is funny, at times quaint and very much David Mitchell. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Shop | Etsy

  17. 4 out of 5

    Abi McManigan

    David Mitchell has a talent for taking any subject possible and turning it into an hilarious yet educational rant and the series of these rants are what this book consists of. Actually compiled of his newspaper columns over a period of several years this was something different to listen to when winding down at night. He covers myriad topics such as corrupt bankers, history exams and sexist football pundits which I agree sounds really boring but in fact is the opposite. He has a knack for picking o David Mitchell has a talent for taking any subject possible and turning it into an hilarious yet educational rant and the series of these rants are what this book consists of. Actually compiled of his newspaper columns over a period of several years this was something different to listen to when winding down at night. He covers myriad topics such as corrupt bankers, history exams and sexist football pundits which I agree sounds really boring but in fact is the opposite. He has a knack for picking on a strand of information, quote or reported action and being able to dissect it, piece by piece, turning it into a brand new viewpoint for the reader (or in my case listener) that can make you feel as though brand new waves of sense are washing over you and making you laugh at the same time. It's impossible to argue with this man's logic. All his viewpoints are so well thought out and articulated that you can't help agreeing with everything he says and you love him for it. My only negative happens to be something personal and not his fault, which was that this book made me think too much. Not something you want right before you go to sleep!

  18. 5 out of 5

    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 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 satirist. He writes well, has a sharp wit and an eye for the absurd and ridiculous, particularly in the political sphere. Not all his ideas and comments come off, but that's to be expected. I think this is an easy to read, intelligent book, although that might mean that I like his politics. Once again, an agreeable price and reading for when the in-depth is beyond your personal reach but you don't want to read tripe.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Simon

    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 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 observational stuff about the little absurdities of everyday life. Essentially I had my own views echoed back at me, in a slightly wittier way than I'd have been able to express them myself. Nothing surprising or challenging, but none the less enjoyable for that.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Luke

    Enjoyed his biography much more but it was amusing to listen to his thoughts on the happenings of yesteryears.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tom Boniface-Webb

    The first collection of Observer articles from the entertainment polymath David Mitchell. I’m vaguely annoyed that I missed these articles in the Observer when they were first published - I was too busy being hung over on a Sunday morning - but it does mean that I have a bumper lot to get through in one go here. Mitchell’s thoughts converge mainly with mine, particularly on the political spectrum, but most certainly not on the musical one (he claimed on tv to have only ever bought one album - Phi The first collection of Observer articles from the entertainment polymath David Mitchell. I’m vaguely annoyed that I missed these articles in the Observer when they were first published - I was too busy being hung over on a Sunday morning - but it does mean that I have a bumper lot to get through in one go here. Mitchell’s thoughts converge mainly with mine, particularly on the political spectrum, but most certainly not on the musical one (he claimed on tv to have only ever bought one album - Phil Collins), and he writes sardonically and wittily, but there is such a weight of dramatic irony that hangs over this book I spent pretty much every sentence thinking: just you wait to see what happens next. The last years of the New Labour government and the early days of the coalition were veritable salad days compared to David Cameron’s Brexit shaped deal with the devil come the 2015 election. Cameron is described as having no policies other than wanting to prime minister: oh David just you wait! And Bojo is incredibly notable by his absence (apart from one scene late on when he jokingly imagines Johnson to be Prime Minister...). At times it’s as if Mitchell struggles to find things to write about. Such gems as Nick Clegg (remember him??) attempting to unearth the unpublished Chilton report. Wow! There was so little going on back in 2010, they were searching for things from 2003 to make up their news! The book’s follow up was released in 2019 so presumably all of the tie up dates Brexit info will be in that one. Can’t wait to read it!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    3.5⭐ I love David Mitchell; I really enjoy his intelligent and sardonic style of comedy, and this collection of his newspaper columns from 2009-2014(ish) is exactly what you would expect. Each piece is a witty, insightful, self-deprecating, and hilarious commentary on then-current events. They are a bit dated now, and some apply to specifically British people/events/news, but they are still joyous to consume. I suspect, however, that a book is not the best format for these articles; reading dozen 3.5⭐ I love David Mitchell; I really enjoy his intelligent and sardonic style of comedy, and this collection of his newspaper columns from 2009-2014(ish) is exactly what you would expect. Each piece is a witty, insightful, self-deprecating, and hilarious commentary on then-current events. They are a bit dated now, and some apply to specifically British people/events/news, but they are still joyous to consume. I suspect, however, that a book is not the best format for these articles; reading dozens of them in a row gets a bit much after a while. I think I'll begin to read his column every week and stick to the smaller doses.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sam Hooker

    Not your mom’s watery 2% satire. Full-fat sardonic brutality. My biggest take-always from this were that I’m offended by all the wrong things, and the British monarchy is more useful than most Americans think. I don’t know what to do with this information. If you’re fully satisfied with the things from which you derive your offense and prefer not to audit them, I do not recommend that you read this book. For everyone else, it’s a witty, insightful romp through the socio-political issues of the las Not your mom’s watery 2% satire. Full-fat sardonic brutality. My biggest take-always from this were that I’m offended by all the wrong things, and the British monarchy is more useful than most Americans think. I don’t know what to do with this information. If you’re fully satisfied with the things from which you derive your offense and prefer not to audit them, I do not recommend that you read this book. For everyone else, it’s a witty, insightful romp through the socio-political issues of the last decade that will leave you with things to think about. Thanks a lot for that, David Mitchell.

  24. 5 out of 5

    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. 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.

  25. 5 out of 5

    FlyingBulgarian Svetli H.

    Very entertaining, sometimes completely out of the blue commentary of David Mitchell and his views. I disagreed with some, agreed with others and found myself un-opinionated by most. I genuinely thought this book would be funnier - my husband always praises Mitchell as the best comedian so maybe my hopes and expectations were too high. Pleasant enough though - and listening to the book was also insightful as Mitchell himself narrates the audible version.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emily Moon

    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.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nickolas

    Not as good as his first book. A lot of it is a compilation of columns he's written in the past. It's very UK political so full of references to people and things a non UK person would know or understand. Still enjoyable though and I did learn a thing or two. Not as good as his first book. A lot of it is a compilation of columns he's written in the past. It's very UK political so full of references to people and things a non UK person would know or understand. Still enjoyable though and I did learn a thing or two.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    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.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sohvi

    Oh David. No.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    I haven't actually finished it but I'm stopping reading cos I'd like to read something else I haven't actually finished it but I'm stopping reading cos I'd like to read something else

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