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About the book
  • Published: 19 June 2017
  • ISBN: 9781847947659
  • Imprint: Random House Books
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $40.00

Solitude

In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World




A timely exploration of how to be alone – and why it matters now more than ever before

THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
'An elegant, thoughtful book . . . beautifully expresses the importance and experience of liberation from the battery-hen life of constant connection.' Daily Mail
'I came away from this book a better human being. Michael Harris's take on existence is calm, unique, and makes one's soul feel good.' Douglas Coupland


Solitude is a rapidly vanishing experience. Our society now embraces sharing like never before: time alone is being forced out of our lives by the constant pings of smartphones and pokes of social media. But what if being alone still has something to offer us – something we have forgotten, but that we still desperately need?

In Solitude, award-winning author Michael Harris examines why being alone matters now more than ever before. He reflects on the paradoxical feeling of isolation that emerges from being constantly connected – and on how learning the beauty of solitude can help us escape it. After all, it is when we are alone that we realise the greatest truths about ourselves. Being alone – really alone – could be the only antidote to the frenzy of our digital age.

Rich with stories about the transformative power of solitude, and drawing on the research of the world's leading neuroscientists and behavioural psychologists, Solitude offers a timely and profound exploration of how to be alone – and why it matters for us all.




'A timely, eloquent provocation to daydream and wander.' Nathan Filer, author of The Shock of the Fall

  • Pub date: 19 June 2017
  • ISBN: 9781847947659
  • Imprint: Random House Books
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $40.00

About the Author

Michael Harris

Michael Harris is the author of The End of Absence, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction and became a national bestseller in Canada. He writes about media, civil liberties and the arts for dozens of publications, including the Washington Post, Wired, Salon and the Globe and Mail. He lives in Vancouver.

Also by Michael Harris

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Praise for Solitude

“An elegant, thoughtful book . . . beautifully expresses the importance and experience of liberation from the battery-hen life of constant connection and crowds.”

Daily Mail

“The leading thinker about technology’s corrupting influence on our collective psyche.”

Newsweek

“A compelling study of the subtle ways in which modern life and technologies have transformed our behaviour and sense of self . . . The strength of Harris’s argument lies in his showing how seemingly harmless new technologies insidiously influence our ways of being . . . Harris proposes ways in which we can discover ourselves within an increasingly digitally connected world.”

Times Literary Supplement

“I came away from this book a better human being. Michael Harris’s take on existence is calm, unique, and makes one's soul feel good yet never once does he rely on feel-good techniques.”

Douglas Coupland

“A timely, eloquent provocation to daydream and wander.”

Nathan Filer, author of THE SHOCK OF THE FALL

“A poetic, contemplative journey into the benefits of solo sojourning. The book – which weaves together personal anecdotes and fascinating research – makes a convincing argument for stepping away from the crowd (and your even more crowded phone) and scheduling some soul-resetting me time.”

ELLE

“Harris's book isn’t preachy; rather, it recasts small lifestyle changes as part of a struggle to regain that sense of self . . . It speaks to a long overdue conversation we still haven't properly had in our society.”

VICE

“Harris has an intuition that being alone with ourselves, paying attention to inner silence and being able to experience outer silence, is an essential part of being human . . . Thick with fact and argument and some fine writing.”

Paul Kingsnorth, New Statesman

“An insightful, lively meditation on why this increasingly scarce component of our lives should be preserved.”

Globe and Mail

“Elegant, accessible and often hilarious.”

Chicago Tribune

“Harris is always an engaging writer, easy to read and capable of expressing his arguments in memorable and helpful ways.”

Quill & Quire

“An appealing patchwork of latest brain research, personal anecdote, journalistic reportage and sly but never cynical observation. It makes for a very readable mélange.”

Literary Review of Canada

“In this beautifully wrought and engrossing meditation, Michael Harris observes how hard it is to find solitude in our buzzing, interconnected world.”

Jury of the RBC Taylor Prize

“A book that explores why we hardly ever spend time on our own – and why we should.”

The Pool

“We should remind ourselves that a life without solitude is a diminished life. What makes this book so valuable and so timely is that it serves both as a reminder of solitude’s worth and as a spur to resistance.”

Nicholas Carr, author of THE SHALLOWS

“There are now plenty of self-help books that recommend a balanced media diet, but none articulates than need as simply or profoundly as this exploration of solitude.”

Bookseller

“Michael Harris’s Solitude is a delightful reminder that, contrary to current wisdom, we cannot be fully human unless our minds are free to wander. An essential and spirited companion as our digital culture accelerates into the unknown.”

Andrew Westoll, author of THE CHIMPS OF FAUNA SANCTUARY

“Reading Harris’s book is like smashing your Google Glasses and looking through your unique lenses for the first time. This enjoyable, quirky probe into current brain science, psychology, and philosophy hugely contributes to the global ‘Great Turning’ toward a more diverse, durable future of freer people enjoying themselves more, both together and alone.”

William Powers, author of NEW SLOW CITY: LIVING SIMPLY IN THE WORLD’S FASTEST CITY

“This is an excellent book by a first-rate writer. Michael Harris brings his insight and eloquence to bear on one of the most insidious problems of our time: how to break free from the seductions of technology and reclaim our inner selves.”

Deborah Campbell, author of A DISAPPEARANCE IN DAMASCUS

“In a time of unrelenting connection, solitude becomes a radical act. It also becomes an essential one. Michael Harris makes a thoughtful and deeply felt case for why the art of spending quality time with oneself matters now more than ever – and the steps we can take to reclaim it.”

Brian Christian, author of ALGORITHMS TO LIVE BY


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