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In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World

Michael Harris

Thomas Dunne Books

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opens in a new window Solitude Download image

ISBN10: 1250088607
ISBN13: 9781250088604


272 Pages


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Today, society embraces sharing like never before. Fueled by our dependence on mobile devices and social media, we have created an ecosystem of obsessive connection. Many of us now lead lives of strangely crowded isolation: we are always linked, but only shallowly so.

The capacity to be alone, properly alone, is one of life’s subtlest skills. Real solitude is a powerful resource we can call upon—a crucial ingredient for a rich interior life. It inspires reflection, allows creativity to flourish, and improves our relationships with ourselves and, unexpectedly, with others. Idle hands can, in fact, produce the extraordinary. In living bigger and faster, we have forgotten the joys of silence, and undervalued how profoundly it can revolutionize our lives.

This book is about discovering stillness inside the city, inside the crowd, inside our busy lives. With wit and energy, award-winning author Michael Harris weaves captivating true stories with reporting from the world’s foremost brain researchers, psychologists, and tech entrepreneurs to guide us toward a state of measured connectivity that balances quiet and companionship.

is a beautiful and convincing statement on the transformative power of being alone.


Praise for Solitude

"This year, a spate of new books offers amazing feats of solitude. The titles in part respond to the live-out-loud era of social media, where anyone with a device always has some form of company . . . 'You could call it crowd sickness,' said Michael Harris."—The Wall Street Journal

"A poetic, contemplative journey into the benefits of solo sojourning."—Elle Canada

"Solitude . . . serves as a manual for cutting out your life's unwanted noise and embracing the quiet."—Zoomer

"Harris makes a compelling case for how true aloneness is both a form of expertise and a reward."—The Georgia Straight

"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 The Most Human Human and Algorithms to Live By

"Harris reflects personally and powerfully on the paradoxical feelings of isolation that emerge from being constantly connected and draws on the latest neuro-scientific and behavioral research to tell stories about the transformational power of solitude which can make us happier, more productive and, ultimately, more human."—The Bookseller

Reviews from Goodreads

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 was longlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize, the Chautauqua Prize, and the BC National Award for Canadian Non-fiction. 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.

Hudson Hayden