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

An elegant, thoughtful book . . . beautifully expresses the importance and experience of liberation from the battery-hen life of constant connection and crowds.Daily Mail
‘A compelling study of the subtle ways in which modern life and technologies have transformed our behaviour and sense of self.’ Times Literary Supplement

In a world of social media and smartphones, true solitude has become increasingly hard to find. In this timely and important book, award-winning writer Michael Harris reveals why our hyper-connected society makes time alone more crucial than ever. He delves into the latest neuroscience to examine the way innovations like Google Maps and Facebook are eroding our ability to be by ourselves. He tells the stories of the remarkable people – from pioneering computer scientists to great nineteenth-century novelists – who managed to find solitude in the most unexpected of places. And he explores how solitude can bring clarity and creativity to each of our inner lives. Urgent, eloquent and beautifully argued, Solitude might just change the way you think about being alone.


‘Speaks to a long-overdue conversation we still haven’t properly had in our society.’ Vice
‘A timely, elegant provocation to daydream and wander.’ Nathan Filer, author of The Shock of the Fall
‘The leading thinker about technology’s corrupting influence on our collective psyche.’ Newsweek‘A poetic, contemplative journey into the benefits of solo sojourning.’ Elle

Reviews

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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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9781847947666

    April 30, 2018

    Random House Books

    272 pages

    RRP $22.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Trade Paperback

    9781847947659

    June 19, 2017

    Random House Books

    272 pages

    RRP $35.00

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

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