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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it Alone and Rejoice!
Finally an answer to a loner's prayers! We are not as strange as the world wants to make us out to be afterall.
Anneli Rufus has done a magnificent job telling about life from a loner's perspective and making it all sound capable and NORMAL. She writes chapters on the loner in community, popular culture, films, advertising, friendships, love & sex, technology, art,...
Published on June 1 2004 by V. Marshall

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars united in seperateness
So go the "loners" of Party of One, as well as the book itself, as it is split into several stand-alone essays with a loose thematic cohesion. Rufus makes an admirable defense of her chosen topic, and looks at it through several interesting angles, such as art, clothing, religion, and advertising. I felt there were several ways in which the book could have been better,...
Published on Nov. 28 2003 by Glenn Cristobal


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it Alone and Rejoice!, June 1 2004
By 
V. Marshall (North Fork, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto (Paperback)
Finally an answer to a loner's prayers! We are not as strange as the world wants to make us out to be afterall.
Anneli Rufus has done a magnificent job telling about life from a loner's perspective and making it all sound capable and NORMAL. She writes chapters on the loner in community, popular culture, films, advertising, friendships, love & sex, technology, art, literature, religion, sanity, crime, eccentricity, clothes, environment, solo adventures and at last childhood. The words are a true manifesto for a loner's hungry soul, finally another person who understands.
In a world where loners are thought to be strange, crazy serial killers who cannot conform to society, Rufus encourages the idea that most loners in truth are the great creators and contemplators of the world. Issac Newton, Michaelangelo, writers, artists and philosophers become necessary human beings within all of their secretiveness. Instead of being arrogant attention getting hounds most loners create from the heart and give without a need for recognition, the truly unselfish can be found only in those selfish enough to enjoy being alone.
I would have loved to have given this book to a teacher who I had as a child. I remember sitting in a room with my parents while they were told by the "teacher" that she felt I was somehow autistic and withdrawn and might need "special" education. Despite my A's, my ability to pay attention and my athletic ability I was labeled and marked as a failure in her eyes. I wonder how many children today are pegged as something they are not and guided in a wrong direction. It took me 40 years to figure out how unique and completely normal I really am but I would hope after reading this book many others could celebrate the adventure alot sooner. A must read for those of you with quiet, withdrawn children who would rather day dream than stand around with all the other cattle.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Take a peak into the life of that person in the corner ...., July 16 2004
By 
C. P. (Fair Haven, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto (Paperback)
Growing up, Barbra Streisand sang that "people who need people are the luckiest people in the world." I didn't get it. It wasn't until a few years ago, after accidentally overhearing someone refer to me as a loner that I ever considered that I might be one.
Whereas I looked at other people, those of whom were needy and dependant, as strange and somewhat pitiful, it wasn't until I read this book that I realized that they felt that way about me! All along I considered myself perfectly normal while now I see that the "other side" -- the nonloners -- saw me as the unusual one.
This book doesn't so much try to explain why loners and nonloners act the way they do than to expose and explore the two disparate types of thinking and behaviors. It's a great source for either entity to enter the inside of the other side.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars united in seperateness, Nov. 28 2003
By 
Glenn Cristobal (Pacific Palisades, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto (Paperback)
So go the "loners" of Party of One, as well as the book itself, as it is split into several stand-alone essays with a loose thematic cohesion. Rufus makes an admirable defense of her chosen topic, and looks at it through several interesting angles, such as art, clothing, religion, and advertising. I felt there were several ways in which the book could have been better, and I'll outline a few of them here:
1) Rufus states an opinion that parents should not be trying to force children out of lonerhood if that's what they prefer. But she uses Steven Pinker, who believes that people are born with their personality traits, to buttress this assertion. Most experts today reject both the "blank slate" theory that Pinker reacts against, but they find Pinker's claims to be equally dubious. Personality and development are a complex interplay between one's genes and one's environment. It's disappointing to see Rufus ignore (or not recognize) this complexity, and it kind of discredits her point.
2) Whether or not loners are generally more creative, I'm not ready to swallow the assertion that the creative process is one that is necessarily dependent on solitude. Many artists have found their ideas being developed through dialogue with others. Think cliques such as the Bloomsbury Group (including Virginia Woolf, of whom Rufus hints is a loner) or the Impressionists. Many creative endeavors are collaborative, most notably musical ones. Which brings me to...
3) Rufus' lack of insight, despite a good portion of the book being dedicated to loners' creative prowess, into music and musicians. I think that would have undermined one of her most important points, that being that loners are better suited to be creative. However, I think it was just lack of research, not disingenuity, that made her overlook this.
4) The book lacked cohesiveness, a grand vision, and was generally only competently written. Compare this for example, to Laura Kipnis' remarkably sharp, playful, and witty "Against Love: A Polemic".
5) This book sees things in terms of loners and non-loners, while I think most people who read this book will feel that they possess characteristics from both categories.
Despite these faults, I would still recommend "Party of One" to loners who feel like they shouldn't be, and even more so to "non-loners" who tend to have negative reactions toward people who shun group activities and group mentality.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Making it all make sense!, Jan. 24 2004
By 
R. Speizer "thebooktiger" (Reno, NV) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto (Paperback)
When I first looked at this book I thought it was going to be rather a dry read. I was completely wrong. While light hearted, it is a serious and entertaining look into what is a loner, and why they are important to society.
Anneli Rufus pulls together so much. Why are loners the persecuted minority, yet worshiped in literature and the arts.
Perhaps the most telling chapter is how the media constantly pushes the image of the "loner" as the criminal type involved in so many violent crimes. The reality is that such people are not loners by choice, but outcasts who do not want to be alone.
If you are an introvert, and don't understand why people won't leave you alone, or why people think you are a weirdo because you prefer your own company, or even the spouse of a loner, this is a book not to be missed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth your time, Feb. 23 2004
This review is from: Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto (Paperback)
The back cover and introduction hooked me while in the bookstore, so I picked up a copy and was disappointed to find that there wasn't much else to the book. As many reviewers have pointed out, it does stroke the ego of the loner, but I found it be more a manifest list of who may have been a loner than anything else. I've been a loner all my life; recently I've been pondering moving in with a girlfriend, but due to my reluctance to give up my "space", I picked up the book hoping to learn more about how other loners interact with people. Other than a few interesting but meaningless insights (such as corporations market to those who will tell their friends, not those who won't), there wasn't much, beyond hearing how non-loners just don't understand. Not a book I'd recommend to anyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I know what it means to be alone" Good times, bad times, March 7 2004
By 
Gary C. Marfin (Sugar Land, Texas USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto (Paperback)
Loners are much maligned, misunderstood and, at the extremes, mistreated. Anneli Rufus wants to clear the air about them. It is not, she insists, sociopathic to choose to be by oneself, to prefer an urban sea of strangers to the familiar faces of the quaint small town. That such a defense is even necessary stems partly from the tendency of the media to label serial killers and others as "loners," when in fact they are very often quite social. She argues, as I have long suspected, that major criminals are friendless once they have been accused. (It's the "success has a thousand fathers, but failure is an orphan," problem.) In fact, it's her position that a tendency to be a loner and to be creative co-vary quite a bit. If you find that you are shy, or otherwise inclined to detachment and, at the same time, find that others are puzzled, if not hostile, toward your inclinations, this book will provide you with a solid foundation for explaining and defending the often overwhelming desire to find comfort in the very absence of companionship.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Be a 'real' individual and pass on this one, Dec 8 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto (Paperback)
I had high hopes for this title, and hoped it would enlighten me a bit and entertain me a lot. I fall within the focus group of this book, being as I am a lifelong 'loner,' having come to grips with this years ago. The introduction is promising, and described 'me' right down to the bone, describing the issues I have with more group-oriented people due to my 'loner' ways, etc. I bought the book.
When I got home and started reading more thoroughly, I felt my interest wanning with each page turned. The interesting hooks I felt from the first few paragraphs were slowly turning into a big group hug for those of the loner inclination.
If I wasn't secure with my 'loner-ness,' this book would probably be the affirmation I would be looking for so as to not feel awkward about my natural inclination to enjoy my own company, by myself.
I can't imagine any well-seated loner reading this book for more than a few pages, and tossing it aside for something more interesting and stimulating. If you are thinking of buying this book, get it in hand and drop in on a few paragraphs and make sure the voice your hearing from the pages is really talking to you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars witty read, March 15 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto (Paperback)
I am an introvert and a loner (the two are not always interchangeable). As loners do not often open up to many around them, I appreciated meeting another loner who thought and felt similarly to me, even if it was through a book and not face to face. While other forms of discrimination and prejudice in American society are now regarded as abhorrent, it is still acceptable to harbor a healthy prejudice against introverts. Introverts are a minority, but one that is not considered to have special needs that are just as legitimate as the majority - extroverts. I do not mean to imply that introverts are fragile souls, just that they do seem to be constructed differently from the start than their more sociable counterparts.
While there is often a bit too much of an "us vs. them" tone to the book, the author makes many important and often ignored points. I especially appreciated the discussion of why criminals are so often pegged as loners, and how incorrect that assumption often is.
The book, on the whole, read like a collection of previously published essays, but it was so evocative and elegantly written, that I forgave it its somewhat disjointed feel. Like other reviewers have mentioned, I am grateful to the author for publishing this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars FASCINATING, in-depth look at those who prefer to be alone, Jan. 31 2004
By 
Carol C. "ccjello" (Kansas City, MO USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto (Paperback)
This is a fascinating, well-researched, historically grounded account (and defense) of individuals who prefer to be alone, who don't feel a need to share all of their experiences with others, who dread office parties.
The author spends considerable time discussing loners' good points -- we're never bored. We're adventuresome, inventive, creative. We think outside the box. She also devotes considerable attention to debunking myths regarding loners. In the media, the cowboy figure is one of the few loners depicted as glamorous; most other times, the loner is depicted as the bad guy. The author distinguishes loners from outcasts. All too often, violent criminals, serial killers are erroneously depicted as loners. The author's definition of a loner excludes people who are alone but who desperately want to be accepted or loved by others. True loners (for whom the book is written) enjoy being alone. Outcasts, on the other hand -- often perceived as loners -- do not necessarily want to be alone. Ted Kaczinski, Timothy McVeigh & a host of others fit into the non-loner definition. I think the whole question of semantics could be avoided if one thinks of a loner as an introvert.
Particularly interesting was the author's look at loners in history -- the religious hermits who resided on British estates, the anchoresses who were locked into tiny rooms on cathedral property, communicating with others only through a brick-sized hole in a wall, at the mercy of others for food and support.
The book helped me to understand myself -- why I don't wear my college sweatshirt and class ring, why I don't display signs of membership in organizations, why I don't really have a favorite KC Chiefs player and jersey, and why I don't feel like I fit in when I'm at a party where everyone is talking about football and the weather. The author described her loner husband's wardrobe as a collection of tee shirts purchased at used clothing stores simply because they are the right size. A loner would never want to wear a shirt that had a statement about him or herself. We reject signs of belonging, of membership, as a compromise of ourselves. Loners generally hate dress codes and other institutional restrictions
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5.0 out of 5 stars The menace of the herd, Nov. 11 2003
By 
Andrew S. Rogers (Houston, Texas) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto (Paperback)
As a dyed-in-the-wool (and unrepentant) introvert, I wished, at first, that Anneli Rufus hadn't chosen the word "loner" for her title, linked as it is with inevitable prefix "crazed" in so many news stories of murderers on the loose. But that's exactly her point: Rufus is determined to rescue the word -- and more importantly, the reputation of the people the word accurately describes -- from the misinterpretations and calumnies heaped upon it, and us, for so long.
It's an uphill fight, but it's definitely worth the effort. This book isn't one of the many attempts to offer introverts "coping skills" or networking tips for surviving with our sanity in an extroverted world. Instead, it's more of a call to extroverts out there to understand whom you're dealing with ... or more correctly, whom they're not dealing with ... and what we're all about.
To do this, Rufus covers a wide range of history and popular culture, showing how introverts have carved out places for themselves and learned to live with at least some degree of peace, despite the constant tug of "caring" people crying, "Come out of your shell and live a little!" It may seem paradoxical for a loner to tell other loners "We're not alone," but in this instance, it's a surprisingly comforting message.
Rufus's chapter on crime may be the most important, and the one with the widest implications outside the introvert community (so to speak), because it's here that she tackles the myth of the murderous loner and attempts to salvage the word from those who, she argues, misuse it so terribly.
Loners, she says, are people who *want* to be alone. Who enjoy their solitude. But many of the criminals who have been tagged as "loners" don't fit that description at all. Many of them have been marginalized from society, and want to strike back at it. They want to impress others, and be accepted by those whose approval they crave. Or, like Mark David Chapman, the "pseudoloner" who killed John Lennon, they simply crave attention. There's no such thing as an "attention-seeking loner."
There are other criminals, she argues, for whom the "loner" label doesn't even remotely fit, and she roundly criticizes the police profilers and news reporters who use the term so sloppily. Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, for example, wasn't a loner at all, though he's often described that way. Neither were the Columbine High School shooters, or Ted Bundy, or John Wayne Gacy, though all of them have been called "loners."
Her point is an important one, if one many may dismiss as mere semantics. And it ties into her other important chapter, on raising loner children. If parents believe -- as many apparently do -- that any child who prefers to play by himself is liable to grow up to become a mass murderer, and therefore needs to be "cured," or "trained" out, of his introvert personality, life for that child is simply going to be hell. Though my situation growing up was hardly as extreme as some of the stories told here, I nevertheless sympathized completely with children made to act more extroverted than was comfortable for them. Loner children recognize they're different, Rufus writes, but don't know why, or what about them needs defending. If their parents are convinced there's something "wrong" with the introverted child, and try to "fix" it, they will create wounds that may never close.
This book struck close to home for me, and I really enjoyed it. I'm comfortable enough in my introversion ... my "lonerism" ... not to need a defense for it. But I'm glad this book exists -- not just for my loner brothers and sisters, but for the great mass of extroverts who can't understand why we're so "shy," and why we seem to enjoy -- how sick! -- our time alone. In a world which seems convinced, as the author puts it, that the only things worth doing are things done with other people, her proud declaration that we're perfectly well adjusted, "just not to their frequency," is a deeply welcome one.
Loners of the World, don't unite! There's nothing wrong with wanting to be alone!
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Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto
Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto by Anneli Rufus (Paperback - Jan. 10 2003)
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