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Solitude: A Singular Life in a Crowded World Hardcover – April 18 2017

3.9 out of 5 stars 41 ratings

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Review

National Bestseller
Longlisted for the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize
Shortlisted for the Ontario Library Association's Evergreen Award
A Maclean's Best Book of 2017


"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

"In this beautifully wrought and engrossing meditation, Michael Harris observes how hard it is to find solitude in our buzzing, interconnected world. Silence can nourish mind and soul. Solitude is the provenance of seers and saints, and stillness a requirement for creative achievement. Harris cuts himself off for a week at a remote cabin and after a period of fear and boredom sees anew how truly we are shackled by 'all that clicking and sharing and liking and posting.' His return to the noisy world is softened by wisdom and love." —2018 RBC Taylor Prize jury

"Solitude is well-researched, deftly reasoned and a wake-up call for a generation addicted to staying connected. . . . Harris is his generation's McLuhan—a media critic and philosopher whose discerning eye deconstructs its subject, looking well beyond the obvious message." ―The Province

"Lively and concise. . . . Solitude is less a study of aloneness, whose benefits—the generation of fresh ideas, more meaningful connections with oneself and others—Harris readily extols, than an accounting of the insidious, ever-proliferating technologies that imperil its achievement." —Maclean's, "Must-read Books for May"

"An insightful, lively meditation on why this increasingly scarce component of our lives should be preserved." ―The Globe and Mail

"Harris's beautiful ruminations on solitude sparkle. . . . A book about solitude could be many things. It could be a lament at the ubiquitous technology that robs us of solitude's nourishment. It could be a self-help instruction manual for snatching up more of these valuable moments in our busy lives. It might chronicle a solitary, enlightenment-seeking adventure in the wilderness. In Michael Harris's hands, however, solitude is all of these droplets in a ponderous, shimmering ocean—beautiful and alluring, yet vast and formidable." —Winnipeg Free Press

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

"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 behavioural research to tell stories about the transformational power of solitude which can make us happier, more productive and, ultimately, more human." ―The Bookseller (UK)

"A manual for cutting out your life's unwanted noise and embracing the quiet." ―Zoomer

"Solitude is a gorgeously written and fascinating book, richly detailed and thought-provoking throughout. I highly recommend it." —Michael Finkel, bestselling author of The Stranger in the Woods

"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, award-winning author of A Disappearance in Damascus

"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, award-winning author of The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary

"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

"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

"A timely, eloquent provocation to daydream and wander." ―Nathan Filer, award-winning author of The Shock of the Fall

"Reading Harris's book is like smashing your Google Glasses and looking through your unique lenses for the first time." ―William Powers, award-winning author of Twelve by Twelve, Off the Grid & Beyond the American Dream and New Slow City

About the Author

Michael Harris is the author of The End of Absence, which won the Governor General's Literary Award and became a national bestseller. He writes about media, civil liberties and the arts for dozens of publications, including The Washington Post, Wired, Salon, The Huffington Post and The Globe and Mail. His work has been a finalist for the RBC Taylor Prize, the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, the Chautauqua Prize, the CBC Bookie Awards and several National Magazine Awards. He lives in Vancouver with his partner, the artist Kenny Park.

Customer reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5
41 customer ratings
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Reviewed in Canada on April 28, 2017
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5 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in Canada on September 8, 2018
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Reviewed in Canada on January 13, 2018
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Reviewed in Canada on August 5, 2017
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Reviewed in Canada on November 28, 2019
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Top international reviews

Elliott
5.0 out of 5 stars The irony of writing this review...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 5, 2018
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C. Norman
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 11, 2018
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Sally
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 9, 2018
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marie rumlerova
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 1, 2020
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Nadine
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 10, 2018
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Simone
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 17, 2018
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thecapnamerica
2.0 out of 5 stars Author looses the point half-way through the book.
Reviewed in Germany on November 22, 2019
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Francis Shaw
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
Reviewed in Germany on June 16, 2019
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Marco
3.0 out of 5 stars Lumi di saggezza combinata a noia infinita
Reviewed in Italy on July 18, 2017
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Mr Mohsin Abbas
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 11, 2017
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Rohit Bhardwaj
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in India on November 12, 2017
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Shropshire Lass
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading in this crazy world
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 31, 2017
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H
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok..
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 27, 2018
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haggard
2.0 out of 5 stars Shallow
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 31, 2017
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gale mendes
5.0 out of 5 stars a must read
Reviewed in the United States on July 23, 2018
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