- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; 1 edition (January 29, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143122770
- ISBN-13: 978-0143122777
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 121 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #245,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone Paperback – January 29, 2013
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“A book so important that it is likely to become both a popular read and a social science classic. . . . This book really will change the lives of people who live solo, and everyone else . . . thorough, balanced, and persuasive.” — Psychology Today
“Fascinating and admirably temperate . . . [Going Solo] does a good job of explaining the social forces behind the trend and exploring the psychology of those who participate in it.” — Daniel Akst, The Wall Street Journal
“Klinenberg convincingly argues that the convergence of mass urbanization, communications technology, and liberalized attitudes has driven this trend.” — Slate
“Going Solo examines a dramatic demographic trend: the startling increase in adults living alone. Along the way, the book navigates some rough and complicated emotional terrain, finding its way straight to questions of the heart, to the universal yearning for happiness and purpose. In the end, despite its title, Going Solo is really about living better together—for all of us, single or not.” — The Washington Post
“Thought-provoking . . . Mr. Klinenberg argues that singletons comprise a kind of shadow population that’s misunderstood by policymakers and our culture writ large. Going Solo is an attempt to fill in the blanks— to explain the causes and consequences of living alone, and to describe what it looks in everyday life. . . . Klinenberg renders [these] stories vividly but also with nuance.” — The Christian Science Monitor
"Today, as Eric Klinenberg reminds us in his book, Going Solo, more than 50 percent of adults are single . . . [he] nicely shoes that people who live alone are more likely to visit friends and join social groups. They are more likely to congregate in and create active, dynamic cities." — David Brooks, The New York Times
About the Author
Eric Klinenberg is a professor of sociology at New York University and the editor of the journal Public Culture. His first book, Heat Wave, won several prizes and was declared a "Favorite Book" by the Chicago Tribune. He lives in New York City.
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With regard to introverts, it is striking that Klinenberg does not even refer to Anneli Rufus and her book 'Party of One: The Loner's Manifesto'. This is a must-read for anyone writing about living alone. Klinenberg's bias towards extroverts and those who need interaction with others in order to maintain their mental health shows over and over again, especially in his writing about elderly people. For many people, reaching middle age and beyond is a wonderful time when at long last we no longer have to be around other people all the time and can enjoy that solitude we have been craving for decades. Those of us who are true introverts never need to worry about "filling empty hours" - it's unthinkable. We've spent our lives waiting for a time when we actually have more time to devote to the hundreds of things we've never had a chance to do because we had to spend so much of our time working. Klinenberg's cautionary tales about becoming ill are worth reading, especially in a country with such a horrific health care system, but he focuses solely on the really sad, horrible tales, mostly limiting his discussion to NYC.
Meanwhile, out in what Stephen Colbert would call "the heartland," there are millions of elderly people who are not wasting away alone in some SRO or nursing home, but who are instead enjoying an excellent quality of life, living independently in apartments and cottages that are part of retirement communities that provide round-the-clock health care when needed. My mother has lived in such a community very independently for the past 20 years and she loves it (she will be 90 this year). She and my father were not wealthy (they were educators), but they saved up their money, made some sensible investment decisions, sold their house and moved to a retirement community in their 70s when they were both still healthy. Today my mother is very active, goes out, attends cultural events, volunteers, has dozens of friends, gets excellent medical care, usually eats one meal a day with friends in the central dining room, and can still cook for herself. Having gotten to know her friends and a host of other elderly people living in nearby retirement communities, this is a common tale, not an exception. There are many such places dotted across the US, and although some of them are prohibitively expensive - and not worth the cost - most are just as affordable as living in an apartment complex.
So don't let Klinenberg's book scare you. It's a very incomplete work written by a clearly biased individual. Yes, it's important to get the word out that living alone is becoming increasingly popular, so he deserves praise for doing that. However, this change in living styles is a cause for great celebration, in my opinion. At last we can live the way we want to rather than putting up with the old models of marriage, family, kids, ad nauseum! Notice how difficult it is, even for an 'objective sociologist' to put a positive spin on this revolutionary change? For those of us who have lived alone for years and love it, the appeal is not 'surprising' at all.