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Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto Paperback – Bargain Price, January 6, 2003

3.9 out of 5 stars 209 customer reviews

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Paperback, Bargain Price, January 6, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this compendium of everyone who was anyone who ever spent a moment alone, readers bump fleetingly into Kurt Cobain, French Resistance fighters, the Lone Ranger ("Tonto notwithstanding"), Michelangelo, Alexander Pope, John Lennon, cowboys, Saint Anthony and other solo acts. Rufus, the books editor of East Bay Express, views Degas's plain-faced dancers as "pretty ballerinas" whom the artist leaves every time he exits his studio, and Warhol's biography as "tellingly titled Loner at the Ball." She chases her motif, not so much a manifesto as a cri de coeur, through an assortment of perspectives: religion, advertising, clothes, crime, art, eccentricity, environment, literature, religion and popular culture. She also identifies "pseudoloners" like Theodore Kaczynski and Jesus Christ (who "was too good at guiding crowds to have been one of us"). There's an us/them tone to this book that makes one wonder who the audience might be. The "us" people "do not need writers to tell us how lovely apartness is"; the "them" people will surely weary of being identified as "Nonloners. The world at large. The mob." Taken in column-sized doses, Rufus may be entertaining and informative, but her book feels as if too much random information has been cut-and-pasted together.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"A founding manifesto for an organization of self-contained people.... A clever and spirited defense." -- Kirkus Reviews (January 1, 2003)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (January 6, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569245134
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (209 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,183,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Andrew S. Rogers VINE VOICE on November 11, 2003
Format: 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.
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Format: 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.
5 Comments 188 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Reading through the other reviews, it seems that the low-scores are given by people who personally disagree with the author's stance (rather than how well the book was written and the information was presented).

If you are an extrovert, if you think of loners as nerdy (I assure you we aren't), or if you just don't like books that enlighten a different facet of humanity, then I'm not sure you're going to "get anything" from reading this book.

If you are a loner (or think you might be, or aren't really sure), then this book is helpful. I found the author's writing agreeing closely with what I've felt all of my life but never discussed with others (loners rarely get together to discuss such things). It was reassuring to know that others out there think, feel, and have the same preferences as I do.

However, Rufus unfairly misrepresents the general public's attitudes about loners. The fact is, in my (adult) experiences, the vast majority of people are impartial to loners. I don't get the notion that most people hate, crucify, belittle, disrespect, or rebuke loners. In fact, I receive as much (or likely more) respect from friends, family, and coworkers because I am somewhat of a loner. I believe true loners are well-adjusted, quietly confident people who have excellent social skills balanced with the ability to find meaning to life during time spent alone. The author seems to be screaming at the world "Look at me! I'm alone and I'm happy and you'd better respect me for it!" Wrong approach.

That having been said, the book is still worth reading for those folks who consider themselves loners. There's enough information in the book to make it worthwhile, and the language and writing skills of the author make it very readable. However, you'll have to "filter" out the author's bile from what appears to be a hint of paranoia.
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