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Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World Hardcover – April 4, 2017
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"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. Read it in peace." ―From the foreword by Nicholas Carr
"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." ―Douglas Coupland, best-selling author of Generation X
"Solitude is a gorgeously written and fascinating book, richly detailed and thought-provoking throughout. I highly recommend it." ―Michael Finkel, New York Times best-selling author of True Story and The Stranger in the Woods
"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
"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
"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
"Michael Harris senses that something precious has been lost." ―The Atlantic
"This year, a spate of new books offers amazing feats of solitude. The titles in part respond to the live-out-loud era of social media, where anyone with a device always has some form of company ... 'You could call it crowd sickness,' said Michael Harris." ―The Wall Street Journal
"A poetic, contemplative journey into the benefits of solo sojourning." ―Elle Canada
"Solitude ... serves as a manual for cutting out your life's unwanted noise and embracing the quiet." ―Zoomer
"Harris makes a compelling case for how true aloneness is both a form of expertise and a reward." ―The Georgia Straight
"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
About the Author
Michael Harris is the author of The End of Absence, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-fiction and was longlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize, the Chautauqua Prize, and the BC National Award for Canadian Non-fiction. He writes about media, civil liberties, and the arts for dozens of publications, including The Washington Post, Wired, Salon, and The Globe and Mail. He lives in Vancouver.
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I struggled to stay engaged with the writing and was frustrated by too much of the author's personal story.
But, then Harris wanders way far too off the topic into digital and other social/cultural issues in the second half of the book. I got bored and lost and skimmed the second half, like a web page. Also, Harris puts too much focus on his sexual persuasion, which was unnecessary and unrelated to solitude.
Overall, it had some good insights and quotes, but not what I was looking for. I give it a grade of B.