Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World by Michael Harris

Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World

"I came away from this book a better human being. Michael Harris' take on existence is calm, unique, and makes one's soul feel good." DOUGLAS COUPLANDSolitude is a rapidly vanishing experience. Our society now embraces sharing like never before: time alone is being forced out of our lives by the constant pings of smartphones and prods of social media. But what if solitude...

Title:Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1847947654
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:256 pages

Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World Reviews

  • Andrew
    Dec 05, 2016

    There's nothing wrong with being alone at times. It's how I recharge. Nor do we always need to connect, share our opinions, comment, instagram, text, or tweet.

    So, you know what? Don't worry about this review. But if you feel similarly, do check out this book.

  • Marge
    Jan 05, 2017

    I've been looking forward to this follow-up ever since I read Harris' last book, "The End of Absence". Can you think of the last time you had a period of true solitude? Me neither. These two books are wake-up calls to remember all of the meaningful and important things we're missing when we're glued to our technology.

  • Austin
    Apr 14, 2017

    Harris' book is like a breath of fresh air. Even now, I feel guilty logging in, and crafting a review that will perhaps sway your opinion on whether or not to make this purchase. This review is more of a thank you to the author for his thoughts and wit, which are boldly on display. I thoroughly enjoyed his writing. Each morning I looked forward to opening the book with my warm cup of coffee. Enjoy this Good Read friends.

  • Elise
    Apr 18, 2017

    Mixed bag. I liked a whole lot of the book (maybe 3 5ths? :) ) but there were 3 oddly discordant chapters kind of plunked in the middle that didn't really fit with the whole and which didn't seem to contribute any to the larger narrative. One was on reading/ writing, one on love letters, and the other on death. There were bits in the death chapter that touched on the effects of illness on perceptions of social connection and those were interesting and thought provoking but as a whole I had a har

    Mixed bag. I liked a whole lot of the book (maybe 3 5ths? :) ) but there were 3 oddly discordant chapters kind of plunked in the middle that didn't really fit with the whole and which didn't seem to contribute any to the larger narrative. One was on reading/ writing, one on love letters, and the other on death. There were bits in the death chapter that touched on the effects of illness on perceptions of social connection and those were interesting and thought provoking but as a whole I had a hard time following those sections. Those 3 chapters were 3/4ths of the last section but the very last chapter was so good that it all but redeems that section.

    The rest of the book was a solid read. I'm oddly picky about the quality of nonfiction writing and Michael Harris really does have a great voice. I'm going to check out his previous book about our digital worlds mostly on the strength of his writing (and my own paranoid concerns in that arena). If it's at the library, of course. On the whole if it sounds interesting, you'll probably like it.

  • Peter
    May 02, 2017

    This was a very enjoyable book about how we are spending less time by ourselves and taking time away from the internet and other instant gratification devices.

    For myself, I enjoy my personal time and not having access to any social tech for days at a time. Nothing is better than our own time, that's why we read.

    A good book that goes away from its subject matter for a few chapters, but relevent none the less.

  • Andrea
    May 19, 2017

    Whimsical at times, Harris does put up a good argument on the necessity of solitude and the mastery of it as an art, in this modern era that constantly calls for one to remain connected.

  • Larry Olson
    May 19, 2017

    This is a well-researched and insightful exploration of the pursuit of solitude to build a richer interior life. The author explores our struggle with generating new ideas, developing a deeper understanding of self and bonding with others because we don’t often view solitude as a “resource that we can either nurture or allow to be depleted.” There are several fine chapters on the dangers of becoming “digital serfs,” and taste based on the mass entertainment and judgement of for-profit companies

    This is a well-researched and insightful exploration of the pursuit of solitude to build a richer interior life. The author explores our struggle with generating new ideas, developing a deeper understanding of self and bonding with others because we don’t often view solitude as a “resource that we can either nurture or allow to be depleted.” There are several fine chapters on the dangers of becoming “digital serfs,” and taste based on the mass entertainment and judgement of for-profit companies like Google and Amazon. But the piece I found fascinating, is the research on storytelling and the notion that as technology negatively influences the solitary reading experience, it also endangers our ability to be empathetic. “The parts of the brain that are involved in reading fiction in particular share large areas with the parts of the brain that help us understand other people in daily life. The solitary readers rehearses the lives of others. And I think that must be the definition of empathy – to rehearse the lives of others.” A 2016 Dartmouth College research study found readers of content on digital devices are not only more distracted but also less able to perform higher level interpretation and less able to draw inferences and think abstractly. A particularly disturbing finding if the trend of more than half the people who purchase ebooks, read them on their smartphones. I’ll stick with printed books thanks.

  • Andreia Fernandes
    Jun 13, 2017

    "How amazing - what an enormous relief! - to affirm that we exist whether others watch us or not!"

    "I hold this to be the highest task for a bond between two people: that each protects the solitude of the other."

    "Not everything that are worth loving are easy to love right away. It is only a small portion of the larger culture that can thrive on platform technologies."

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