PRAISE FOR Solitude

  • National Bestseller
  • A Globe & Mail "Top Pick for Summer"
  • A Maclean's "Must-Read"

"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, author of Generation X and Bit Rot

"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 and True Story

“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

"It's beautifully written, fascinating and a real comment on the times we're living through."—CBC News

"An insightful, lively meditation." —The Globe & Mail

"Michael Harris positions living without the constant distraction of notifications as a spiritual awakening waiting to happen."—VICE

"Michael Harris’s elegant, thoughtful book reminds us there are merits and consolations to be found in sometimes retreating into solitude... he beautifully expresses the importance and experience of liberation from the battery-hen life of constant connection and crowds."—Daily Mail (U.K.)

"A compelling study of the subtle ways in which modern life and technologies have transformed our behaviour and sense of self."—Times Literary Supplement

"A poetic, contemplative journey into the benefits of solo sojourning. The book—which weaves together personal anecdotes and fascinating research—makes a convincing argument for stepping away from the crowd (and your even more crowded phone) and scheduling some soul-resetting me time."—Elle Canada

"Wise and witty. 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 and The Glass Cage

"A compelling case for how true aloneness is both a form of expertise and a reward." The Georgia Straight

"Must-read... Lively and concise." —Maclean's

"Solitude serves as a manual for cutting out your life's unwanted noise and embracing the quiet."—Zoomer

"There are now many self-help books that recommend a balanced media diet, but none articulates that need as simply or profoundly as this exploration of solitude, which argues that being alone matters more now than it has ever done. 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 (U.K.)

"A timely, eloquent provocation to daydream and wander."—Nathan Filer, author of The Shock of the Fall

"A convincing platform on the transformative power of being alone."—Bay Area Reporter

"This is an excellent book by a first-rate writer. Michael Harris brings his insights 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, author of A Disappearance in Damascus

"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

"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, author of The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary

"Harris has an intuition that being alone with ourselves, paying attention to inner silence and being able to experience outer silence, is an essential part of being human." Paul Kingsnorth, in The New Statesman (U.K.)

"Reading Harris's book is like smashing your Google Glasses and looking through your unique lenses for the first time. This enjoyable, quirky probe into current brain science, psychology, and philosophy hugely contributes to the global "Great Turning" toward a more diverse, durable future of freer people enjoying themselves more, both together and alone."—William Powers, author of Twelve by Twelve and New Slow City

 

Press for Solitude

"Lose Yourself" Times Literary Supplement (September 8, 2017)

"Why it's Important to Spend Time Alone" The Daily Mail (U.K.) (June 1, 2017)

"Alone Again and Loving It" Bay Area Reporter (June 1, 2017)

"What the Digital Resistance Movement Might Look Like" VICE (May 16, 2017)

"Michael Harris Touts Value of alone time in hyperconnected era" Canadian Press (May 10, 2017)

"The Quiet Pursuit of Extreme Solitude" Walrus (May 4, 2017)

"Michael Harris on the importance of being alone" CBC (May 1, 2017)

"Must-read books" Maclean's (May 1, 2017)

"Nature Deficit Disorder is Blooming" The Canberra Times (April 29, 2017)

"Review: Solitude" The Globe & Mail (April 28, 2017)

"Standing Alone" Winnipeg Free Press (April 22, 2017)

"Solitude a wake-up call" Montreal Gazette, Edmonton Journal, Canada.com, The Province (April 19, 2017)

"Mimrer om livet før internett" Norwegian Business Daily (April 11, 2017)

"Modern Technologies are Daydream Destroyers" Vancouver Sun, Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen (April 7, 2017)

"The Fine Art of Being Alone" Irish Examiner (April 6, 2017)

"Addicted to Social Media" Wall Street Journal (April 6, 2017)

"Michael Harris Shows How Creativity Thrives in Solitude" Georgia Straight (April 5, 2017)

"Solitude" Quill & Quire (April, 2017)

"Local Culture" Vancouver magazine (April, 2017)

"Elle Radar" Elle Canada (April, 2017)

"Zoom In" Zoomer (April, 2017)

"Lessons of the Hermit" Atlantic Monthly (April, 2017)

"The Lost Art of Disconnecting" Psychology Today (April, 2017)

"Party of One" Literary Review of Canada (March, 2017)

The Bookseller (January 13, 2017)

 

Opinion Pieces by Michael Harris

(Related to Solitude)

"The New Science of Daydreaming" Discover (June, 2017)

"How to Spend Time Alone" TIME (May 10, 2017)

"The Benefits of Solitude" Walrus (April 19, 2017)

"The Rise of Social Reading" Salon (April 9, 2017)

"To be Human is to be Social" National Post (April 6, 2017)

"Thee Benefits of Getting Some Alone Time" Mr Porter (April 5, 2017)

"Freelancers Must Save Themselves" Business Insider (April 4, 2017)

"Five Ways Being Alone Will Improve Your Life" TIME (April 4, 2017) 

"A Week in the Woods" Four Seasons Magazine (April, 2017)

"7 Proven Ways Alone Time Makes You a Better Person" MindBodyGreen (March 29, 2017)

 "The Death of the Solitary Writer" Nuvo magazine (February 24, 2017)

"Why Your Angry Tweets Are Not Enough" Huffington Post (February 15, 2017) 


PRAISE for The End of Absence

  • Winner of the 2014 Governor General's Literary Award for Nonfiction
  • Longlisted for the BC National Award For Canadian Non-Fiction
  • Longlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize
  • Longlisted for the Chautauqua Prize
  • Finalist, CBC Bookie Awards
  • One of the best books of the year: The Globe & Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Maisonneuve Magazine, and the Writer's Trust of Canada
  • National Bestseller

"Fascinating... Should be required reading... I was so engrossed by the book that I read until I realized night had fallen."—The Guardian

"A thought-provoking cri de coeur." Toronto Star

"So engrossing I rarely stopped to check my phone... Compelling prose and emotional intelligence."—The Globe & Mail

"Harris writes in an elegant, accessible and often hilarious way."—Chicago Tribune

"A genial and philosophical tour."—New York Times

"To pull away from our hyperconnected lives is painful; it is hard, and it is a muddle. Harris walks us through his particular muddle with wit, wry honesty, and compassion for the "strange suffering" of all who find themselves checking email at the dinner table."—Christian Science Monitor 

"It is an elegy for all we seem to be losing... Thoughtful and well written, The End of Absence is less a signpost in the midst of a labyrinthine landscape than a letter to a faceless future."—Times Literary Supplement 

"This is a lovely, direct and beautifully written book that will make you feel good about living in the times we do. Michael Harris is honest in a way I find increasingly rare: clear, truthful and free of vexation. A true must-read." —Douglas Coupland, author of Generation X and Worst. Person. Ever.

"Everybody over sixty should read this book. The rest of the population will need no urging, unless they are too far gone to read anything longer than a blurb. The first part reads like a horror story, a shocking mind-thriller. In the second half the author, despite real foreboding, demonstrates in his own person that all is far from lost. Relief, after much learning." —Margaret Visser, author of Much Depends on Dinner

"Passionate, funny, and informative, this book towers over an era on a scale not seen since Marshall McLuhan decoded the world of television in the sixties."—Angus Reid, author of Shakedown

“Harris has caught, with brilliant fidelity and incisiveness, a hinge-point in modern history: Before and After the Digital Rapture. The End of Absence deserves a place alongside Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death and Sherry Turkle’s Life on the Screen. A great, important (and fun) read. I couldn’t in good conscience lend out my copy: every other page is dog-eared.” —Bruce Grierson, author of What Makes Olga Run?

"The End of Absence is one of those rare books that change how you think about your own existence. It's wise, humane and full of original insights about life in the crazy/beautiful connected world we've built for ourselves. I read it with pen in hand, underlining the whole way." —William Powers, author of Hamlet's Blackberry

"His far-ranging research provides a wealth of thought-provoking statistics and details, and The End of Absence has a kinetic energy well-matched to our jumpy attention spans."—The Washington Post

"First class"—The Independent

"Effervescent, erudite, and humane... In place of prescription, you'll find empathy, candour, and the encouragement to identify and nurture the connections that sustain you, digital and otherwise." —Prism International

"Michael Harris has written an important book for our information-overloaded times of ironic hashtag conversations and idealized online avatars. The End of Absence is a forceful, insightful and ultimately human reminder to us all that information is not wisdom, that speed is not depth, that in the pauses of solitude come authenticity and surprise, and that the empty spaces we so desperately and busily have sought to fill in, as he writes, never were so barren after all." —Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed, Washington Post staff writer, New America Foundation fellow

"We are at a singular moment, where information, once scarce, is suddenly ubiquitous. Michael Harris asks what this moment means, and answers with insight, humour, and great humanity. A must read for anyone curious about how the digital revolution is changing our culture and ourselves." —Nora Young, host of CBC's Spark, author of The Virtual Self

"The End of Absence is an extraordinary chronicle for an extraordinary time, a moment when humanity went from dropping out to turning on 24/7. Michael Harris is here to remind future generations of what it’s like to miss nothing - literally nothing - and in so doing, he examines what we’ve lost and what we’ve gained (and what hasn’t changed) in a world where Google is our new collective memory, Wikipedia is the final arbiter of facts, and all sorts of gratification are a mere click away. This is the rare kind of book that will change the way you see the world." —Arjun Basu, author of Waiting for the Man

"The End of Absence is a beautifully written and surprisingly rousing book. Michael Harris scans the flotsam of our everyday, tech-addled lives and pulls it all together to create a convincing new way to talk about our relationship with the Internet. He has taken the vague technological anxiety we all live with and shaped in into a bold call for action." —Steven Galloway, author of The Confabulist and The Cellist of Sarajevo

"In this thoughtful, well-written book, Michael Harris combines personal narrative with the views of experts to show us that the digital revolution that envelops us contains traps that can lead us to understand less even as we seem to know more." —Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice and Practical Wisdom

"The End of Absence offers a deeply compelling perspective that forces us to acknowledge an uncomfortable truth: ours is the last generation that will have known a pre-digital world. Michael Harris’s provocative book tells us why that matters and encourages us to be more thoughtful as we prepare for the future." —Amy Webb, author of Data, A Love Story

"A fascinating assessment of this moment we inhabit... an illuminating, worthy reckoning of our disjointed, digital life." Matt Sedensky, Associated Press

"Harris’ core argument regarding the values of technological disengagement feels valid, and his prose is graceful.... A thoughtful addition to the bookshelf addressing the unintended consequences of a wired world." —Kirkus Reviews

"Harris is a smooth writer and a smart critic about what we've lost in today's technology...It should be passed out in Brooklyn, seriously."—Elisabeth Donnely, Flavorwire

"I've picked up Michael Harris's new book, The End of Absence, and I can't put it down...a rare occasion in which a book has my undivided attention."—Daniel Benneworth-Gray, MacUser Magazine

"The favourite childhood memory of most parents today is of playing outside all day, their parents knowing only that they'd be back when the streetlights came on. That kind of freedom—that kind of absence—is gone. It's not nostalgia to ask what went with it. It's crucial. Harris does. —Lenore Skenazy, author of the book and blog Free-Range Kids

"Harris stirs history, technology, philosophy and personal memoir into a bittersweet narrative. Put down your damn phone, read this book, and remember what you’ve lost—and what you can regain by embracing the analog truth of your soul."—Charles Montgomery, author of Happy City

 

PRESS for The End of Absence

"The Last Generation To Know Life Without the Internet" Business Insider Deutschland (September 2, 2016)

"The End of Absence" Times Literary Supplement (March 18, 2016)

"Technology Slaves" Voce magazine (March, 2016)

"How Michael Harris Transformed his Attention Span with a Russian Classic" The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers (January 26, 2016)

"Michael Harris Live Chat" ProductHunt (October 29, 2015)

"Surprising Benefits of Being Alone" Readers Digest (October, 2015)

"The Last of the Daydreamers" Prism International (June, 2015)

"Alone" Esquire Magazine (May, 2015)

"What We Have Lost in the Digital Age" South China Morning Post (May 1, 2015)

"Are We the Last of the Daydreamers" Adbusters (April, 2015)

"Should you try a digital detox?" Canadian Press (February 5, 2015)

"Is an Electronic Apocalypse Upon Us?" The Guardian (January 9, 2015)

"Happy Ending" Walrus magazine (December 15, 2014)

"Born Before 1985?" The Guardian (November 16, 2014)

"Top Science & Tech Books of 2014" NBC News (November 13, 2014)

"Trying to Live in the Moment" New York Times (October 18, 2014)

"I Fear We Are The Last of the Daydreamers" Kristeligt Dagblad (Denmark) (October 17, 2014)

"How to Find Solitude in an Era of Constant Connection" Fast Company (October 8, 2014)

"Technology's Threat To Introspection" Chicago Tribune (September 30, 2014)

"Retweet Me Or I Might Die" Slate (September 27, 2014)

"Constant Connections Are Ending Absence" Intelligent Optimist (September 26, 2014)

"How to be Genuinely Yourself When Always Online" New Scientist (September 25, 2014)

"A Conversation With Michael Harris" New York Times (September 19, 2014)

CBC's Spark With Nora Young (September 14, 2014)

Recent Books of Note Toronto Star (September 13, 2014)

"The End of Absence" Turkey News Today (September 12, 2014)

"Fremtiden truet af mangel på pauser" Berlingske (Denmark) (September 3, 2014)

"Hot Books" Discover Magazine (September, 2014)

"Those born before 1985 are the last witnesses to the pre-internet era" Courier-Mail (Australia) (August 31, 2014)

"Vores kreativitet dør når vi er online i ét væk" Politiken (Denmark) (August 30, 2014)

"Smupid" Internazionale (Italy) (August 29, 2014)

The Early Edition, CBC (Interview begins at 1 hr 10 minute mark) (August 25, 2014)

"How The Internet Could Protect Your Memory" New York Times (August 25, 2014)

"Minds and Machines" Globe & Mail (August 22, 2014)

"Internet e una societa iperconnessa" GQ Italia (August, 2014)

"What It Feels Like To Be The Last Generation..." Quartz (August 21, 2014)

"The End of Absence Chronicles One Man's Quest To Pull Away From A Hyperconnected Life" Christian Science Monitor (August 19, 2014)

"An Insightful Look at Digital Age Clutter" Associated Press (August 18, 2014). This review was published by ABC News, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Times Colonist, Salon, Canada.com, and several others.

"What They're Reading: Michael Harris" BookPage (August 18, 2014)

"You Are No Longer Connected To The Internet" Hemispheres magazine (August, 2014)

"La Importancia de ne hacer nada" Semana (Columbia) (August 17, 2014)

Excerpt: "War & Peace Tortured Me" Salon (August 17, 2014)

"The End of Solitude" The Financial Express (August 17, 2014)

"The End of Absence: What's Lost in a Connected World" Washington Post (August 16, 2014) (Reprinted in Miami Herald)

"The End of Absence: Review" National Post (August 16, 2014)

"The Internet: Too Much of a Good Thing" The Economist (August 16, 2014)

"Digital Detox" BBC Newsnight (August 15, 2014)

"Are We Connected Or Are We Chained?" National Post (August 15, 2014)

"Log Off, Shut Down, and Plug Out for Analogue August" Irish Times (August 15, 2014)

Q&A: Michael Harris Edmonton Journal (August 11, 2014)

"The End of Absence" Seattle Post-Intelligencer (August 11, 2014)

"What We've Lost in A World Where We're All Connected" Toronto Star (August 10, 2014) 

"2014 and the Art of Unplugging" Vancouver Sun (August 9, 2014)

Interview on CBC's Here & Now (August 7, 2014)

"The Lack" Slate (August, 2014)

"The End of Absence" Time Warner Cable News: NY1 (August, 2014)

"Net Loss" Scientific American (August, 2014)

"The End of Absence: The Downside of Constant Connection" BookPage (August, 2014)

"Could You Go A Month Without the Web" Globe & Mail (August, 2014). This Canadian Press story was further carried in the Vancouver Sun, The Province, Montreal Gazette, Calgary Herald, Regina Leder-Post, Brant News, CTV News, 680 News, and more.

Radio

Hundreds of radio shows have interviewed Harris about The End of Absence, including: CBC syndication; NPR; Spark with Nora Young; The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers; The Early Edition with Stephen Quin; and Boing Boing. You can listen to a couple of those interviews here and here.

 

Opinion Pieces by Michael Harris

(Related to The End of Absence)

 

"Losing Absence" The Intelligent Optimist (September 17, 2014)

"Attempting to Unplug" Nuvo Magazine (September, 2014)

"Memory Vs. Storage" Philadelphia Inquirer (August 15, 2014)

"How the Web Became Our External Brain" Wired (August 6, 2014)

"7 Reasons Why Boredom Is Good For You" Huffington Post (August 6, 2014)

"If You're Always Working, You're Never Working Well" Harvard Business Review (August 1, 2014)

"Why We Need Fewer Opinions" Psychology Today (July 31, 2014)

"There's Something Catholic About YouTube Confessionals" Huffington Post (July 25, 2014)

"Digital Overload and Our Children" The Globe & Mail (July 25, 2014)

"Why We Must Teach Digital Natives How To Be ALone" Huffington Post (July 23, 2014)