"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."
"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
"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."
—Deborah Campbell, author of A Disappearance in Damascus
"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
"A timely, eloquent provocation to daydream and wander." —Nathan Filer, author of The Shock of the Fall
"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
"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
From the publisher:
Governor General’s Award-winner Michael Harris explores the profound emotional and intellectual benefits of solitude, and how we may achieve it in our fast-paced world.
The capacity to be alone is one of life's subtlest skills. Real solitude is a contented and productive state that garners tangible rewards: it allows us to reflect and recharge, improving our relationships with ourselves and, paradoxically, with others.
Today, the zeitgeist embraces sharing like never before. Fueled by our dependence on online and social media, we have created an ecosystem of obsessive distraction that dangerously undervalues solitude. Many of us now lead lives of strangely crowded loneliness.
Award-winning author Michael Harris examines why our experience of solitude has become so impoverished, and how we may grow to love it again. Solitude is an optimistic and encouraging story about discovering true quiet inside the city, inside the crowd, inside our busy and urbane lives. Harris guides readers away from a life of ceaseless pings toward a state of measured connectivity, one that balances solitude and companionship.
Rich with true stories about the life-changing power of solitude, and interwoven with reporting from the world's foremost brain researchers, psychologists and tech entrepreneurs, Solitude is a beautiful and prescriptive statement on the benefits of being alone.