The Lonely Century: A Call to Reconnect (Hardback)
  • The Lonely Century: A Call to Reconnect (Hardback)

The Lonely Century: A Call to Reconnect (Hardback)

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Hardback 416 Pages
Published: 10/09/2020
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Waterstones Says

Deftly charting the roots and causes of the worldwide loneliness epidemic, this ambitious and brilliant book is essential reading for anyone concerned about the kind of future we want to build.

Even before a global pandemic introduced us to terms like social distancing, loneliness was already becoming the defining condition of the twenty-first century.

Carl, the Los Angeles media executive so lonely he pays to be cuddled. Eric, the Parisian baker finding community in the political far right. Peter, the London schoolboy distraught because no one 'likes' his Instagram posts.

All around us, the fabric of community is unravelling and our personal relationships are under threat. And technology isn't the sole culprit; equally to blame are the dismantling of civic institutions, the radical reorganisation of the workplace, mass migration to cities, and decades of neoliberal policies that placed self-interest above the collective good.

This is not merely a mental health crisis. Loneliness increases our risk of heart disease, cancer and dementia. Statistically, it's as bad for our health as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day. It's also an economic crisis, costing us billions annually, and a political crisis, with feelings of marginalisation fuelling divisiveness and extremism around the world.

But it's also one we have the power to reverse. Combining a decade of research with first-hand reporting, Noreena Hertz takes us from a 'how to communicate in real life' class at an Ivy League university to encounters in German beer gardens between people with radically different political views, from 'renting a friend' in Manhattan to nursing home residents knitting bonnets for their robot caregivers in Japan.

Offering bold solutions ranging from compassionate AI to innovative models for urban living to new ways of reinvigorating our neighbourhoods and reconciling our differences, The Lonely Century offers a hopeful and empowering vision for how to heal our fractured communities and restore connection in our lives.

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN: 9781529329254
Number of pages: 416
Weight: 640 g
Dimensions: 236 x 160 x 42 mm


This book is a crucial call to arms: in the wake of the pandemic, Hertz argues, governments have an opportunity to rebuild along better lines . . . If we could issue a reading list to 10 Downing Street, I'd put this book near the top - Guardian

Explosive stuff. Timely . . . urgent - Simon Ings, Daily Telegraph

Causing a deserved stir - Financial Times

An important new book - Economist

For an uplifting and educational read, The Lonely Century is about how we can overcome our divisions to rebuild a society that works as one - Stylist

Hertz's timely study of modern loneliness shows how social media isolates us, our work atomises us, and even street furniture prevents us gathering. The economist delivers an eloquent call to arms: only connect - Best Books of the Year, Telegraph

In this timely book, economist Hertz explores the loneliness epidemic that was sweeping the world even before the coronavirus took hold. She looks at the ways tech that's meant to bring us together is driving us apart, the impact isolation is having on our health, and the bizarre 'loneliness economy' that's springing up to fulfil the needs of people desperate for human contact, from lifelike sex dolls to a service offering cuddles for cash. The book is a fascinating look at a key societal question: in an age where technology means we're more connected than ever, why do we feel so alone? - Wired

Revealing, empathetic and couldn't be more timely - Jonathan Freedland, author of THE ESCAPE ARTIST

Fascinating, timely and important. Noreena Hertz zeroes in on one of the central problems of our age. Seeing the problem lurking at the back of your head dragged into the light will actually make you feel a tad less lonely. Read it, then pass it on to a friend. If you can find one - Charlie Brooker

An indispensable, engaging and brilliant book about the pervasiveness of loneliness in the twenty-first century and its far-reaching impact. It reveals the way that loneliness is political as well as personal, playing a powerful role in everything from the rise of extremist politics to the vibrancy of our communities to how we relate to those we love. With its powerful vision for how we can come together again, ultimately it is a hopeful book that couldn't be more important or timely - Philippa Perry, author of THE BOOK YOU WISH YOUR PARENTS HAD READ

We are living in an age where we have forgotten a fundamental truth about humankind that is as old as the Hebrew Bible itself: that we were not meant to live alone. In The Lonely Century, Noreena Hertz recognises this and provides an enlightening, engaging and compelling analysis of the dangers posed by the loneliness pandemic not just to our individual health and happiness, but to our collective ability to reinvigorate society and tackle the many challenges we face today - Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

We're hard-wired to connect, and yet we're in the midst of a loneliness epidemic, which has profound consequences for both our individual and collective well-being. In The Lonely Century, Noreena Hertz delivers a compelling vision for how we can bridge our many divides at this time of great change and disruption. Passionately argued and deeply researched, this book is for everyone who wants to build a healthier and more connected world - Arianna Huffington, CEO and founder of Thrive Global

In this hugely stimulating and ambitious book, Noreena Hertz provides a powerful account of the causes and consequences of the loneliness pandemic that has swept across the globe. Filled with terrifying facts, eye-catching stories and bold ideas, it is a must-read for anybody concerned about the post-Covid-19 world that we are building - Carl Frey, Institute for New Economic Thinking, University of Oxford

Social connections are vital for our health and well-being, but loneliness is on the rise globally, especially with the measures introduced to contain the spread of Covid-19. In this captivating book Noreena Hertz describes the physical, mental, economic and societal effects of loneliness, and not only provides a fascinating examination of the evidence, but also a rousing call for action - to governments, businesses, society and individuals to address and mitigate the loneliness crisis and build a more inclusive and kinder world - Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London

Brilliant and full of captivating stories about the power of human connection in our lives. A truly engrossing and important book that left me feeling both wiser and more hopeful! - Brian Grazer

A fascinating and original book about one of the greatest challenges of our time - the growing global crisis of loneliness - and a clear and inspiring vision of how we can respond - Daniel Susskind, fellow at the University of Oxford and author of A WORLD WITHOUT WORK

The Lonely Century is a book made for this moment. Hertz shows a new generation of leaders how we can turn the age of social distancing into a turning point in our fight against the loneliness epidemic. I highly recommend it - Mariana Mazzucato, UCL Professor and author of THE VALUE OF EVERYTHING

Highly original, persuasive and thought-provoking, The Lonely Century is both a landmark book and a page-turner. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to make sense of our complex times and understand where we are heading. Destined to be a classic, I couldn't recommend it more strongly - Nouriel Roubini, Professor of Economics, NYU

We're surrounded by communication technologies and social media, yet loneliness is taking a huge toll on our economy, our health and our democracy. With a rare combination of rigorous research and powerful insights, Noreena Hertz masterfully explains the many facets of our Lonely Century and how we can do better, as individuals and as a society. Highly Recommended! - Erik Brynjolfsson, Professor at Stanford University and co-author of THE SECOND MACHINE AGE

A renowned economist examines why our hyperconnected world feels so isolating and how we can solve the crisis of loneliness. The takeaways are as relevant to our families and friendships as they are to building bridges in our neighbourhoods, schools, and workplaces - Adam Grant, author of ORIGINALS

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“Thought provoking”

Well worth a read. This book makes one think about how society is disintegrating without realising what is happening. Social media should come with a warning that it can and does cause withdrawal and isolation from... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 20

“Awful Book”

A book that is not really about loneliness that offers no help at the individual level. The author takes aim and demonises right leaning political views in every chapter. The author also mentions Karl Marx an absurd... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 1

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