The Lonely Century
‘If I could issue a reading list to 10 Downing Street, I’d put this book near the top.’ Guardian
‘Destined to be a classic’ Nouriel Roubini
‘Fascinating’ Sathnam Sanghera, The Times
‘A hopeful book that couldn’t be more important or timely’ Philippa Perry
‘Timely and important’ Charlie Brooker
A hopeful and empowering vision for how to reconnect with each other and heal our divides.
Even before a global pandemic introduced us to terms like social distancing, loneliness was already becoming the defining condition of the twenty-first century.
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 for smartphone-addicted university students to bouncy castles at Belgian far-right gatherings, from ‘renting a friend’ and paying for cuddles in the U.S. to nursing home residents knitting bonnets for their robot caregivers in Japan.
Packed with bold solutions that we can apply at home, at work and in our neighbourhoods, and with a clear vision for what businesses and governments must do, she explores how our increasing dependence on technology, radical changes to the workplace and decades of policies that have placed self-interest above the collective good, are making us more isolated than ever before.
Noreena Hertz helps us to understand why this is the lonely century, how we got here and what each of us can do to help reduce loneliness for ourselves and our communities.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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
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