The Lonely Century: How to Restore Human Connection in a World That’s Pulling Apart
Maybe it’s the pandemic or the last year spent teaching mostly online, but this book was a tough read. Meticulously researched and insightfully crafted, Noreena Hertz’s is an absolutely brilliant book that takes great fortitude to read.
Hertz spends the majority of the book outlining the various ways we are lonely. At home, at work, sitting behind screens all day—all of these add up to a crisis of loneliness that threatens not only our interpersonal relationships but our physical health. From heart disease to dementia to mental health struggles, the symptom of loneliness can lead to a host of life-threatening diagnoses.
She writes of people who pay for companionship, soldiers who treat robots as members of the team, workers who must be trained to recognize facial cues after too much time interacting only with AI or people on the other end of emails or faceless digital chats. These exhaustive and detailed examples more than make the case for the loneliness crisis. And, while there are some suggested solutions along the way, concrete solutions to the problem aren’t explicitly outlined until the last chapter.
As a sociocultural study of loneliness and why so many of us experience it, the book is exceptional. If you’re looking for an upbeat, hopeful approach, you may want to skip ahead to page two hundred twenty-eight.
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