By Michael Harris

“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

“Solitude is a gorgeously written and fascinating book, richly detailed and thought-provoking throughout. I highly recommend it.”
Michael Finkle, author of Stranger in the Woods and True Story


downloadGovernor 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–properly 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–we are ever-connected, but only shallowly so.

Award-winning author Michael Harris examines why our experience of solitude has become so impoverished, and how we may grow to love it again in the frenzy of our digital landscape. 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.

Read an Excerpt: [National Post Excerpt] [The Walrus Magazine Excerpt]

“An insightful, lively meditation.”
The Globe & Mail

“Must-read… Lively and concise.”

“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

“[Michael Harris’s] approach is an appealing patchwork of latest brain research, personal anecdote, journalistic reportage and sly but never cynical observation. It makes for a very readable mélange.”
— Literary Review of Canada

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

“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

“[Michael Harris] is always an engaging writer, easy to read and capable of expressing his arguments in memorable and helpful ways . . . Solitude has real benefits, leading as it does to enhanced creativity, a better understanding of the self, and (paradoxically) the ability to connect more fully with others. It is a psychological and emotional resource that is increasingly under assault. We have to be aware of this, and look for ways to defend the endangered singular life.”
Quill & Quire

“With a charming wit and humble intelligence, Harris approaches the subject of solitude from several fascinating vantage points . . . Scientific citations are sprinkled into the gorgeous prose—indications of Harris’s thoughtful and well-researched approach to the subject.”
The Winnipeg Free Press

“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, award-winning 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, award-winning author of Twelve by Twelve: A One Room Cabin, Off the Grid & Beyond the American Dream and New Slow City: Living Simply in the World’s Fastest City

“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: how to break free from the seductions of technology and reclaim our inner selves.”
Deborah Campbell, award-winning author of Disappearance in Damascus

“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 timely, eloquent provocation to daydream and wander.”
Nathan Filer, author of The Shock of the Fall

“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

“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

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

“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

Solitude serves as a manual for cutting out your life’s unwanted noise and embracing the quiet.”


National Bestseller
Globe & Mail Bestseller
Toronto Star Bestseller
Maclean’s Bestseller
A Maclean’s “Must Read”


Doubleday Canada, April 2017
Thomas Dunne, US, April 2017
Cornerstone, PRH, UK, April 2017
Across Publishing Company, Korea
Homme, France
Planeta, Spain