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The Lonely Century Reviews

The Lonely Century by Noreena Hertz

The Lonely Century: Coming Together in a World that's Pulling Apart

Noreena Hertz

4.00 out of 5

3 reviews

Category: Psychology, Non-fiction
Imprint: Sceptre
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date: 10 Sep 2020
ISBN: 9781529329254

'Indispensable, engaging and brilliant book about the pervasiveness of loneliness in the twenty-first century and its far-reaching impact...a hopeful book that couldn't be more important or timely.' Philippa Perry, author of The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

4 stars out of 5
Hattie Crisell
12 Nov 2020

"This book is a crucial call to arms"

Dehumanising technology, unimaginative city planning and austerity have made us unhappy, unhealthy and hostile. 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. Yet I have little confidence that the British government is thinking about the importance of community. If we could issue a reading list to 10 Downing Street, I’d put this book near the top.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
Emma Jacobs
7 Oct 2020

"The book covers a wide sweep of loneliness "

This is underscored in Noreena Hertz’s The Lonely Century. The book covers a wide sweep of loneliness — relationships, cities and communities — and shows its impact on health and democracy, linking it to the surge in populism. One striking theme is loneliness at work — which Hertz addresses explicitly in a chapter on the office and on automation but threads through sections on politics and the loneliness economy too. As the woman who confessed to work loneliness shows, it is often a shameful secret — surely jobs are meant to be about money, status, purpose, not friendship?

4 stars out of 5
Simon Ings
26 Sep 2020

"One of Hertz’s champions calls her book “inspiring”. All it inspired in me, I’m afraid, was terror"

Bringing such material to life necessarily means cherry-picking your examples. An impatient or hostile reader might take exception to the graduate student who spent so long curating her “Jen Goes Ziplining” Instagram post that she never actually went ziplining; also to the well-paid executive who lives out of his car and spends all his money on platonic cuddling services. The world is never short of foolish and broken people, and two swallows do not make a summer.Still, I can’t see how Hertz’s account is harmed by such vividly rendered first-person research. And readers keen to see Hertz’s working have 130 pages of notes to work from.