The Lonely Century
How to Restore Human Connection in a World That's Pulling Apart
- By: Noreena Hertz
From an economist hailed as “one of the world's leading thinkers” (The Observer), an eye-opening exploration of the most urgent social issue of our time.
“Noreena Hertz delivers a compelling vision for how we can bridge our many divides at this time of great change and disruption.”—Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global
Even before a global pandemic introduced us to terms like “social distancing,” loneliness was well on its way to becoming the defining condition of the twenty-first century.
All around us, the fabric of community is unraveling 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 reorganization of the workplace, the mass migration to cities, and decades of neoliberal policies that have 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 it’s a political crisis, as feelings of marginalization fuel divisiveness and extremism around the world. But it’s also a crisis we have the power to solve.
Combining a decade of research with firsthand reporting, Noreena Hertz takes us from a “how to read a face” class at an Ivy League university to isolated remote workers in London during lockdown, 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 neighborhoods 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.
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