3.5 out of 5 stars

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

We live in a hyper-connected world. If you have a smart phone then you can probably only go a few minutes without having to look at it. There is a constant stream of notifications from emails and social media app that clamour for your attention every time you pop it back in your pocket. The flip side of this is that there are more people today who are incredibly lonely, ironic given that we have a whole world at our fingertips.

Solitary confinement is often used as an extreme form of imprisonment, and the book begins with the story of Dr Edith Bone’s who was locked away for seven years and 59 days. She managed to stay sane by mentally walking through cities she had visited and survived. Our modern life means that the distractions can end up taking over far too often. (Twitter, I am looking at you). However, what Harris wants to concentrate on in this book is the positive effects of solitude. That by taking time away from life means that we can fully concentrate on the matter in hand and possibly even recapture some of our own sanity.

I also realised I was getting angry. Angry because part of my life had been stolen from me. So I set myself looking for those lost pieces of solitude in every corner of the world.

Solitude is something that companies want to erode as profits lie in getting you to consume time and their product or service. However, you can turn it around if you choose to do so. Solitude is the process of removing external distractions and concentrating on the matter that is important to you at that moment. Having time alone to allow your mind to wander will bring forth fresh ideas and direction before you re-engage with the world again. My favourite part was when he spent a week at the family cabin on an island off the coast of British Columbia and lived out the premise of the book. It takes him a few days and then he starts to notice things, that while they have always been there, he has never noticed before. I think he writes well, the book is well researched too, he handles the subject matter well, keeping it interesting and the narrative flowing. Lot of things to think about after reading this and that is a good thing.

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