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How to Be Alone (School of Life) [Paperback]

Sara Maitland , The School of Life
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

2 Jan 2014 School of Life

Our fast-paced society does not approve of solitude; being alone is literally anti-social and some even find it sinister. Why is this so when autonomy, personal freedom and individualism are more highly prized than ever before? Sara Maitland answers this question by exploring changing attitudes throughout history. Offering experiments and strategies for overturning our fear of solitude, she helps us to practise it without anxiety and encourages us to see the benefits of spending time by ourselves. By indulging in the experience of being alone, we can be inspired to find our own rewards and ultimately lead more enriched, fuller lives.

One in the new series of books from The School of Life, launched January 2014:

How to Age by Anne Karpf

How to Develop Emotional Health by Oliver James

How to Be Alone by Sara Maitland

How to Deal with Adversity by Christopher Hamilton

How to Think About Exercise by Damon Young

How to Connect with Nature by Tristan Gooley

Frequently Bought Together

How to Be Alone (School of Life) + How to Age (School of Life) + How to Develop Emotional Health (School of Life)
Price For All Three: 16.77

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan (2 Jan 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230768083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230768086
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 13 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


This new series of The School of Life's self-help books build on the strengths of the first, tackling some of the hardest issues of our lives in a way that is genuinely informative, helpful and consoling. Here are books that prove that the term "self-help" doesn't have to be either shallow or naive (Alain de Botton, Founder of The School of Life)

About the Author

Sara Maitland is the British author of numerous works of fiction,including the Somerset Maugham Award-winning Daughter of Jersualem, and several non-fiction books, including A Book of Silence. Born in 1950, she studied at Oxford University and lives in Galloway, Scotland. Visit her website

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Outlines first steps to enjoying solitude 3 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
‘Loner' has become a dirty word, serving as polite code for loser, weirdo and even potential serial killer (‘I'm not surprised they found all those bones in his back garden, he was always a loner … ’). But at the same time, we revere the solitary genius, the hermit, the artist musing in a garret. This is why the first step to enjoying solitude, says Sara Maitland, is to let go of stereotypes and accept that, to some extent, we all need time alone.

Like many self-help books, How to be Alone initially focuses less on the how and more on the why. Although an uncomfortable idea to accept, it's hard to argue with Maitland's point that perhaps we fear solitude because we don't want to know how empty our heads really are. More encouragingly, she points out that while we may initially fear time alone, it certainly won't do us any harm – and will probably do us good. Whether you're looking for some quiet in a busy life or trying to deal with solitude due to break-up or bereavement, this is a good place to start.

(Review from <a href="">The List</a>.)
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Joys of Solitude 12 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Written in an easy style, it was a joy to read. Also at less than 200 pages, it took only a few hours to go through it. The first few chapters delved into why solitude is frowned upon these days. This was followed by chapters on how to be alone. The final part of the book focused on the joys of solitude. Indeed there is a lot to be gained from being alone and this book reminded us of the need and benefits of solitude. Being alone is empowering and allows one to tackle creative work more efficiently. This book is thus a timely reminder of the benefits of solitude in a noisy world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to the topic 10 Mar 2014
By paola
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book met my expectations. I was expecting a short, basic, well written and well-researched book about this topic and I've found all these things in it. It's really good if you're first approaching this subject as it gives you a lot of ideas and facts, and it's very easy to read too!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reassuring 9 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found this book quite reassuring. I am not alone by choice, but many of the actions she suggests I have already taken on. I would recommend it to anyone who is alone, by choice or not.
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