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Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto [Paperback]

Anneli S. Rufus
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
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Book Description

17 Dec 2002
The Buddha. Rene Descartes. Emily Dickinson. Greta Garbo. Bobby Fischer. J. D. Salinger: Loners, all--along with as many as 25 percent of the world's population. Loners keep to themselves, and like it that way. Yet in the press, in films, in folklore, and nearly everywhere one looks, loners are tagged as losers and psychopaths, perverts and pity cases, ogres and mad bombers, elitists and wicked witches. Too often, loners buy into those messages and strive to change, making themselves miserable in the process by hiding their true nature--and hiding from it. Loners as a group deserve to be reassessed--to claim their rightful place, rather than be perceived as damaged goods that need to be "fixed." In Party of One Anneli Rufus -- a prize-winning, critically acclaimed writer with talent to burn -- has crafted a morally urgent, historically compelling tour de force--a long-overdue argument in defense of the loner, then and now. Marshalling a polymath's easy erudition to make her case, assembling evidence from every conceivable arena of culture as well as interviews with experts and loners worldwide and her own acutely calibrated analysis, Rufus rebuts the prevailing notion that aloneness is indistinguishable from loneliness, the fallacy that all of those who are alone don't want to be, and wouldn't be, if only they knew how.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing (17 Dec 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569245134
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569245132
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 14 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 84,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
IMAGINE YOU'RE A loner whose ideal home would be a cottage on the beach, miles from the nearest neighbor. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
131 of 136 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly brilliant book! 10 May 2008
By shpadoinkle VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
At the high school I attended in the North of England, being called a 'loner' was a popular and powerful insult. It didn't mean 'She enjoys being alone alot', it meant 'She has no friends', and it would be chanted at you if you were EVER caught doing anything alone. I did have a (small) group of friends, but knew that if I was ever seperated from the pack for long, I risked being branded a 'loner', and possibly a witch, and end up being dunked in a pond to see if I sank. Probably the witch thing wouldn't have happened, but it was the North of England in the 90s - you never knew.

Anyway, about the book. If you have ever felt anti-social or 'faulty', just because you like being alone, I urge you to buy this book. It really makes you appreciate just how much we are still in an age of 'mob mentality', and how much pressure there is for everyone to be part of this 'mob'(as Rufus calls them). Loners really are treated like weirdos, freaks, and even worse, as potentially dangerous.

Because Loners are a misunderstood minority, the super sociable majority will always criticize, and try to 'cure' them. In the same way fundamentalist Christians try to 'cure' homosexuality. But 'The Loners' Manifesto' argues that we no longer need to hang around in tribes and clans, and spend every waking moment with others for the good of the community - 'The time when barns needed raising is over.' Rufus points out that being able to spend lots of time alone is one of the great products of thousands of years of civilization.

This book really validates the Loner, and argues so brilliantly about how great it is to be a Loner (and it is), that I feel better about myself just having read it. Not only that, it is extremely well-written, and often very funny...
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant! 24 May 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book a few months ago and have read it several times. At last we have someone speaking up for loners. Real loners I mean. I'm slightly different to Anneli in that I have to live alone. I would hate to be married, but enjoy the odd social occasion with people I really care about. I just love to shut the door after visitors have left.

This book made me so relieved to be able to reclaim the L word. Now I tell people when another criminal is mislabelled what the word really means. Thanks Anneli!
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93 of 99 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A unique experience 24 May 2007
The problem with this book is that inevitably it is more likely to be read by loners/introverts. With this in mind is it any wonder that the people who have read it don't feel any need to tell others about it. Being a loner myself I would recommend it to other loners who want to be understood or (more importantly) who want to understand themselves. This book is not arrogant or antisocial it just justifies the need for people to be by themselves. I think this manifesto is very relevant in this post-modern age of face to face feedback, plebeian politics, Richard & Judy cozy couch chattering and the general view that you have to have an opinion and you have to share it. this is the one occasion where I hope my review is the only one, that would be fitting.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unnecessarily abrasive 17 Feb 2009
By Anna
I prefer to spend time alone; always have, and it's just a matter of feeling more comfortable that way, so I am absolutely baffled as to why it's something that needs to have battle lines be drawn... which is what Rufus does.

She makes too many side-swipes at people who are sociable. I can't imagine being that way - truth is, wouldn't *want* to be that way - but I don't think people who are are somehow inferior, or vapid; and I really resent the implication that to be insular is to be bitter, and to loathe those Other People who are crazy enough to enjoy spending time with *more* Other People.

If Rufus believes that being a loner is acceptable, why the need to put down others who are different? It's counter-productive, and ultimately reflects badly on those of us who simply prefer to be alone.

On the plus side, Party of One gathers together a staggering amount of multi-cultural information supporting the validity of being a loner, and there's no doubt that if you feel ashamed of being the way you are, Rufus will provide ample support, and allay your fears.

It's just the "cornered animal" aspect that really ruined it for me. To choose to be alone is every bit as normal, acceptable and healthy as it is to choose to be surrounded by people, and we needn't insult and denigrate others in order to inflate and validate our own position.

I can appreciate that this is a clarion call; Rufus believes she is pushing *back* against a sort of cultural/social "persecution" of those who like to be alone, and that's fine. Media connotations aside, it's not something I've ever encountered, and I don't care enough about the word "loner" to lay claim to it. Some do, and that's honestly fine. But the same ends can be achieved without the reverse snobbery and scorn.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Explains so much. 20 Mar 2010
By Martin
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A revelationary read for anyone who has ever been misunderstood or considered slightly odd for expressing their deep-seated need for space and generally not wishing to spend every waking hour in the company of others, this book provides reassurance that (paradoxically) we are not alone and that such behaviour isn't even simply a lifestyle choice; it is simply the way we are and that the rest of society needs to just get over it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most important books in my life
A book that's very easy to read. this book taught me that I'm allowed to be just who I am. I refer to it regularly when I forget and always feel better instantly. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Lizzy
4.0 out of 5 stars Read it in a day
A very easy read, and read it in a day as I am currently on Holiday. Most of the things she says strikes a cord with me, but I don't agree with everything she says. Read more
Published 13 months ago by brynbaby123
4.0 out of 5 stars Loners: ironically, you are not alone.
As I myself am one of the most genuinely self-contained people I have ever met I was a little bit disconcerted to discover how many of 'us' there are out there. Read more
Published 14 months ago by DMC
5.0 out of 5 stars in a minority
If, like me, you prefer your own company, then this will make you feel okay in a society that villifies the loner. Read more
Published 20 months ago by martart99
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost realising you're not alone!
Really enjoyed this book. As someone who has found thatI enjoy my own company more than that of others, and, like many people, feeling like I was 'odd' or 'withdrawn' as a result,... Read more
Published on 11 Oct 2012 by shepherdess
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written
What a marvellous book. Insightful, interesting and well-written. The perfect antidote to too much company. Read more
Published on 26 Mar 2012 by AL
2.0 out of 5 stars Us VS Them
I honestly didn't finish this book because it really got under my skin. The author seems bitterly focused on preaching a very 'Us VS Them' mentality, or as described in the book;... Read more
Published on 12 Jan 2012 by J. Farrow
5.0 out of 5 stars Loners of the World - Don't Unite!
A brilliant polemic in defence of the Loner, the Solitary, who may not be a psycho serial killer, as the mass media (significant term) would have it. Read more
Published on 1 Jan 2012 by Todd Cutler
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
I had high hopes of this book, but found it rather frustrating to read. It's a bit bitter and twisted, taking a belligerent stance of 'loners' vs 'non-loners'. Read more
Published on 18 Jan 2011 by Anne Power
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but the author is unable to allow the 'live and let live'...
Like a couple of other reviewers, I found that what could have been an interesting and very readable book dismantling the often negative stereotype of 'the loner' was pretty well... Read more
Published on 2 Nov 2010 by Lady Fancifull
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