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Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone
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Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone

3.37  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,544 Ratings  ·  279 Reviews
A revelatory examination of the most significant demographic shift since the Baby Boom—the sharp increase in the number of people who live alone—that offers surprising insights on the benefits of this epochal changeIn 1950, only 22 percent of American adults were single. Today, more than 50 percent of American adults are single, and 31 million—roughly one out of every seve ...more
Hardcover, 273 pages
Published February 2nd 2012 by Penguin Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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May 07, 2012 Cari rated it liked it
Recommended to Cari by: Elaine
So it's like this: I'm a member of one of the demographic groups Klinenberg focused on while writing Going Solo. I'm a professional, middle class woman in my late twenties with my own apartment, a circle of close friends who are basically family, and the ability to enjoy my own company. I value my privacy and my space and have a strong antipathy towards roommates, so since I can afford to do so without too much stress, I choose to live alone. In summary, I'm the bloody target audience for this b ...more
Jun 20, 2012 Emily rated it it was ok
I was looking forward to this book enough to buy it, but came away disappointed. To begin with, I did not find it "revelatory," beyond a few statistics early in the text about how prevalent living alone has become in American society, however little it may be reflected in the popular culture. I expected a serious discussion of the policy implications of that fact, but huge swaths of this read like a self-help book, based on interviews usually introduced with text like "Kimberly lives in New York ...more
Andrea McDowell
Jan 15, 2016 Andrea McDowell rated it really liked it
When Klininberg investigated a wave of heat-related deaths in Chicago, he discovered the majority of them had some sad facts in common: most were men, living alone, without social networks or families to check in on them. One might expect, then, that his book on the exponential increase in single-person households would be dark and depressing. Not a bit of it: while he doesn't shy away from the trend's darker potentials, like the above-mentioned isolated elderly men with no one to comfort them i ...more
Oct 07, 2012 Ciara rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2012
wow! most misleading subtitle ever. i have lived alone before & it had quite a lot of appeal for me. it was awesome. but had i read this book before i took the plunge, it may never have happened, because this book portrays most people who live alone as very sad & probably on the verge of a horrible lonesome death culminating in their corpse being eaten by their cat. i really don't think it was the author's intention at all, but...sometimes shit happens, i guess.

this book also did somethi
Dec 02, 2015 Gayle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
I live alone. There, I said it. I'm not used to saying it that way because... Actually I don't know why. Maybe I'm afraid of the stigma attached to the word "alone." It sounds so forlorn (pitifully sad and abandoned, or lonely, if you google it), and I'm not. I'm not sad or lonely, nor have I been abandoned. I love my life.

Maybe it's in my genes? My mother and father divorced in 1967, and except for a few months right after the divorce (long story) my mom lived alone until she got Alzheimer's i
Michelle Llewellyn
Oct 02, 2013 Michelle Llewellyn rated it it was ok
Two stars for the outright lie-there is no surprising appeal of living alone. I read this hoping to find some validation in my situation of being unmarried, single and alone-not by choice but because I HAD NO CHOICE! Unless I want to lose my virginity in a cohabitating relationtionship, I'm doomed to live the celebite life alone and I guess I'm just the first to admit there are some days I do not find it appealing. It's a weak argument that having a spouse and children is important but, as Kline ...more
Sep 07, 2012 Jay rated it really liked it
Going Solo
The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone

By Eric Klinenberg

Who doesn’t know someone who lives alone—who has for years and seems happy—is happy?

This new trend is setting an entirely new paradigm for how we live, where we live and the amenities this growing population demands. The statistics surrounding this relatively new phenomenon are staggering since for the first time in history, huge numbers of humans have started to settle down as what author Klinenberg refer
Mar 07, 2016 Anna rated it liked it
This is my 500th review. Good grief.

Despite the subtitle, ‘Going Solo’ is a very non-sensationalist book. I wouldn't say that it's 'trailblazing' or 'revelatory' either. It isn’t trying to evangelise for living alone, but neither does it condone scaremongering about singletons destroying society. Rather, it uses evidence from interviews of some three hundred Americans of all ages who live alone to comment on the individual and societal effects of the phenomenon. The explanation provided for the
May 05, 2012 Sistermagpie rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The book offers an overview of the changing culture where for the first time people are living alone in huge numbers. Unfortunately, many societies, especially in the USA, haven't been very enthusiastic about adjusting to this new way of life, preferring to rail about selfishness than really meet the challenges of a large population of elderly people on their own.

Although the book has a lot of respect for people living alone and stresses how people choose to live alone because it's the best of t
Feb 10, 2012 Nadine rated it really liked it
This was a very balanced book on the virtues and pitfalls of living alone. There have been many books written advocating both sides of the idea, but this author neither promotes nor disparages living on your own. He states that it is something that is happening with more and more frequency all on it's on, and explores reasons why.

Both affluence and poverty are driving forces in the trend, and the author interviewed many, many people of differing geographical and socio-economic levels to explore
Jan 23, 2015 Andrew rated it liked it
If you live in a city, you've certainly seen the literal rise of condo towers and townhome developments, filled mainly with one-room units. Eric Klinenberg, in Going Solo (which just moved into paperback), examines the unprecedented increase in the number of people living alone. His research and interviews describe young unmarried professionals not seeking relationships; middle-aged men and women after the end of marriages; and elderly people trying to maintain their dignity by living alone. He ...more
Jun 03, 2012 Jafar rated it liked it
I was happy to see that this book is not trying to endorse or disapprove any specific lifestyle. We’ve all experienced instances of what can be called the battle of lifestyles. There are married people who can barely hide their pity for what they perceive to be the selfish, empty, and ultimately lonely lives of their single friends. And there are singles who make a show of what a fun and adventurous life they’re leading and why would they want to give all that up for the boredom of domesticity. ...more
Oct 26, 2012 Evan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Evan by: Tamara
Shelves: book-club
This book presented a ton of interesting facts on the phenomenon of living alone in a city, however none of them were outright shocking, or too far afield of what I would have guessed. That could be because I've lived alone for more than 5 years now, and 7 total in my lifetime.

The one aspect of living alone that I don't think about often--but one that this book brought to the forefront of my mind--is what I will do if I am still living alone in my elderly years. How will I go about meeting my s
John Pappas
Mar 05, 2013 John Pappas rated it it was amazing
Shelves: social-sciences
A five for originality of concept. A four for accessibility of language. The book never lagged or slowed down. Point were made, voices heard and then Eric moved on to the next concept. Another five for the wonderful conclusion. Often the last quarter of the book is completely skippable but Eric kept the momentum going and worked well to expand on the concept of living alone while approaching it with respect and free of social stigma. Bravo!
Oct 25, 2015 Rimgaudas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5
Socialinė studija apie po vieną gyvenančius žmones. Joje pateikiami trumpi žmonių pasakojimai. Susidarė įspūdis, kad jie nežino ar nori gyventi vieni. Gyvenimas po vieną turi savo privalumų, bet žmonės neatsisako minties gyventi poroje. Turėti sielos draugą yra svarbiau nei gyventi vienam. Tačiau gyventi vienam yra geriau nei gyventi su bet kuo. Buvo liūdna skaityti dalį apie senatvę, kai vienatvė dažnam tampa sunkia kasdienybe.
Per daug trumpų istorijų ir per mažai analizės. Geriausia žinutė, ka
Marta Borowska
Aug 05, 2015 Marta Borowska rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a pretty good read. At first it started off a little boring, but then the author got into stories and more scientific backup and research. He covers the benefits and cons of living alone and how one gets to the point of living alone. He deconstructs that living alone isn't necessarily a bad thing, that just because one ends up alone does not mean they have failed.

Below are some of my favourite quotes from the book that summarize the important points, as I saw them.

"Solitude, once we lea
Dec 18, 2015 Ursa rated it liked it
I'm ambivalent about this book, which is a mix bag of great and interesting findings about the community of singletons alongside upsetting statistics and anecdotes of people suffering from living alone. This is a case of misleading title, and I could have enjoyed it more had I not felt like I was dubbed into reading another book—the pros and cons of living alone: you're gonna have some liberating and swell experiences, but you’d likely rot alone inside your empty house at old age.

Despite that hi
Last fall I attended a local TED conference and saw a speaker that had an interesting take on commercial real estate. Part of the talk, linked here, was about how, back 10 years ago or so, about 1/3 of the space people lived in was for storing stuff, including record and book collections. But now those are stored in the cloud or on the laptop, and because of that space requirements for apartments were getting smaller and so forward thinking developers were building smaller apartments to adjust. ...more
Apr 08, 2012 Sue rated it really liked it
Going Solo is not an easy read. It's a sociological study with lots of statistics, quotes and notes, but for me, it was worth the effort. Klinenberg gives us a great overview of why and how people are living alone. He looks at young professionals, middle-aged people who have chosen to be alone or gotten that way through divorce, addiction, poverty and other causes, and at older people who find themselves alone in their senior years. He had help from a group of graduate students who helped him ga ...more
Apr 16, 2012 Camellia rated it really liked it
As a young professional myself, who really wants to get married in the times like these? It seems the married life is a burden upon the natural sense of evolution (from the element of mankind being able to survive as independent individuals in our current environment) and left behind as a representative institution trending for the uneducated, religious, and old-fashioned. If you like this book, you should read it along with Why is Sex Fun by Jared Diamond, which outlines man's evolutionary comp ...more
Jan 13, 2013 Charty rated it liked it
A little dry for my taste, but fascinating. I appreciated the effort the author went to to debunk the many prevalent myths about the benefits of marriage and coupledom, while at the same time acknowledging that for certain people and situations, living alone is not necessarily desirable. It was also unsettling, especially the last chapters dealing with aging and aloneness which couldn't help but paint a rather grim future, despite the author's belief that social and governmental reforms and inve ...more
Linda De
Apr 28, 2016 Linda De rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read. It covers a lot of ground and although interesting to singletons of all ages it is also a good read for married children of singleton aging parents. A lot of good information and interesting statistics. The Swedish idea of Färdknäppen would be great to have here in the States.
May 28, 2012 Alexis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Can't acknowledge how much I enjoyed and appreciated this book. It really traces the rise of living alone and how more people live alone in North America than at any other time. Klinenberg gives the reasons for this as increased incomes, increased longevity, the rise of the individual, higher marriage age and higher divorce rates. He gives profiles of people who live alone, and show that they are against stereotypes. Yet he also traces and discovers the truly isolated, shows how services and law ...more
Apr 06, 2012 Catherine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catherine by: Book TV
I saw Eric Klinenberg on Book TV and thought he gave a good interview and that the material in “Going Solo” sounded like an interesting subject. The book does spew out an abundance of figures, but the results are limited by the perimeters he used in collecting data, focusing primarily on large cities and therefore, the material lacked thoroughness.

It’s pretty difficult to write a book of this kind and not have the final outcome lean more toward an academic, dry nature rather than a truly fun an
Ellen Johnson
Feb 27, 2012 Ellen Johnson rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
I guess when one tries to read sociology for fun it would of course get a bit tedious. The beginning was great. Statistics clearly described and somewhat startling. After a while it became repetitious and the case studies were just too long. It does bring up interesting questions, like how it is generally accepted that no one wants to die alone (i.e. without a spouse by their side), but this is almost always the case with women because husbands tend to be older and die younger. Is it better to s ...more
Mar 14, 2012 Orea rated it liked it
I almost did not make it past the introduction, it was dry. Once I did though I found the book very interesting. There were lots of case studies of singletons from many walks of life. The author found that many singletons live in urban areas and are generally very satisfied with their lives. The only time I found the book kind of depressing was when he was discussing getting old and/or sick alone. I also found it odd that he talked with male singletons who were basically living in poverty and re ...more
Mar 22, 2013 Babs rated it liked it
Lots of interesting data to ponder in the book for this soloist.

For instance page 84, "one reason so many people separate is that they are lonely with each other." That statement really struck me as I continue to wrap my head around it.

Also page 97, "I always thought the reason women were alone when they were older was they were simply rejected. I don't think that anymore. I think they just say, I've been there, done that, and unless you're really something special, you're fine as a friend." On
Nov 05, 2014 Gretchen rated it did not like it
ugh this book is annoying. written in that very special and arrogant/biased way that only pop psychology/sociology can be. maybe it gets better, but I'm not finishing it. he did specify right at the end that he was mostly going to be talking about the middle class because living alone was something for the economically privileged, but I don't need him to tell me that.

plus was already approached on one train ride by a gentlemen, who at seeing the cover asked if I had just broken up with someone.
Mar 23, 2016 Melissa rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
I heard about this book while listening to the audio book for Aziz Ansari's, "Modern Romance." He used it a reference for his book and I thought the topic sounded very interesting. However, I agree with other's reviews, the title is very misleading. They should instead call this book, "You Will Die Alone and Your Cats Will Eat Your Face."

The book started out promising, albeit a bit dry, but I really tried to finish the book and I just lost interest about 2/3 of the way through. It talks about t
Feb 17, 2016 MDVinTO rated it liked it
I do like that this book tells many stories to show that there are a lot of reasons why some people live solo. The stories are diverse and cover a wide range of situations ranging from the reluctantly solo to the proud-pro choice solo person which then makes you appreciate the author’s broad perspective until he uses the term “singleton” to apply to ALL people who live solo. Why would this term even be used when the author spends much of his time sympathizing with the challenges, stigma that peo ...more
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Eric Klinenberg is Professor of Sociology; Public Policy; and Media, Culture, and Communications at New York University. He is the author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone (The Penguin Press, 2012), Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America’s Media (Metropolitan Books, 2007), and Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago (University of Chica ...more
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