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Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,352 Ratings  ·  279 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 7th 2003 by Da Capo Press (first published January 6th 2003)
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Walden by Henry David ThoreauInto the Wild by Jon KrakauerWoodswoman I by Anne LaBastilleParty of One by Anneli RufusOne Man's Wilderness by Sam Keith
Best books about Solitude (non-fiction)
4th out of 20 books — 25 voters
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. SalingerThe Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath1984 by George OrwellJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëThe Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Books on Loneliness
270th out of 391 books — 453 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Wesley Harney
May 25, 2012 Wesley Harney rated it it was amazing
Until I started reading this book, on Monday, I had previously held the misconception that I was defected for not being more social. The book has opened my eyes to some interesting aspects about myself, life, and how my lonerness affects my relationships. I learned that people that I get close to, romantically, feel as if I am being aloof, and stand offish. That they believe that I am not into them, or that I am avoiding them. It is rather an interesting, and new concept for me. The book has mad ...more
Feb 20, 2008 Matt rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: loners, goth kids, and people contemplating suicide that need a little spirit boost
I feel weird when I start a book and don't finish it, even if I hate it. That being said, I have given in to the fact that I am never going to finish this one, and I didn't hate it. I read about 75% of the book, but it got so repetitive I couldn't go any further.

I like her basic premise, and she definitely seems like she has done her research. As I get older, I feel like I'm tending to become more of a loner, but this lady takes it a bit too far. Basically she's telling people to be proud of th
Emma Sea
Feb 25, 2013 Emma Sea rated it it was amazing
This may be my new favourite book ever.

Confession: three weeks into a new job I once burst into tears because the team sprung a suprise shared lunch on me. After having to endlessly talk to people, in a stresful new situation, all I wanted was to be ALONE, with my BOOK, for an hour to find myself again, and realising I was instead going to have to make small talk (gahk!!) and then face a stressful afternoon with more talking was enough to guarantee they had to hold the lunch without me, while I
Feb 29, 2008 Meg rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2008
Pretension oozes out of this book. I picked up this book expecting an interesting examination of what it means to be a loner. Instead, the book reads more like a scattered list of loners with a one- to two-paragraph summary of the randomly chosen loner, maybe peppered with a quotation. When the book isn't rambling about random topics, it's rather defensive and self-righteous about "we loners," what "we're" like. Being a loner myself, I often wished the author would speak for herself.

Not recommen
Joe Robles
Mar 30, 2011 Joe Robles rated it it was amazing
I am a loner. Thanks to this book, I'm no longer ashamed to say it. I told a friend that and her response was "awww" as if she was sad for me. I responded (humorously) "that's exactly the type of prejudice this book is trying to fight!"

Loners are very misunderstood, and as Party of One points out, it is a bit the media's fault. Every time someone commits some heinous crime, they immediately call him a loner. Ms. Rufus creates a clear distinction between loners (who wish to be left alone) and out
Dec 17, 2008 RunRachelRun rated it really liked it
Ultimately, I believe, that all true readers are parties of one. This is why this website is so wonderful. We can share, but we still choose reading over chatting, no?
Alison Livingston
Feb 24, 2010 Alison Livingston rated it it was amazing
Although I am pretty sure people who know me would not peg me as a loner, this books so perfectly describes me in every sense that is has now become one of my favorite books of all time.

Loners are often stereotyped as misanthropic, perverted, creepy, weird and at worst, potential serial killers. The writer goes into a great deal of detail to differentiate the above personality types with normal people who just like to be alone more than in the company of others.

True loners have close friends and
Apr 02, 2012 Marsha rated it it was amazing
Society consists of individuals moving as one. People who insist on their private space are seen, erroneously, as aloof, stuck-up, psychotic, neurotic, unfriendly, cold, selfish. Self-help books exist by the thousands to help “make friends and influence people”, get laid, find the right man, get married before 30, stay married, keep the home fires burning, have children, talk to anybody about anything, etc., etc., etc. Here, at last, is a book that refutes and rejects such frantic terms of socia ...more
Mike Lester
Oct 30, 2012 Mike Lester rated it liked it
Don't get me wrong. There's nothing I like more than to be surrounded by friends, people I truly love and care about. Good food, good drink, good conversation, good times in general. I love these moments, savor them, live for them, in fact. The tragedy of life is the sea of jackasses you have to swim through to get to them. Just crossing the street is an epic battle, like something out of Lord of the Rings. Every day brings some fresh hell, some kind of confrontation with a barbarian, gleeful in ...more
Martin Mulcahey
Sep 22, 2011 Martin Mulcahey rated it it was amazing
Every 'loner' has to have three copies of this book (not in a Catcher in the Rye sorta way) so the next time someone in your family or friend asks "why are you that way" you can just lend him this book. Since loners get that question a lot, you will need the extra copies. I loved the way Anneli showed how society has changed the loner from a revered pioneer, cowboy, or Batman hero figure to the loner who shoots up work places or schools. Never noticed it before but it does seem every news report ...more
May 09, 2009 Kiri rated it really liked it
This book defines, and celebrates, the loner. A loner is not just a person who is alone; a loner is someone who enjoys being alone. Someone who is alone, yet lonely, is not a loner; that person is a non-loner, and an unhappy one at that. Loners are happy when alone, and more than happy -- they thrive when given their own alone space. Rufus also describes loners who can be loners in a crowd, because the vast anonymity of a large group renders them all-nigh invisible. Personally, I’m more of the l ...more
Jun 14, 2009 Chelsea rated it really liked it
For a self-proclaimed loner, Anneli Rufus seems to care an awful lot about what other people seem to think of herself and her fellow loners. Beyond the introduction, however, she offers a thoughtful insight into the lives of people that just don't care to spend lots of time with other people. "Groupthink" she calls it, evolved as a survival mechanism, when it really did take a village; hunting, gathering, and child-rearing couldn't all be done by one person - the help of all was needed. Now we a ...more
Sep 03, 2011 knig rated it liked it
Apparently Leonardo Da Vinci once said in company ‘only half of you will belong to yourself’. As he swore by solitude as the road to wisdom and artistic perfection, he would say that of course. But uncannily, this axiom seems to have been time tried, tested an asserted by a horde of artistes, philosophers, painters and other noticeables (all catalogued with great trivial pursuit soundbites). Obviously the motto of a book titled ‘the loner’ manifesto’ is only ever going to validate the axis of ‘m ...more
Cathy Douglas
Jan 25, 2009 Cathy Douglas rated it liked it
This would have made a fine essay, but there isn't enough substance here for a book. It feels padded. I like her attitude. Her premise is that loners don't have to apologize for being who we are, and that being a loner in itself doesn't constitute pathology. But the listings of loner tech geniuses, movie characters, novelists, etc. became tedious. Fewer examples in greater depth would work better.
Jan 02, 2012 えりか rated it did not like it
started off interesting and i was excited that it was going to be good, but it got old after the first few chapters; and by it i mean her prickly, defensive outlook on everything. too much 'We the tragically misunderstood vs They the mindless zombie mob' (i also find it kind of ironic that she keeps referring to loners as 'we'). i was intrigued in the beginning, tired of her over generalizations by about halfway and sick of her condescending attitude towards sociable people by the end. as a more ...more
Jul 22, 2007 Samantha rated it really liked it
I picked up this book because, in the past, I have often identified myself with this group ("loners") and so I thought this would be an interesting read. It was, although I believe it was meant for the absolute extreme definition of the word "loner", and not the watered-down, almost villainous version that appears in society today. This book was very amusing while still staying informative, which I liked, however, the author could sometimes be a bit too sarcastic and so it came off a little stuc ...more
Shelly Blom
Jan 05, 2013 Shelly Blom rated it it was amazing
What an awesome book. It was so refreshing to get a positive, affirming perspective on the preference for solitude. Alone does not necessarily mean lonely! I certainly found this book refreshing given the negative spin the media likes to put on loners, and the tendency to lump angry outcasts who actually want but are denied social connection, in with those whose natural temperament is just not comfortable in the herd/team connectedness that society wants to stamp as "normal". She asserts compell ...more
Dec 08, 2011 Sheryl rated it it was amazing
Well, after all these years, I realize this is why my idea of a great time is to sit by my fire and read or knit -- alone! I'm a loner, and I got those genes from my dad, who is going to get this book in his stocking this year, as is one of my brothers. And mind you, LONER is not a bad thing, it just is. Very interesting commentary for those of us who aren't party animals and don't tolerate mass culture very well. And being a loner doesn't mean you don't like people, which I do -- but only in in ...more
Mar 27, 2016 elizabeth rated it liked it
For a book whose purpose is to get people to understand and accept loners, it's surprisingly black and white. There are loners who never, ever want to be around people, and everyone else is a nonloner and therefore sucks. Apparently. Just like introversion-extroversion is a spectrum, I imagine lonerism-nonlonerism would be a spectrum as well. It makes sense, but apparently not to this author who has a serious chip on her shoulder. If you played a drinking game where you had to take a drink every ...more
Sep 04, 2012 Ron rated it did not like it
Rufus claims to be a celebrated author of numerous books, but this book is astonishing for its lack of any perception and marks her as an author to avoid. She abhors a crass consumer culture while lauding 'creative' loners who take advantage of the market by making dubious 'art' or advertising (which she so nobly turned down). She seems to assert the anarchist perspective that culture and big cities are abominations and that loners are the most adaptive, but she makes the ludicrous assertion tha ...more
I wanted to like this book more than I did. As an inveterate loner myself, in some ways it was as much a relief as a pleasure, to read the thoughts of someone who knows how I feel. But lonerhood, like any other aspect of life, is an individual lived experience, so there were times when Anneli Rufus used the pronoun 'we' when I felt she should have said 'I'. (This, I'll admit, is a totally lonerish complaint. Deal with it.) I did really enjoy the sense of camaraderie-from-a-distance. And I think ...more
I am a loner myself, and quite a one acually, always have been. And it's nice to see that there are meaningful books on this topic, because people really need to open their eyes and minds. I myself live in Czech Republic, which the author mentions in her book, and here it's not such a big deal, but in many places it's really bad, and people really need to be more open minded.

That said, this book can bee really angering when you get to the things she quoted. Those are perfect examples how simple
Arnie Kozak
May 20, 2015 Arnie Kozak rated it really liked it
This book focuses on "loners" and was published in 2002 before the introvert revolution got underway. The lexicon for introverts was very limited at that time and she eschewed the introvert label based on Jung's narrow conceptualization. However, much of what she discusses for loners is relevant for introverts as we self-identify now. This book is a personal scree on the joys and difficulties of being a loner in a world of nonloners. It contains some good research that I found very helpful and a ...more
May 18, 2008 Damian rated it liked it
Dare I admit that I read this to justify my own existence. A fun read.
Lorra Fae
Jan 10, 2011 Lorra Fae rated it it was amazing
If you're a loner, this is definitely a must read. It's flippin' fantastic.
Jan 19, 2016 Fiana rated it it was ok
I was recommended this book years ago when I really struggled with socializing, dealing with anxiety and depression, and not even sure how much I wanted to be around people. I've wondered at various points if I was a sort of loner, knowing that I am an introvert who didn't seem to enjoy time with others all too often.

This book, however, scoffs at all that and firmly places me as a non-loner. That's my biggest issue with this book, that it makes even someone who often isn't super social and ofte
Jan 18, 2014 Kat rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
"Party of One: The Loner’s Manifesto" by Anneli Rufus gave me confidence and a sense of belonging that is hard for me to find. Is is a poetic tribute to the value of loners, the people who prefer daydreaming to club-hopping, and the various social misconceptions that make life for people like me rather trying. There are plenty of misconceptions about loners and introverts. Like it or not, unless they are also introverts, pretty much everyone you know is going to make you feel like there’s someth ...more
Courtney Ficker
I appreciate this book for its defense of loners like me, and I'm going to keep the book on my (physical) shelf as a talking point if nothing else, but I felt like the book was a little over-the-top.

I wish it had gone into more detail about the psychology of introversion. It's not the same as shyness, it's not the same as depression, and it's not the same as misanthropy. We simply spend our "social energy" when we're among people, and recharge it by being alone. For most people, it's the other w
Queen T.
Dec 20, 2012 Queen T. rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 26, 2013 Elena rated it really liked it
In a culture and society that glorifies extraversion, Anneli Rufus's Party of One was relieving, in a room full of people that are constantly asking the one question: "Why are you so quiet?" The Loners' Manifesto was a breathe of fresh air. Granted, her opinion is extreme: instead of discussing the suppression of the introvert, she opens the discussion to the suppression of the loner. She highlights how uncomfortable America is with someone who prefers reading alone on a Friday night instead of ...more
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Anneli Rufus is an award-winning American journalist and author.

Born in Los Angeles, California, she first went to college in Santa Barbara, then to the University of California, Berkeley. Rufus earned an English degree and became a journalist. She's written for many publications, including, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Boston Globe. Currently she is the literary editor for the Ea
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“The loner who looks fabulous is one of the most vulnerable loners of all.” 149 likes
“We do not require company. In varying degrees, it bores us, drains us, makes our eyes glaze over. Overcomes us like a steamroller. Of course, the rest of the world doesn't understand.” 46 likes
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