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Michael Harris

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in Vancouver, Canada
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December 2013


Michael Harris is the bestselling author of The End of Absence, Solitude, and All We Want. A recipient of the Governor General’s Literary Award, he is also a faculty member in the Literary Journalism program at the Banff Centre and the writer of the award-winning podcast Command Line Heroes. He lives with his husband in Vancouver. MichaelJohnHarris.com

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Michael Harris Hi Austin, Thanks for the question. There were two main streams of literature I was dipping into for this book.

First stream: books about the nature o…more
Hi Austin, Thanks for the question. There were two main streams of literature I was dipping into for this book.

First stream: books about the nature of aloneness or solitude. Anthony Storr's book Solitude was certainly a great inspiration. Also, the work of Sara Maitland.

Second stream: books on media and our relationship with the internet. I try to read broadly about human interactions with technology. So: Marshall McLuhan, Neil Postman, Lewis Mumford, and Elizabeth Eisenstein are all fascinating, even though they were writing before online life rose to dominance. More contemporary authors that I've relied on include: Nicholas Carr, Sherry Turkle, James Gleick, Clive Thompson, Tim Wu, and Daniel Levitin.

All that said: if you're looking for another book to read about solitude, I would absolutely point you toward Storr's book. It's a gem.

Hope that helps!
And all best,
Michael(less)
Average rating: 3.67 · 3,769 ratings · 585 reviews · 4 distinct worksSimilar authors
Solitude: In Pursuit of a S...

3.69 avg rating — 1,842 ratings — published 2017 — 22 editions
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The End of Absence: Reclaim...

3.65 avg rating — 1,730 ratings — published 2014 — 9 editions
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All We Want: Building the L...

3.64 avg rating — 194 ratings — published 2021 — 2 editions
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3.67 avg rating — 3 ratings — published 2017
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The Guncle by Steven  Rowley
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Lost in the Valley Of Death by Harley Rustad
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All We Want by Michael  Harris
"A thoughtful examination of the consumer narrative that governs our lives. Especially loved reading about the history of Edward Bernays (the "father" of PR), and the second half of the book where Harris presents other forms of narratives that we can " Read more of this review »
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The Day the World Stops Shopping by J.B. MacKinnon
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Quotes by Michael Harris  (?)
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“we aren’t lonely because we are alone; we are lonely because we have failed in our solitude.”
Michael Harris, The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection

“When we think we're multitasking we're actually multiswitching. That is what the brain is very good at doing - quickly diverting its attention from one place to the next. We think we're being productive. We are, indeed, being busy. But in reality we're simply giving ourselves extra work.”
Michael Harris

“When we grip our phones and tablets, we’re holding the kind of information resource that governments would have killed for just a generation ago. And is it that experience of everyday information miracles, perhaps, that makes us all feel as though our own opinions are so worth sharing? After all, aren’t we—in an abstracted sense, at least—just as smart as everyone else in the room, as long as we’re sharing the same Wi-Fi connection? And therefore (goes the bullish leap in thinking) aren’t my opinions just as worthy of trumpeting?”
Michael Harris, The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection

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