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Solitude: A Return to the Self

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,336 ratings  ·  110 reviews
Originally published in 1988, Anthony Storr's enlightening meditation on the creative individual's need for solitude has become a classic.

Solitude was seminal in challenging the established belief that "interpersonal relationships of an intimate kind are the chief, if not the only, source of human happiness." Indeed, most self-help literature still places relationships at
Paperback, 216 pages
Published October 3rd 2005 by Free Press (first published July 18th 1988)
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Sorry for didnot note it, I was outside egypt and internet not that allowed a lot but I reply you through the mail of the study degree when you…more

Sorry for didnot note it, I was outside egypt and internet not that allowed a lot but I reply you through the mail of the study degree when you sent

I am reading it in arabic

sometimes when I cant find the book on arabic edition i add english one here and read the arabic (less)

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Dec 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Some of these reviews disappoint the hell out of me in terms of their reflection of how some modern people tend to read books. One of the positive notes in a fairly positive review was that it's "quite validating." Is that a positive? Is that why we read books? To validate what we already feel?

Another reviewer called it discordant. It was not discordant--it eased itself back and forth between argumentative methods as it went along. Is that really too sophisticated of a technique? It seems pretty
Jun 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a very solitary person – for example, I once went eight months without having any kind of conversation with anyone whether online or in person which is extreme (not really recommended) - naturally, this book interested me. Truthfully I was hoping, ideally, for something from this book that would click in me so that I would not desire or need any relationships with people because I can't seem to do them but yeah, no, that is not going to happen.

Anyway as it turned out, strangely enough, the bo
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk, saggi, psicologia

Into the wild

Una delle paure che maggiormente ci attanaglia e che ci guida nella maggior parte dei nostri comportamenti è quella della solitudine. Se da una parte ben pochi di noi sarebbero disposti ad accettare una vita di solitudine, dall'altra è difficile credere che relazioni interpersonali soddisfacenti ci garantiscano idealmente la felicità. Come diceva Chris McCandless in "Into the wild":

Ti sbagli se pensi che le gioie della vita vengano soprattutto dai rapporti tra le persone. Dio ha me
Apr 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The more we broadcast ourselves on a constant basis, the more we chip away at even the concept of solitude. Every meal you eat is a photo meant to be shared, every funny thought you have is a tweet being prepared for the hive mind.

Online communication isn't the same as making a material world connection - but neither is it the same as being alone. Solitude has been the basis for so much of my creative accomplishment (wonderful collaborative efforts notwithstanding). We need connection, and we a
In the flood of books in all fields about social behaviour, a book extolling the virtues of solitude stands out. Storr critiques the premise of much psychotherapy (esp attachment theory) that we need to be fixed so that we can have fulfilling social relationships and thereby be 'successful'. He argues that purpose and work and, importantly, the ability to be alone, are of equal value and uses creative people as examples.
Thus he says, "The capacity to form attachments on equal terms is considere
Aug 28, 2018 added it
Shelves: psychology
I don't know entirely where I stand on this. On the one hand, it features lots of lovely tidbits about how people have dealt with solitude, most of them miserable depressives. The whole thing is a defense of solitude as an essential component of well-being, written as it was at a time when interpersonal relationships were deemed to be of paramount importance, and long before lots of basement-dwelling assholes started claiming that their "introversion" was why they were assholes.

I mean, it is a p
Jenn "JR"
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First, this book is magnificently structured. The quality of writing and clarity of concepts laid out from the preface to the last page is well organized and clear without being overly pedantic or repetitive. The author refers to concepts and goals of previous sections of the book - even mentions upcoming areas that will be addressed later - and it all just flows really nicely. Very tightly written book - it's only 202 pages (the rest are notes).

Second - this book does a really great job of talk
Feb 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was such an excellent find...almost lost in the midst of the sidewalk sale at Second Story books in Dupont Circle. Dr. Storr is a psychiatrist as well as a talented writer and researcher. The book is full of fascinating biographical jewels on great minds like Kant, Newton, Henry James, Beatrix Potter, P.G. Wodehouse, Freud, Jung and many more. Storr's main premise is to challenge the predominant theory today that a well-balanced life revolves around deep, significant relationships. He does ...more
وسام عادل
من الصعب فعلاً كتاب مراجعة موضوعية لهذا الكتاب لكن بشكل شخصى أنا ممتنة لقراءته لأنه ساعدنى فى الوقوف على بعض الامور الشائكة بداخلى وألقى ضوءا على مناطق مظلمة وفتح أبوابا موصدة .
وهو بشكل عام عملية تشريح للعزلة وسيكولوجية المعتزلين أو من يفضلون عدم التورط فى علاقات مع الآخرين و محاولة لفهم الدوافع وإحداث توازن بين العالم الداخلى الذى لا نراه بوضوح إلا فى الإعتكاف وبين تكوين علاقات مع الآخرين .
الكتاب ثرى للغاية بآراء المحللين النفسيين والتجارب الشخصية سواء لمرضى نفسيين أو حتى تحليلات نفسية لعباقرة
Daniel G.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a now fairly old title that is well worth picking up nonetheless. Storr, an Oxford professor of psychology (a Jungian from what I can gather) discusses solitude, its benefits, some of its perils, and its basic impact on the human mind. For Storr, solitude is an important part of a healthy human life, though it plays different roles for different people. He pushes back quite a bit here on psychological systems that only emphasize the significance of relationships in psychological health, ...more
Michael Perkins
Nov 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Since stumbling on this book in a bookstore back in 1991, I have read it many times. After a couple of readings, I had his primary thesis and insights down. After that, I enjoyed re-reading the stories of how so many writers, composers, and scientists used solitude as an opportunity to create their greatest works.

The author's description of the writing process: preparation (research), incubation, illumination.

And as I have pursued my own writing (including a bestseller), with Storr as a bridge,
Apr 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychoanalysis
The summary of the book as written in the last chapter: "This book began with the observation that many highly creative people were predominantly solitary, but that it was nonsense to suppose that, because of this, they were necessarily unhappy or neurotic. Although man is a social being, who certainly needs interaction with others, there is considerable variation in the depth of the relationships which individuals form with each other. All human beings need interests as well as relationships; a ...more
Jackie St Hilaire
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
It's an uphill climb to the finish line.

Starting all over again is not easy. Where does one start?

The author as well as numerous philosophers and psychologists tell us that we should look to the place in our lives where our growth was challenged. For many it will be adolescence for others depending on their circumstances as early as childhood.

Returning to oneself is not always easy, you ask yourself questions like: "Where did I go wrong". "How come my life went in that direction?"

The author sugg
Dec 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Not even a dog I liked
Recommended to Karen by: online reviews
I was very disappointed in this book. It's description touted it as "a profoundly original exploration of solitude and its role in the lives of creative, fulfilled individuals". It was none of the above. Rather, it is the author's personal rebuttal to most of Freud's philosophy (which I could care less about). It was NOT an exploration of how solitude fueled creative minds, but a depressing litany of all the artists who were neglected, imprisoned, exiled, or institutionalized. While Storr could ...more
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was another one of those very well researched, very human studies about how solitude can help you, about how being alone allows us a chance to recover our true selves- the "I" that is hidden from the rest of the world. There are also many very concise summaries of psyches and solitude cravings from famous authors, suggesting that some creative people may thrive in solitude for it allows themselves a chance to collect their thoughts and express themselves, while being lost in an illusion of ...more
Joseph Boquiren
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
As an extreme introvert I picked up this book in the hopes of learning more about my peculiar eccentricity. Anthony Storr makes a good case that interpersonal relationships are not the only source of happiness. Many of the people listed in his book lived lives of solitude with the world being better off because of it. Isaac Newton, Solzhenitsyn, Kant, Wittgenstein, Beethoven, Kafka, etc. all labored in relative isolation and because of this their work continues to shape, inform and enrich our li ...more
Apr 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
I love this book. I have read it a few times. It always makes me feel good and gives me new insight into things that are important to me. Maybe it is time to read it again.

The main message it holds is that a person can make their own satisfaction and happiness.
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
As a writer with a contemplative nature who is deeply embracing her love and need for huge swathes of solitude as never before, I was eager to read Anthony Storr’s book. I was drawn immediately after reading that “Solitude”, originally published in 1988, “was seminal in challenging the established belief that interpersonal relationships of an intimate kind are the chief, if not the only source of human happiness.” In my experience, it is rare to find someone arguing that intimate relationships a ...more
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, solitude
Anthony Storr era psiquiatra e fez um paralelo entre solidao e criatividade entre filosofos, escritores, artistas e cientistas. Mostrou a diferença entre solidao forçada (encarceramento, perda dos pais na infância, internato, etc) e solidao por opçao/isolamento.
Ele observou que pessoas criativas eram predominantemente solitarias, nao desenvolviam relacionamentos pessoais maduros, mas nem por isso eram infelizes ou neuroticas, embora haja um numero consideravel de depressivos ou bipolares.
Os even
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is not one of those feel good, self help, make me feel okay with the world kind of books.

This piece of work is dense. It's a lot to chew. It's amazing.

These are just my thoughts after finishing the book, not really a review of the book itself.

Our culture tells us that one of the worst things that can happen to a person is to die alone. This is a blatant lie that many of us tend to believe. Working on the self is not placed at any importance and so while immature emotionally, mentally and sp
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
First half of the book is interesting and pretty good. But somewhere along the line the author goes off track and forgets his own topic. Second half of the book seems to be about everything else but solitude. It becomes dreadfully blabbering and boring before you reach the end. Almost not worth the read.
Sean Helvey
Sep 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book and think that it was helpful, but was expecting more practical advice. The focus was on creative genius throughout history and the tone was very philosophical.
Dec 02, 2018 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Stopped @ 37%. The thesis is interesting, but I started skimming quite a number of parts, like Freud’s ideas and Storr’s rebuttals. Might pick it up again one day, though.
well, this was way better than the previous book on solitude that I read, but it still wasn't really what I was looking for. I have a book on silence where the author explores silence in different places, I wanted something more along those lines - experiences of solitude. this is by a psychoanalyst and honestly, I don't think he's talking about solitude per se. the actual point of the book, to my mind, is: freud et al have gone way too far in locating the meaning of life in sexual (romantic) fu ...more
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
When I started this book, I did not realize the author was a renowned psychoanalyst. Had I known that, I doubt I'd have given it a try. I am, however, glad I read it. Storr's examination of the value of solitude and the role it plays in both creativity and the development and preservation of mental health embodies a warmth and humanity rarely found in psychoanalytic literature.

Storr argues convincingly that modern psychology and psychoanalytics place too much emphasis on the role of interperson
Sarah M.  Adly
Aug 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
الكتاب ده مميز قوى صحيح صعب حبتين تﻻتة بس جميل..أخدت منى وقت فى القراءة. بس حسيت إنه بيتكلم عن نفسى و فسر لى حاجات كتيرة فى طفولتى و فترة مراهقة كنت بعملها و عرفت كمان إن مميزة جدا بوجود موهبة زى الرسم و عرفت و أدركت أهمية وجودها و عرفت كمان قيمة الخيال الجامح اللى جوايا و أوقات اﻹعتكاف اللى عديت بيها فى حياتى....شكرا يارب و شكرا يا أنطونى أستور
Mark Anthony  Howard
The most difficult read I have ever chosen for my own consideration but very rewarding. The author is deceased and I feel very worthy of much more herald for his life's contribution to behavioral literature.
Apr 04, 2009 marked it as abandoned-ship
A defense of solitude! Amen. But... it turns out to be entirely through the lens of psycho-analysis. So much. Freud and Jung. No thank you.
C. Woolf
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. Felt reassured that creativity and solitude go hand in hand -- perhaps even must go hand in hand.
Liz Lindsay
Jan 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
I never finished this book, but I intend to return to it one day.
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Goodreads Librari...: please add cover for this ebook 5 93 Jan 19, 2016 12:02PM  
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Anthony Storr was an English psychiatrist and author. He was a child who was to endure the typical trauma of early 20th century UK boarding schools. He was educated at Winchester, Christ's College, the University of Cambridge and Westminster Hospital. He qualified as a doctor in 1944, and subsequently specialized in psychiatry.

Storr grew up to be kind and insightful, yet, as his obituary states, h
“It is true that many creative people fail to make mature personal relationships, and some are extremely isolated. It is also true that, in some instances, trauma, in the shape of early separation or bereavement, has steered the potentially creative person toward developing aspects of his personality which can find fulfillment in comparative isolation. But this does not mean that solitary, creative pursuits are themselves pathological....
[A]voidance behavior is a response designed to protect the infant from behavioural disorganization. If we transfer this concept to adult life, we can see that an avoidant infant might very well develop into a person whose principal need was to find some kind of meaning and order in life which was not entirely, or even chiefly, dependent upon interpersonal relationships.”
“The human spirit is not indestructible; but a courageous few discover that, when in hell, they are granted a glimpse of heaven.” 12 likes
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