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Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World

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4.25  ·  Rating details ·  2,241 ratings  ·  342 reviews
In this groundbreaking book, Murthy argues that loneliness is the underpinning to the current crisis in mental wellness and is responsible for the upsurge in suicide, the opioid epidemic, the overuse of psych meds, the over-diagnosing and pathologizing of emotional and psychological struggle. The good news is that social connection is innate and a cure for loneliness. In T ...more
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Published April 28th 2020 by HarperCollins
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Leah
Jul 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book, very anecdotal, lots of stories...

Talks about how COVID right now is changing us and the social needs that we have as humans.

It's made me more empathetic and understanding to people that suffer from loneliness and the lack of human social connection. Connection is so important to our lives, health, and wellbeing.

I feel like I read a lot and it's interesting but I didn't take any notes lol

Loneliness kills...

...more
Johnna
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the science behind social connectivity. Vivek does an amazing job connecting together concepts like ACE’s, shame, social infrastructure, natural disasters, medical problems, and cultural differences to form a cohesive story about loneliness. As someone relatively well versed in many of these topics I thoroughly enjoyed the way they were expanded and weaved throughout this book. Bringing medical knowledge, personal experience, and the work of o ...more
Mrs. Europaea
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if I would call this groundbreaking. This is similar enough to Putnam's Bowling Alone that discussed similar issues (social captial) and was published twenty years ago. I think the main difference from a sociological to a more medicinal perspective is worth noting and makes this a worthwhile read. ...more
Paul Miller
Heavy on theory, light on the practical. I was impressed by this former US Surgeon General on a Freakanomics podcast promoting this book about the epidemic of loneliness in the world. He’s surely doing a public service by shining the light and lightening the stigma from something that’s very real and we all experience at one time or another. If you don’t believe loneliness is a universal malady with significant personal and societal consequences, read this book and you shall be convinced. If ins ...more
Mark Ryan
I’ve given this book a low rating mainly for the structure and format of the writing, not necessarily the content itself. The content is fine (little new information here if you’ve read anything on the topic previously), but the structure of chapters renders the book sinfully dull. I think this could have benefitted from a stronger editor and a clearer vision for what each chapter and section would achieve. The points feel opaque; they’re hidden behind incoherent approach. Personal stories are m ...more
Linnea Magsuci
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of the points that the book discusses are facts we already know, but Murthy does a great job in delving into scientific research as to how our brains function from social interaction or lack thereof. The solutions he proposes may be idealistic but serve as a reminder of the frameworks and definition of "community" we should use as we continue to advance society as technology innovates at a rapid rate.

On a personal note, it was comforting to read about why we may be feeling strange or conf
...more
Dan Connors
Dec 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-books

Loneliness isn't exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you think of global health issues, but this silent epidemic has exploded during the socially distant Covid-19 era, and thrown a huge monkey wrench into human mental and physical health issues. In the United States, which prides itself as an individualistic culture, loneliness has become the disease people don't want to talk about because it makes them seem weak.

What is loneliness? In a world with billions of human beings running
...more
Elaine
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Informative read about the importance of social connection. Interesting anecdotes and lessons to be had, but the structure of the book could use some tightening up. Although the content began to drag at the end, it's an inspiring read overall and a reminder to practice empathy as often as possible.

Some parts of the book felt very personalized as the author went to my high school in Miami and the bullying he experienced as a young Asian child hit close to home. The story about the 5'6 Chinese Am
...more
Katrina Sark
p.23 – What is loneliness, anyway? […] Many people think of loneliness as isolation, but the difference between these two terms is substantial. Loneliness is the subjective feeling that you’re lacking the social connections you need. It can feel like being stranded, abandoned, or cut off from the people with whom you belong – even if you’re surrounded by other people. What’s missing when you’re lonely is the feeling of closeness, trust, and the affection of genuine friends, loved ones, and commu ...more
Molly
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a timely book for quarantine! Definitely worth reading now, more than ever.
Andy
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The general concept of the Surgeon General highlighting connections is well-intentioned. But this book is neither fish nor fowl. It's a mish-mash of anecdotes, "thought leader" advice, and "studies show" reports. For a good Surgeon General memoir, I would recommend either of the ones I've read:
Koop The Memoirs of America's Family Doctor by C. Everett Koop Joycelyn Elders, M.D. From Sharecropper's Daughter to Surgeon General of the United States of America by Joycelyn Elders . I also think there are better popular science books on the importance of social connections for health:
Bowling Alone The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert D. Putnam Lost Connections Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression - and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari The Status Syndrome How Social Standing Affects Our Health and Longevity by Michael G. Marmot


Nerd addendum:
With respect to the science, one thing that caught my atte
...more
Ivana
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book made me teary eyed more than once. It is so beautifully written, and it also helped me see my own struggles through the lens of loneliness, something I hadn’t considered before.
Dr. Murthy talks about the prevalence of loneliness, its effect of our health and the ripple effects it has in our lives: our personal relationships, our professional lives, and our spiritual lives. He writes in an extraordinarily compassionate way while providing factual information and an abundance of referen
...more
Alicia
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book was like a balm on an old wound for me. It is vastly interesting, introspective, and heartfelt. The personal stories collected and explored by Dr. Murthy really resonated with me, and I suspect they would with most of us, who have all experienced loneliness in our very different lives and craved love and connection, especially in this digital age. Somehow, in the middle of a global pandemic, reading about loneliness made me feel like human connection is only as far as reaching.
Liberty
Such a timely book!
Jessie
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing! We've all probably heard how humans are social creatures and thus need social connections but how many of us have thought of just how dangerous loneliness can be? Dr. Murthy shares years of extensive research into how loneliness can affect our mental, emotional, and even physical well-being. He shares amazing and heartbreaking stories of people from across the world who experienced loneliness. Some discovered methods to form needed connections or find the support they crav ...more
FOLIO
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are many things we use all the time without really paying attention to them. That’s normal and even helpful a lot of the time; life would slow down impossibly if we couldn’t move relatively seamlessly through certain tasks or activities.

And yet it can be refreshing to stop a while and see something familiar in new light, to reflect on what we take for granted or what we assume must always be done a certain way because we’ve simply never wondered if there’s a different way to do things.

Dur
...more
Rachel Croce
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An ironic book to read during a pandemic. “Together” has reinforced a lot of what I know in terms of community, relationships, and attachment. Murthy offers a refreshing perspective given the work he has done. I appreciate how much qualitative data he uses while making examples more personal - he sheds light on the more intimate progress people make within relational and supportive contexts, both interpersonally and systemically. I also appreciate his stance on overlooking differences by way of ...more
Vinnie Casanova
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel attacked.

This book was right on time for me. I think it may be right on time for a lot of people navigating almost a year of living in a pandemic. I heard Murthy on a podcast and was really impressed by him and gripped by the topic. I'm pleased to say that the book surpassed my expectations. There are a few parts that were slow, but most of it was really engaging. Especially where Murthy interviews others.

I thought it was beautiful, at times hard to read (as I could relate), and a timel
...more
Jennifer
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such an important to book
The author breaks down different levels of social interaction and it’s so clear to see how important they all are for overall well being. As a person who works with our senior population I read this book with that in mind and saw how important it was for us all to make sure we keep these in our lives even as we age
Stephanie Bailey
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: research
This is a must read. I was hesitant to pick up a book about social connection and loneliness during a pandemic, but Dr. Vivek Murthy writes with such compassion and empathy, that the entire read feels deeply comforting. He artfully balances between scientific study, personal anecdote, and recommendations for strong government policy, and I wish everyone had these social-emotional tools in their tool belt.
Roxanne
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vivel Murthy, the 19th Surgeon General of the United States faced national daunting health crises such as e-cigarettes and opioids during his tenure under Barack Obama. Yet, he also faced a more insidious American problem: loneliness.

In his book Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World, Dr. Murthy explains seeing the emotional as well as the physical toll loneliness can take in individuals. His historical look at loneliness indicates that even pre-pandemic our
...more
Elizabeth Ricks
Jan 16, 2021 rated it liked it
This book was fine. I think it could easily be summarized in booklet form, but there were some good stories. My favorite quote, which I will change a bit and add to is, "[The world] is a family of families." Also I learned that I wasn't the only person who, in junior high, either hung out in the library or bathroom at lunch because I didn't have anyone to eat with. ...more
Eva Salačová
Jun 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, non-fiction, e-book
Main lessons learned:
- loneliness has adverse effects on our mental and physical health
- there has been a surge in loneliness in the last 20 years, not only caused by technology
- when we experience loneliness, we become irate and standoffish, ironically making it harder to form or re-instate human connections

Also, the journey to being connected to others starts with self-compassion. And we need to listen to understand, not to counteract.

Great book, enriching read, would recommend.
Sami
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an important read - especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. I found this book on the "New" shelf at my local library. Little did I know this book was exactly what I needed at the moment. Here, Vivek Murthy lays the foundation for a connected world. There are some alarming statistics in the book, such as the link between chronic illnesses and lack of social connections.

He offers hope here. The world can combat fear with love. Throughout my reading, I often thought of ways in which I ca
...more
Keelan Cosgrove
I’ve put some thought into loneliness already, especially within the current quarantine, and didn’t find much of interest in Together. Murphy’s assertions are correct, but the messages are already quite clear. The book is verbose and doesn’t offer much in concrete suggestions for how societies can embrace human connection. I did find some aspects interesting, namely the correlation between physical pain and loneliness as evident from the painkiller experiment, and the three aspects of loneliness ...more
Claire
3.5 ⭐️
I listened to this. (Which is my preferred way to engage with most nonfiction.) I listened to Dr. Murthy on a podcast, and it prompted me to purchase his audiobook. I think I found him slightly more engaging on the podcast. I don’t know what I really expected of his here, but I did find some of the narrative too dry to keep my attention. Dr. Murthy has a great voice for narration, but I did not find the material as engaging as I thought I would.
Sara Barker
This could have been 100 pages. It was one of the books included in a quarterly subscription from Next Big Idea Club. Aside for the timeliness as were all managing with COVID, and may have increased loneliness, there was not much new by way of info. Dull read.
Ranjit Powar
What is loneliness? Is it possible to be lonely in a crowd? Why do some people remain lonely? How does it affect mental and physical health? What is the role of human relationships in our lives? These are some of the simple, yet intriguing questions Dr Vivek Murthy discusses in his book ‘Together’. Technology has connected the world in many ways, yet we face phenomenal loneliness. Dr Murthy cites extensive research by scientists and doctors to suggest, “Human relationship is as essential to our ...more
Debbie
Nov 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: non-fiction
This book blew me away. It was so informative and applicable to what I'm going through now. The book is divided into two parts. The first, Making Sense of Loneliness and the second, Building a More Connected Life.

Murthy defines loneliness as "the subjective feeling that you're lacking the social connections you need". In other words "what's missing when you're lonely is the feeling of closeness, trust, and the affection of genuine friends, loved ones, and community". He uses stories and case stu
...more
Beth
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
If you feel yourself withdrawing from others right now after months of limited social interaction, I recommend this book. Here are some highlights:

*a study that shows that Tylenol helps alleviate both physical and emotional pain
*the men's shed movement
*"The most common form of despair is not being who you are." -Soren Kierkegaard
*the finding that a sense of awe brought about by nature/art leads people to be more responsive and generous to others
*the importance of work friends to both you and the
...more
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