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Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  2,962 ratings  ·  353 reviews
An essential defense of the people the world loves to revile -- the loners -- yet without whom it would be lost

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 near
Paperback, 286 pages
Published January 7th 2003 by Da Capo Lifelong Books (first published January 6th 2003)
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Lyra Go to your "to read" bookshelf. Find this book. In the top right corner of this book's "section" there will be an X. Click the X and hit "ok" in the p…moreGo to your "to read" bookshelf. Find this book. In the top right corner of this book's "section" there will be an X. Click the X and hit "ok" in the prompt box. It will remove the book from your shelf.(less)

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Wesley Harney
Feb 12, 2012 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
Nov 14, 2007 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 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 15, 2008 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
May 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Most people who meet me in person have a hard time believing that I self-identify as a loner. They see me as pretty gregarious and comfortable in most social situations, even among total strangers. I'm not terminally shy, as they say.

But, in all honesty, I am very comfortable, MOST comfortable, being alone. Thankfully, my wife understands this about me and knows that there are stretches when I'd rather go down to my writing area and spend time there, writing pen in hand, trying to churn out book
Joe Robles
Mar 30, 2011 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
Alison Livingston
Feb 18, 2010 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 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
Dec 17, 2008 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?
Dec 22, 2011 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
1st book for 2019.

A classic introvert in psychology is someone who is relatively sensitive to external stimuli and therefore seeks more peaceful surroundings, in contrast to their more party loving and relatively non-sensitive extrovert cousins who need an extra jolt to get up to speed.

Rufus's book is not about introverts. It's also not about anti-social people. It's not about outcasts. Or misfits who don't have any friends because no one likes them. It's about loners. It's about people who sim
Martin Mulcahey
Mar 20, 2011 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
Shelly Blom
Jan 05, 2013 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 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
Cathy Douglas
Jan 25, 2009 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. ...more
Apr 04, 2009 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 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 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
Nov 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
I prefer not to give this one a rating. I could not get past the first few chapters. Although I consider myself an introvert and a loner because I like solitude, I find the arguments too one-sided. I thought this would be a book I could relate to and learn something from (like Susan Cain's Quiet) but it's not. It turned my mind to mush while I read. I can't continue. ...more
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Not great. It certainly is a manifesto, and not really the non-fiction book I was expecting. I wanted there to be more than anecdotal evidence and strangely-drawn conclusions. There was too much "Us vs. Them" for me to take it seriously, let alone enjoy it. ...more
Jul 19, 2007 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
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
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
The author goes through the common misconceptions of what a true loner is and means. she goes into the difference of what a loner is and a pseudo-loner is and how the media, law enforcement and other legal bodies have misconstrued the difference. Individuals like the Uni-bomber and the teenagers that shot up Columbine are actually pseudo-loners who are seeking attention. True loner don't seek attention and tend to like being left alone. I really enjoyed this book and was happy to see someone dis ...more
Jan 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If you're a loner, this is definitely a must read. It's flippin' fantastic. ...more
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
I'd hoped to enjoy this book more, but upon finishing realize there are better books out there on introversion. This one came with enough baggage and snark in its delivery it's no wonder "loners" get a bad name and reputation and are left being misunderstood.
One can happily maintain one's need for solitude, unapologetically, while not so angrily.
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
Mar 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Arnie Kozak
May 20, 2015 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
Mar 02, 2010 rated it did not like it
i don't know if i'd call myself a loner exactly, but i'm definitely comfortable in my own company and spend a fair amount of time alone, willingly and with pleasure. this book looked like it might have some interesting or amusing insights, but instead it was rather boring, its tone wavered between defensive and pretentious, and i don't think she had anything interesting to say on the subject.

oh, except that if you are a loner with no friends, you are obviously deeper, smarter and cooler than al
Sep 13, 2007 rated it it was ok
Interesting premise, but ultimately annoying. Could have been an in-depth analysis of the solitary sort of person, but instead it's a bunch of laundry lists of loners in various jobs, loners who are unfairly maligned, loners who ought to be recognized and honored for their specialness, rather than excoriated by the great touchy-feely mob. This book made me weary and irritable, and want to be alone forever. ...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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One of the great pleasures of historical fiction is the time-travel element. In the hands of a skilled author, works of historical fiction can...
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“The loner who looks fabulous is one of the most vulnerable loners of all.” 194 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.” 61 likes
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