This is the best book I’ve read all year. Period. It might even qualify as life-altering. Anneli Rufus takes on all of the societal stereotypes about “loners” in this Manifesto, shooting them down one by one. She shows us why enjoying one’s own company does not mean that you’re secretive, guilty, a freak, unfriendly, a people-hater, uncaring, uncompassionate, or lacking in social skills. You simply enjoy the empty spaces in which you can sit, think, and (this is a big emphasis of hers) create. People do not create great works of art or music or technological inventions in the midst of a crowd. It is the loners, she argues, whom we are to thank for the creativity in the world.
Her positive take on being a loner is uplifting and affirming. She is perhaps a bit more strident than I would be in her Manifesto, likening loners to a downtrodden minority akin to what gays and lesbians have suffered through (this is an exaggeration in my experience, but who knows what she’s been through?). I also think that there’s value in the creativity that can occur in partnerships (and possibly even in groups), though I think her point about the majority of creative output coming from solitude is valid.
The sad thing is that I haven’t been able to finish the book! It came due at the library and I had to return it. I’ll have to lie in wait and snap it up again sometime in the future (I had to get on a waiting list last time).