Going Solo

  • by Eric Klinenberg
  • Narrated by Patrick Lawlor
  • 8 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A revelatory examination of the most significant demographic shift since the baby boom—the sharp increase in the number of people who live alone—that offers surprising insights on the benefits of this epochal change.
Renowned sociologist and author Eric Klinenberg explores the dramatic rise of solo living and examines the seismic impact it’s having on our culture, business, and politics. Conventional wisdom tells us that living by oneself leads to loneliness and isolation, but, as Klinenberg shows, most solo dwellers are deeply engaged in social and civic life. In fact, compared with their married counterparts, they are more likely to eat out and exercise, go to art and music classes, attend public events and lectures, and volunteer. There’s even evidence that people who live alone enjoy better mental health than unmarried people who live with others and have more environmentally sustainable lifestyles than families, since they favor urban apartments over large suburban homes.
It is now more common for an American adult to live alone than with family or a roommate, and Klinenberg analyzes the challenges and opportunities these people face: young professionals who pay higher rent for the freedom and privacy of their own apartments; singles in their 30s and 40s who refuse to compromise their career or lifestyle for an unsatisfying partner; divorced men and women who no longer believe that marriage is a reliable source of happiness or stability; and the elderly, most of whom prefer living by themselves to living with friends or their children. Living alone is more the rule than the exception in places like Manhattan, half of whose residents live by themselves, and many of America’s largest cities, where more than a third of the population does.
Drawing on over 300 interviews with men and women of all ages and every class who live alone, Klinenberg reaches a startling conclusion: In a world of ubiquitous media and hyperconnectivity, this way of life helps us discover ourselves and appreciate the pleasure of good company.
With eye-opening statistics, original data, and vivid portraits of people who go solo, Klinenberg upends the conventional wisdom to deliver the definitive take on how the rise of living alone is transforming the American experience. Going Solo is a powerful—and necessary—assessment of an unprecedented social change.


What the Critics Say

“Klinenberg takes an optimist’s look at how society could make sure singles—young and old, rich and poor—can make the connections that support them in their living spaces and beyond.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Compelling…With articles in the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Slate and appearances on the radio program This American Life, Klinenberg is at ease in both scholarly and popular milieus, and his book is recommended for libraries and individuals in both worlds.” (Library Journal)
“An optimistic look at shifting social priorities that need not threaten our fundamental values.” (Kirkus Reviews)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Interesting content

I found the content interesting and fairly well-balanced. Still, you can't help but get the impression that the author is disapproving or pessimistic about those who live alone. Probably the most distracting features were his detailed physical descriptions of the females he interviewed yet very brief descriptions of the men. What difference does it make what those folks looked like, and why the need to be so unbalanced about it anyway?

The performance left something to be desired. Overall, this book was clearly read with good inflection etc. However, I found the performer to be a bit over the top and stereotyped in his attempt at accents to differentiate when reading quotes. In particular, his attempt at vocalizing as an older African American female was downright cringe-worthy. Also, I have never heard anyone pronounce the acronym AARP as a single word before, and it was amusing and annoying to have him continually repeat "arp, arp" instead of the letters A.A.R.P.

Minor criticisms that should not prevent others from getting some good info out of this book, however.
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- Joanie C

Wall of Statistics Hits You for 30,000,000 Damage

What would have made Going Solo better?

"Going Solo" is similar to the narrative non-fiction of books like "Freakonomics" or Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tipping Point". "Going Solo" could have been an amazingly fascinating read, but it runs into a little trouble in the statistics department. Specifically, there are too many, too much, way way overkill. "Going Solo" doesn't just give you facts and data, it pretty much molds them into a mallet and smacks you upside the face with them....repeatedly...until you can not even remember once having had cheekbones.

If you are the sort of person who enjoys reading spreadsheets, company profiles, quarterly earnings statements, and maybe a few medical dictionaries, then this book is for you! If you like a little story with your data, then skip this one, it's a hardcore snoozer.

If you can overlook 90% of the book and still retain the basic underlying message, then it's a pretty interesting read! Even so....STILL A SNOOZER.

Would you ever listen to anything by Eric Klinenberg again?

The narrator did an awesome job adding tone and inflection to a very data oriented read. I'd definitely listen to this fella again.

Which scene was your favorite?

The scene where I was listening to "Going Solo" on my headphones, fell asleep for an hour, woke up and realized the narrator was still on the same set of statistics!!! Talk about soap opera for analysts!

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The statistics the book has collected paint a very enlightening picture of the ways in which world views are changing to destigmatize a life without marriage. It's a story that could be told in one chapter with the remaining 272 pages being an appendix of supporting statistics...but it's still an interesting message.

Any additional comments?

Think about getting this book in some sort of written format, it's probably easier to skim over the endless pages of statistics to get to the good parts.

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- DrowsyKitten "Growing up in the Pacific Northwest I am enamored with trees, rain, and floor to ceiling greenery. I've always been an avid reader, but have found I really enjoy the multitasking potential of audio books. I can enjoy walking around in the woods with my puppy while absorbing a book at the same time! The books I enjoy most tend to be narrative non-fiction, science fiction, and historical fiction/non-fiction."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-02-2012
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.