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The End Of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost In A World Of Cons, The

Category: Book
By (author): Harris, Michael
Subject:  SOCIAL SCIENCE / General
  SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: May 2015
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 8.00in x 5.31in x 0.57in
Our Price:
$ 19.99
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

Only one generation in history (ours) will experience life both with and without the Internet. For everyone who follows us, online life will simply be the air they breathe. Today, we revel in ubiquitous information and constant connection, rarely stopping to consider the implications for our logged-on lives.

Michael Harris chronicles this massive shift, exploring what we've gained-and lost-in the bargain. In this eloquent and thought-provoking book, Harris argues that our greatest loss has been that of absence itself-of silence, wonder and solitude. It's a surprisingly precious commodity, and one we have less of every year. Drawing on a vast trove of research and scores of interviews with global experts, Harris explores this "loss of lack" in chapters devoted to every corner of our lives, from sex and commerce to memory and attention span. The book's message is urgent: once we've lost the gift of absence, we may never remember its value.

Review Quote*

Praise for The End of Absence

WINNER of the Governor General's Literary Award for Non-Fiction 2014

Longlisted for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction

"An excellent book I read in almost one sitting...The End of Absence is a salute to solitude." - Fast Company

"So engrossing I rarely stopped to check my phone... Compelling prose and emotional intelligence."-The Globe & Mail

"A thought-provoking cri de Coeur." -Toronto Star

"Harris writes in an elegant, accessible and often hilarious way."- Chicago Tribune

"To pull away from our hyperconnected lives is painful; it is hard, and it is a muddle. Harris walks us through his particular muddle with wit, wry honesty, and compassion for the "strange suffering" of all who find themselves checking email at the dinner table."- Christian Science Monitor

"His far-ranging research provides a wealth of thought-provoking statistics and details, and The End of Absence has a kinetic energy well-matched to our jumpy attention spans."- The Washington Post

"Mr Harris combs through what remains of our pre-internet lives, separating the things we will carry forward into the connected world from the worthy things we may leave behind."-The Economist

"A fascinating assessment of this moment we inhabit... an illuminating, worthy reckoning of our disjointed, digital life." -Associated Press

"Harris' core argument regarding the values of technological disengagement feels valid, and his prose is graceful.... A thoughtful addition to the bookshelf addressing the unintended consequences of a wired world." -Kirkus Reviews

"Fascinating ... should be required reading for anyone born before 1985." -Guardian

"Harris is a smooth writer and a smart critic about what we've lost in today's technology...It should be passed out in Brooklyn, seriously."- Flavorwire

"This is a lovely, direct and beautifully written book that will make you feel good about living in the times we do. Michael Harris is honest in a way I find increasingly rare: clear, truthful and free of vexation. A true must-read." -Douglas Coupland, author of Generation X and Worst. Person. Ever.

"Everybody over sixty should read this book. The rest of the population will need no urging, unless they are too far gone to read anything longer than a blurb. The first part reads like a horror story, a shocking mind-thriller. In the second half the author, despite real foreboding, demonstrates in his own person that all is far from lost. Relief, after much learning." -Margaret Visser, author of Much Depends on Dinner

"Harris has caught, with brilliant fidelity and incisiveness, a hinge-point in modern history: Before and After the Digital Rapture. The End of Absence deserves a place alongside Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death and Sherry Turkle's Life on the Screen. A great, important (and fun) read. I couldn't in good conscience lend out my copy: every other page is dog-eared." -Bruce Grierson, author of What Makes Olga Run?

"The End of Absence is one of those rare books that change how you think about your own existence. It's wise, humane and full of original insights about life in the crazy/beautiful connected world we've built for ourselves. I read it with pen in hand, underlining the whole way." -William Powers, author of Hamlet's Blackberry

"Michael Harris has written an important book for our information-overloaded times of ironic hashtag conversations and idealized online avatars. The End of Absence is a forceful, insightful and ultimately human reminder to us all that information is not wisdom, that speed is not depth, that in the pauses of solitude come authenticity and surprise, and that the empty spaces we so desperately and busily have sought to fill in, as he writes, never were so barren after all." -Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed, Washington Post staff writer, New America Foundation fellow

"We are at a singular moment, where information, once scarce, is suddenly ubiquitous. Michael Harris asks what this moment means, and answers with insight, humour, and great humanity. A must read for anyone curious about how the digital revolution is changing our culture and ourselves." -Nora Young, host of CBC's Spark, author of The Virtual Self

"The End of Absence is an extraordinary chronicle for an extraordinary time, a moment when humanity went from dropping out to turning on 24/7. Michael Harris is here to remind future generations of what it's like to miss nothing - literally nothing - and in so doing, he examines what we've lost and what we've gained (and what hasn't changed) in a world where Google is our new collective memory, Wikipedia is the final arbiter of facts, and all sorts of gratification are a mere click away. This is the rare kind of book that will change the way you see the world." -Arjun Basu, author of Waiting for the Man

"The End of Absence is a beautifully written and surprisingly rousing book. Michael Harris scans the flotsam of our everyday, tech-addled lives and pulls it all together to create a convincing new way to talk about our relationship with the Internet. He has taken the vague technological anxiety we all live with and shaped in into a bold call for action." -Steven Galloway, author of The Confabulist and The Cellist of Sarajevo

"In this thoughtful, well-written book, Michael Harris combines personal narrative with the views of experts to show us that the digital revolution that envelops us contains traps that can lead us to understand less even as we seem to know more." -Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice and Practical Wisdom

"The End of Absence offers a deeply compelling perspective that forces us to acknowledge an uncomfortable truth: ours is the last generation that will have known a pre-digital world. Michael Harris's provocative book tells us why that matters and encourages us to be more thoughtful as we prepare for the future." -Amy Webb, author of Data, A Love Story

"The favourite childhood memory of most parents today is of playing outside all day, their parents knowing only that they'd be back when the streetlights came on. That kind of freedom-that kind of absence-is gone. It's not nostalgia to ask what went with it. It's crucial. Harris does. -Lenore Skenazy, author of the book and blog Free-Range Kids

"Harris stirs history, technology, philosophy and personal memoir into a bittersweet narrative. Put down your damn phone, read this book, and remember what you've lost-and what you can regain by embracing the analog truth of your soul."- Charles Montgomery, author of Happy City