Going Solo Book Summary - Going Solo Book explained in key points
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Going Solo summary

Eric Klinenberg

The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone

3.5 (219 ratings)
11 mins

Brief summary

Going Solo by Eric Klinenberg explores the rise of the single-person household. It highlights the benefits and drawbacks of living alone and how it affects society.

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    Going Solo
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    The number of adults living alone, or “going solo” has increased dramatically since 1950.

    During the first half of the twentieth century, few Americans would have thought that so many people would be happily alone just a few decades later. Nowadays, around 50 percent of all US citizens are single, thanks to important shifts in the structure of the world.

    One of the biggest reasons that more people are going solo is that women now play a much larger role in the workforce. Incredibly, between  1950 and 2000, the amount of working women in America increased from 18 million to 66 million!

    In the 1950s and 1960s, a woman’s role was essentially to stay at home and raise her family. It was exceedingly uncommon for a woman to have a career or even to earn her own money.

    During this period, divorce was also a rarity. In part, this was because it was frowned upon socially, but it was also because most women didn’t earn enough to support themselves financially.

    As greater numbers of women began entering the job market and attaining financial independence along with a higher standing in society, the control that they had over their lives increased as well. In turn, the number of adults who lived by themselves rose.

    Another key enabler is technological. After all, in the modern world, the proliferation of home communication technology prevents people from feeling lonely, even when there’s nobody else around. This is a big change from the early days of going solo when the landline telephone and television were the key devices used to shake off loneliness.

    Today, we’re all so connected via social media and the internet that we feel like we’re socializing even when we’re at home by ourselves. And even if we do feel lonely, we have the comfort of knowing that our friends and family, not to mention the rest of the world, are a mere click away.

    But beyond women climbing the career ladder and technology changing our lives, a number of other factors have influenced the move toward single living. Next up we’ll learn how population shifts to urban centers have also promoted this change.

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    What is Going Solo about?

    Going Solo (2012) explains the sociological factors that have led so many adults to live on their own. These blinks detail the history of solo living, describe the benefits of choosing such a lifestyle and explore the different conditions under which solo adults live.

    Going Solo Review

    Going Solo (2012) explores the rising trend of people living alone and the implications it has on society. Here's why we recommend this book:

    • Rich with research and interviews, the book provides a deep understanding of the reasons behind the increase in solo living and the impact it has on people's lives.
    • Through personal stories and statistics, the author sheds light on the benefits and challenges that come with living alone, making it an intriguing exploration of modern living.
    • With its thought-provoking insights and engaging narrative, the book keeps readers captivated, challenging common assumptions about the meaning of home and relationships.

    Best quote from Going Solo

    Today, 31 million adults in the United States are living alone.

    —Eric Klinenberg
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    Who should read Going Solo?

    • Sociology students
    • Newly single people
    • Bachelors and bachelorettes everywhere

    About the Author

    Eric Klinenberg is a sociologist and contributor to, among other publications, the New Yorker, Time magazine and the New York Times. He is a professor of sociology and the director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. His other titles include Heatwave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago.

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    Going Solo FAQs 

    What is the main message of Going Solo?

    The main message of Going Solo is the rise of the solo-dweller and its impact on society.

    How long does it take to read Going Solo?

    The reading time for Going Solo varies, but it can be read in a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Going Solo a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Going Solo is worth reading for its insightful exploration of the solo lifestyle and its effects on society.

    Who is the author of Going Solo?

    Eric Klinenberg is the author of Going Solo.

    What to read after Going Solo?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Going Solo, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Art of Living Alone and Loving It by Jane Mathews
    • Sex for One by Betty Dodson
    • A Biography of Loneliness by Fay Bound Alberti
    • Vagabonding by Rolf Potts
    • How to Be Alone by Sara Maitland
    • Deeper Dating by Ken Page
    • Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown
    • One Decision by Mike Bayer
    • Weird by Olga Khazan
    • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight