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Noreena Hertz talks to Hugh Muir

The Lonely Century: Coming Together in a World That's Pulling Apart

Winter Weekend 2020, 

Loneliness is as bad for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day

Almost half of those who work in offices don’t have a single friend at their job.

Even before a global pandemic introduced us to terms such as social distancing, loneliness was well on its way to becoming the defining condition of the 21st century. Combining a decade of research with first-hand reporting, Noreena Hertz takes us from ‘renting a friend’ in New York to Belgian far-right festivals replete with face-painting and bouncy castles, from elderly women knitting bonnets for their robot caregivers in Japan to isolated remote workers in London during lockdown. Offering bold solutions ranging from compassionate AI to innovative models for urban living, to new ways of reinvigorating our neighbourhoods, The Lonely Century offers a hopeful and empowering vision for how to heal our fractured communities and restore connection in our lives.

Described as ‘one of the world’s most inspiring women’ by Vogue Magazine and ‘one of the world’s leading thinkers’ by the Observer, Noreena Hertz is a renowned thought leader, academic and broadcaster. Her books, The Silent Takeover, I.O.U. and Eyes Wide Open, are published in more than 20 countries.

Hugh Muir is a Senior Assistant Editor at the Guardian. He also writes columns on politics, race, social policy and policing.

Noreena Hertz talks to Hugh Muir