Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, by Eric Klinenberg, Duckworth, RRP£16.99, 273 pages
From the Bible to the penal system, we have long regarded solitude as unnatural and undesirable. Yet over the past 50 years there has been a rise in solo residence, with more than a quarter of US households now occupied by one person.
In Going Solo, Klinenberg, a professor of sociology at New York University, seeks to debunk the myth that we are facing a global epidemic of isolation. His exploration of cultural and economic forces is interspersed with case studies of twentysomethings “delaying adulthood”, middle-aged divorcees and elderly “shut-ins”.
Klinenberg often blurs the distinction between relationship status and living arrangements, while overzealous myth-busting occasionally distorts his own evidence. However, this is a refreshing effort to present both the benefits and challenges of living alone that acknowledges the complex personalities behind the statistics and calls on policy makers to cater to this disparate demographic.
Review by Maria Crawford
Mrs Moneypenny’s Careers Advice for Ambitious Women, by Mrs Moneypenny and Heather McGregor, Portfolio Penguin, RRP£9.99, 320 pages
The FT columnist and TV presenter Mrs Moneypenny is also a business owner and mother of three “cost centres” and in this extremely funny advice book she sets out to show how serious career success is an attainable goal. She provides concrete tips: networking is essential, as is lateral thinking; if you don’t have an invitation to a party that could further your career, crash it by arriving without a coat so it looks as though you’ve just been outside for a cigarette. Genius.
Although a large portion of the book goes into detail about how to advance in finance (and, suggests Mrs Moneypenny, one of the quickest ways to career success in any field is with a formal finance qualification), there is plenty of material for everyone to dive into. This book isn’t just for young women; advice on “resisting the urge to be supermum” is a useful read for guilty working mothers, and Mrs M includes real-life case studies of her friends and contacts to back up her arguments.
Review by Charlie McCann