Campfire Conversations with Noreena Hertz

Words by your host, Ben Keene.

From renting a friend to Tokyo pensioners choosing to shop-lift to find friendship in prison, Noreena Hertz is an expert guide on her round-the-world journey to understand why we’re living in the loneliest century of humanity’s existence.

Thankfully she shows us how we can rebuild human connection.
Clue: it’s in the eyes.

The most timely book of the year.

Meeting Noreena was 20 years in the making. As an idealistic student, I’d read her early books – ‘The Silent Takeover‘ and ‘IOU: The Debt Threat‘.

After discovering that Noreena’s latest area of deep study was on social isolation, it seemed like the ideal time to see if she would like to join us around the campfire and share what she had learnt about how we can bring people together.

Catch up on our inspiring conversation below…

What’s so great about The Lonely Century is the range of experiences and studies Noreena explores, to understand why the problem is so great and what we can do about it. Talking to her in person I felt both sadness and hope.

The reality is that we are living in a time of real isolation – mentally, socially and politically – that’s as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, but as Noreena discovers, there is a huge amount of work being done to combat it.

Why? Because we are social animals and if we become more lonely we simply won’t survive.

Thank you so much to Noreena for joining us at our Campfire and inspiring us with solutions and personal actions we can take to confront this issue.

Grab a copy of ‘The Lonely Century’ here to support indie books shops, and join the ‘Coming Together‘ revolution!


Our next Campfire is with Nanaja Nyabola, author of ‘Travelling While Black: Essays Inspired by a Life on the Move’

Our next event in our Campfire Conversations series is next Tuesday 19th January at 7pm (GMT). We’re delighted to be welcoming Nanjala Nyabola to talk about her book, ‘Travelling While Black: Essays Inspired by a Life on The Move‘.

Nanjala Nyabola is a writer and political analyst based in Nairobi, Kenya. Her work focuses on the intersection between technology and politics, as well as migration and human mobility. A constant traveller, at the time of writing she has visited over seventy countries across four continents… From Nepal to Botswana, Sicily to Haiti, New York to Nairobi, her sharp, humane essays ask tough questions and offer surprising, deeply shocking and sometimes funny answers. It is time we saw the world through her eyes.

Pick up a copy ahead of our next Campfire on Tuesday 19th January.

Our Campfires are FREE to join.

Sign up here and please feel free to share with friends and family!

‘In the great tradition of Said, Orwell and Bessie Head, Nyabola’s is a profound, gripping and beautiful book of undeniable genius on exile, migration and travel in our catastrophic times. It speaks to all those committed to truth and justice.’

— Cornel West, author of Race Matters and Professor of the Public Practice of Philosophy, Harvard University

NOT YOUR AVERAGE BOOK CLUB