THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER -- FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER QUIET: THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT CAN'T STOP TALKING
In her inspiring new masterpiece, the author of the bestselling phenomenon Quiet describes her powerful quest to understand how love, loss and sorrow make us whole - revealing the power of a bittersweet outlook on life.
Bittersweetness is a tendency towards states of longing, poignancy and sorrow; an acute awareness of passing time; and a curiously piercing joy at the beauty of the world. It recognizes that light and dark, birth and death - bitter and sweet - are forever paired.
If you seek out beauty in your everyday life . . .
If you find comfort or inspiration in a rainy day . . .
If you react intensely to music, art and nature . . .
Then you probably identify with the bittersweet state of mind.
With Quiet, Susan Cain urged our society to cultivate space for the undervalued, indispensable introverts among us, thereby revealing an untapped power hidden in plain sight. Now she employs the same mix of research, storytelling
and memoir to explore how embracing the bittersweetness at the heart of life is the true path to creativity and connection.
Cain shows movingly how a bittersweet state of mind - though we've been blind to its value - is the quiet force that helps us transcend our personal and collective pain. It can change the way we live, the way we work and the way we love. If we realize that all humans know - or will know - loss and suffering, we can turn towards one another.
At a time of profound discord and personal anxiety, Bittersweet brings us together in deep and unexpected ways.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
With her huge self-development hit Quiet, Susan Cain offered persuasive and engrossing arguments for tapping into the creative power of introversion in a world that salutes extroverts. Arriving a decade later, Bittersweet delivers an equally thoughtful meditation on the benefits of embracing sadness at a time when we’re implored to focus on positivity—often toxically so, she argues. Exploring science, philosophy and psychology with a clear-headed and engaging style, Cain reveals the paths to fulfilment and creativity that can be opened up by confronting and harnessing our darker emotions. It begins with a quiz, designed to help you understand how inclined you are towards melancholy, but most affecting are the pages where the author details her own personal traumas and how she’s come to absorb them.
Business consultant Cain (Quiet) returns with an eye-opening take on the underestimated virtues of melancholy. She suggests that bittersweetness "a tendency to states of longing, poignancy, and sorrow; an acute awareness of passing time; and a curiously piercing joy at the beauty of the world" affords the opportunity to channel "pain into creativity, transcendence, and love," as exemplified by musicians and other artists. Cain handily traverses fields as diverse as neuroscience, popular music, religion, and business management to find instances of the transformation of pain and longing into fulfillment: the music of Leonard Cohen, for example, is "a transcendence delivery system," and in Michigan, a hospital billing department's culture of caring for distressed or bereaved employees resulted in collecting bills faster. Though Cain's panoramic scope covers some familiar ground (U.S. culture's "tyranny of positivity" has been critiqued before), this ambitious work impresses in its dexterous integration of disparate thought traditions into a cohesive, moving, and insightful whole. Like a more intuitive Malcolm Gladwell, Cain delivers a deeply felt study of the profound uses of sorrow and melancholy, a perfect manual for coping with tough times. Agent: Richard Pine, InkWell Management