#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • Sadness is your superpower. In her new masterpiece, the author of the bestselling phenomenon Quiet explores the power of the bittersweet personality, revealing a misunderstood side of mental health and creativity while offering a roadmap to facing grief in order to live life to the fullest.
“Bittersweet grabs you by the heart and doesn’t let go.”—BRENÉ BROWN, author of Atlas of the Heart
“Susan Cain has described and validated my existence once again!”—GLENNON DOYLE, author of Untamed
“The perfect cure for toxic positivity.”—ADAM GRANT, author of Think Again
LONGLISTED FOR THE PORCHLIGHT BUSINESS BOOK AWARD • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Wall Street Journal, Mashable
Bittersweetness is 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. It recognizes that light and dark, birth and death—bitter and sweet—are forever paired.
If you’ve ever wondered why you like sad music . . .
If you find comfort or inspiration in a rainy day . . .
If you react intensely to music, art, nature, and beauty . . .
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 why we experience sorrow and longing, and how embracing the bittersweetness at the heart of life is the true path to creativity, connection, and transcendence.
Cain shows how a bittersweet state of mind is the quiet force that helps us transcend our personal and collective pain, whether from a death or breakup, addiction or illness. If we don’t acknowledge our own heartache, she says, we can end up inflicting it on others via abuse, domination, or neglect. But if we realize that all humans know—or will know—loss and suffering, we can turn toward one another.
At a time of profound discord and personal anxiety, Bittersweet brings us together in deep and unexpected ways.
*Includes a downloadable PDF containing a Bittersweet quiz from the book
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
When author Susan Cain was in college, she wondered why Leonard Cohen’s saddest songs made her feel so happy and alive. Decades later, she takes a deep dive into why melancholy can feel so right. Cain—the author of the best-selling Quiet, an ode to introversion—uses cutting-edge science, fascinating examples from history, spiritual philosophy, and art criticism to explore how beauty and sadness are inextricably bound. As with Quiet, Bittersweet also has elements of memoir. In one particularly powerful chapter, Cain attends a convention for people seeking the secret to immortality while she mourns the loss of two family members and her mother’s worsening dementia, adding a deeply revealing and personal edge to the intersection of joy and sorrow, especially when it comes to the idea that even good things must end. Cain’s friendly, conversational narration is delightful, making even the headiest passages feel totally understandable. Even if you’re not the melancholy sort yourself, Bittersweet can help everyone embrace occasional wistfulness.
Difficult to listen to
The narrator is difficult to listen to after a few minutes.
What happens when the author narrates their book.
This book was my out breath, the validation of a truth I have known my entire life. Thank you, Susan Cain.
This Book Hit ME HARD
This book reconnected me to my spiritual side in a deeply profound way that didn’t insult or negate my intellect or compromise what I know to be true about the harsh realities of life. This book was a spiritual encounter for me. Thank you Susan Cain!