cover image Lonely at the Top: 
The High Cost of Men’s Success

Lonely at the Top: The High Cost of Men’s Success

Thomas Joiner. Palgrave Macmillan, $27 (272p) ISBN 978-0-230-10443-3

Male loneliness is an often overlooked and potentially life-threatening problem that develops as men age, or so posits clinical psychologist Joiner (Why People Die by Suicide; Myths About Suicide). He traces how, across the male lifespan, loneliness can accelerate from one undetected and seemingly benign type to more disruptive and possibly detrimental states. Using examples from studies, literature, and anecdotes from pop culture as well as his own observations of family, specifically his father, who committed suicide, Joiner identifies the main sources of loneliness as males age—including being “interpersonally spoiled” with built-in friendships during one’s youth (despite lack of effort, compared to girls, to maintain connections); excessive valuing of autonomy; excessive fixation on status and money to the point of neglecting connections with others; and, often, simply being late in life. Joiner argues the problem of male loneliness can be solved most successfully by remodeling already inherent behaviors into more adaptive ones. He puts forth down-to-earth and simple yet effective solutions, such as making one phone call every day, reunions, sleep regulation, and connection to nature. Joiner’s well-rounded approach brings attention to a prevalent problem. (Oct.)