How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole


Brought to you by Penguin.


In this inspiring masterpiece, bestselling author Susan Cain shows the power of "bittersweetness" - a tendency toward sorrow and longing, an acute awareness of passing time, and a piercing joy when beholding beauty. But what are the powers of a bittersweet, melancholic outlook? she asks. And why has our culture been so blind to its value?

Bittersweetness recognizes that light and dark, birth and death - bitter and sweet - are forever paired. As Bittersweet shows, our obsession with happiness is not making us happy, healthy, or whole. It's only by embracing our darker emotions - as well as the light - that we discover our deepest meaning and connection, love and joy. It can change the way we work, the way we create and the way we love - for it is the hidden source of our love stories, moonshots and masterpieces.

With over 4 million copies sold worldwide, Susan Cain's Quiet explored the quiet riches of the introverted half of the population. In Bittersweet, Cain employs the same mix of research, storytelling, and memoir. Following a trail of centuries-old artistic and wisdom traditions as well as contemporary psychology and management research, and reflecting on the emotional shifts of recent times, Cain reveals how bittersweetness is the key to leading a full and satisfying life. Using examples ranging from music and cinema to parenting and business, she shows how understanding bittersweetness will allow us to weather life's transitions; yet, until now, its power has been hiding in plain sight.

At a time of profound discord and personal anxiety, Bittersweet brings us together in deep and unexpected ways. Most of all, it shows us how to transform our personal and collective pain into creativity, transcendence, and connection.

© Susan Cain 2022 (P) Penguin Audio 2022


  • I'll place Bittersweet in the hands of all my feely, achy, beautiful friends
    Glennon Doyle, author of #1 NYT bestseller Untamed

About the author

Susan Cain

Susan Cain is the author of the Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can't Stop Talking, which has sold over 2 million copies and been translated into more than 30 languages. Since her 2012 TED talk was posted online it has been viewed over 40 million times. Her writing on introversion and shyness has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, Oprah magazine and Psychology Today. Cain has spoken at the Royal Society of Arts, Microsoft and Google, and has appeared on the BBC, CBS and NPR. Her work has been featured on the cover of Time, in the Daily Mail, the FT, the Atlantic, GQ, Grazia, the New Yorker, Wired, Fast Company, Fortune, Forbes, USA Today, the Washington Post, CNN and She is an honours graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School. She lives in the Hudson River Valley with her husband and two sons.
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