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#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
About the Author
Named one of the top ten influencers in the world by LinkedIn, Susan Cain is a renowned speaker and author of the award-winning books Quiet Power, Quiet Journal, and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Translated into more than forty languages, Quiet has appeared on many best-of lists, spent more than seven years on the New York Times bestseller list, and was named the #1 best book of the year by Fast Company, which also named Cain one of its Most Creative People in Business. Her TED Talk on the power of introverts has been viewed over forty million times.
“A thoughtful examination of the melancholic disposition . . . a unique blend of psychology, biography, spirituality, musical references and pop culture. For those feeling sorrowful or dealing with a loss, the idea of transforming pain into creativity, transcendence and love is a compelling one. Cain does an excellent job of using research, case studies and personal stories to justify her argument. It is a unique view in a culture that tends to medicate strong feelings rather than welcome them.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Bittersweet is astonishing—one of the most gracefully written, palpably human books I’ve read in years. Its powerful case will reshape how you think about yourself and those you love. Its sheer beauty will linger in your heart long after you turn the final page.”—Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times bestselling author of When, Drive, and A Whole New Mind
“Susan Cain does it again! As the author of the worldwide phenomenon Quiet, she changed how the world sees introverts. Now she has written a book that will change how the world sees sorrow and longing. This book is an absolute triumph: It’s for anyone who has ever really lived, loved, or lost.”—Greg McKeown, host of the What’s Essential podcast and the author of the New York Times bestsellers Effortless and Essentialism
“Susan Cain’s Bittersweet grabs you by the heart and doesn’t let go. I’ve thought about the depth and beauty in Cain’s research and storytelling every day since I finished the book. I will always be grateful for how much Quiet and Bittersweet have helped me understand myself and how I engage with the world.”—Brené Brown, Ph.D., author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Atlas of the Heart
“A decade ago, I found myself inside Quiet. With Bittersweet, Susan Cain has described and validated my existence once again! Her new book reaffirms that my constant, achy awareness of life’s brutiful is a way of being shared across the ages with artists, healers, and anyone who pays deep attention. I’ll place Bittersweet in the hands of all my feely, achy, beautiful friends.”—Glennon Doyle, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Untamed and founder and president of Together Rising
“This is the rare book that doesn’t just open your eyes—it touches your heart and sings to your soul. Susan Cain gave a voice to introverts, and now she masterfully paints our heaviest emotions in a light that’s long overdue. Bittersweet is the perfect cure for toxic positivity and a sparkling ode to the beauty of the human condition.”—Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again