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“Loneliness increases the risk of heart disease by 29%, the risk of stroke by 32% and the risk of clinical dementia by 64%. For those who are single or socially isolated, the risk of premature death is 30% higher, “says researcher and economist Noreena Hertz in The Century of Loneliness (Humanitas Publishing House, 2021, translated by Simona-Maria Onciu). It’s just a small example from a book that’s even scarier than it sounds. A former professor at Cambridge and now at University College London and author of more than 20 languages, Noreena Hertz talks here about an epidemic of loneliness that has plagued the world since before the pandemic. Combining fieldwork with statistics, Hertz looks at how neoliberalism, public policy, technology addiction, and more recently the pandemic have made us more isolated than ever. However, the book is not entirely pessimistic, as its subtitle shows: “A plea for interpersonal relationships.” We talked about all this, but also about the connection between populism and loneliness, with Noreena Hertz in a meeting via Zoom.