Demographic trends analyst Cheryl Russell predicts that single-person households will become the most common household type in the United States by the year 2005. This is a major lifestyle shift in American history, one that interests Lionel Fisher. He is a great believer in solitude himself, having spent six years alone on a Pacific Northwest beach. Then he took off on a 15,000 mile journey to 15 states interviewing men and women on their own in a variety of settings across the United States.

Anyone who is single has felt the sting of being an outsider. Or as Fisher puts it: "We've even coined a word for those who prefer to be by themselves: anti-social, as if they were enemies of society. They are viewed as friendless, suspect in a world that goes around in twos or more."

Fisher calls individuals who like being alone hermits. They relish their solitude as an opportunity to find their own path. They no longer feel the need to find their worth in the evaluations of others. They admit that they don't enjoy being with others as much as they savor time alone.

Fisher shows how these men and women are handling time, sexuality, regrets, simplicity, and more. They see themselves as works-in-progress and are not worried about what others may think. Fisher concludes: "There are gifts we can only give ourselves, lessons no one else can teach us, triumphs we must achieve alone."