On Belonging by Kim Samuel

In an age of social, economic, and ecological disconnection, what does it mean to belong?

Humanity is at an inflection point. Stress, disconnection, and environmental degradation have people yearning for more than just material progress, personal freedom, or political stability. We are searching for deeper connection. We are longing to belong.

On Belonging: Finding Connection in an Age of Isolation is an exploration of the crisis of social isolation, and of the fundamental human need to belong. It considers belonging across four core dimensions: in our relationships with other people, in our rootedness in nature, in our ability to influence political and economic decision-making, and in our finding of meaning and purpose in our lives, with lessons on how to create communities centered on human connection.

A trailblazing advocate and thought-leader on questions of social connectedness around the world, Kim Samuel introduces readers to leaders around the world who are doing the work to cultivate belonging. Whether through sports, medicine, music, business, culture, or advocacy, the people and programs in this book offer us meaningful lessons on building a world where we all feel at home.


“Drawing on a stunning array of conversations, Samuel has written an important book that shows a path to a more connected future.”
— Mary Jordan, Pulitzer Prize winner and Washington Post correspondent

“Find inspiration and even hope right here!”
— Annie Lennox, singer-songwriter and global feminist activist

“We can’t live without human connection. This book shows how we can all overcome the disconnection and reawaken the beauty. Read this book, y’awl!”
— Quincy Jones, legendary recording artist

“In this important book, Kim Samuel explores how we can find greater emotional, intellectual, ecological, and spiritual connectedness. There’s no human being alive who does not have a wealth of gifts to give. On Belonging shows how we can help every person know their worth and share what they have to give. It reveals how we can realize our right to belong.”
— Graça Machel, founder, Graça Machel Trust and former First Lady of South Africa and Mozambique

“How do we overcome the division and despair that threaten to consume us? Kim Samuel offers a powerful answer: We need to build experiences and institutions of belonging. In this timely, warm, and persuasive book, she shares stories and solutions for reclaiming common purpose and authentic connection. On Belonging is essential reading for anyone who wants to imagine and build a more inclusive future.”
— Timothy Shriver, chairman of Special Olympics and cofounder of CASEL

“As we step gently together toward a future that contains a great deal of uncertainty - from the climate crisis, to the ever-changing political landscape - the need to belong feels more important than ever. In this book, Kim Samuel brings together interviews with an incredible group of humans, all coming from different places but who collectively strive to come together in meaningful ways.”
— Kluane Adamek, Yukon Regional Chief, Assembly of First Nations, Canada

“Kim Samuel has dedicated her entire life to ending isolation. Now with her lucidly written new book, On Belonging, she is showing the world that the keys to happiness are not ego-driven isolation or artificially imposed divisions, but mutuality, reciprocity, and relationships. On Belonging is a book urgently needed to heal the wounds caused by isolation and separation. Either we swim together or we sink together. Kim Samuel’s voice is a voice of wisdom, love, and compassion, and this is one of the most important and timely books of the year.”
— Satish Kumar, editor emeritus, Resurgence & Ecologist

“This compassionate journalistic treatise on building more inclusive communities hits the mark.”
— Publishers Weekly

“Through powerful storytelling and analysis, this book helps us turn our focus to what really matters.”
— Wade Davis, Explorer and Bestselling Author

“This is an important book, both for describing a problem that is fundamental yet often neglected, and for proposing meaningful and effective solutions.”
— Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch