I sat down to interview Dr. Sam Carr, where we dived deeply into his extensive career in psychology, focusing on the experiences of loneliness, grief, and other lesser known aspects of human existence. During his journey from academic writing to more public-facing outputs, Sam began to develop the ideas which led to his new book, All the Lonely People. In this debut, Sam explores loneliness through a collection of personal and observed stories.

This interview covers Sam's reflections on the process of writing and publishing the book, his motivations, and the importance of sharing personal stories to combat loneliness, offering a compelling narrative on the human condition.

Sam's journey underscores the power of writing as a tool for personal and collective healing, inviting readers to reflect on and write about their own experiences and knowledge. By sharing our stories, we offer understanding, empathy, and support to those around us.

You can find All the Lonely People from March 28, 2024 in major book stores and audiobook platforms.

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Who is Sam Carr? How did your career begin and get to where it is?

I've been an academic for most of my working life, nearly 25 years. If you stay in psychology for long enough, you drift into all kinds of different places. I began in experimental psychology and drifted into what many people think of as the "darker sides" of what it means to be human: death, loneliness, and grief. But I've always been driven by a fascination of what it means to be human.

In the last 5 years or so, I began to move from being only in the academic domain into more public facing writing. Some studies I've done caught media attention a bit more. I've found it to be a much more rewarding way of writing.

Would you encourage other academics to explore more accessible forms of writing?

Often in academia, you're writing in a very particular way to a very particular audience. But when you decode a lot of the stuff we're thinking about in academia, the real joy is that everyone gets it. Everyone begins to think, "yeah, that describes me and my family... when my dog died". You can see the obvious reason for wanting for the existence of platforms that are designed to bring the sorts of things that academia holds to everybody.

Academia can also often feel like you're playing a game or a performative job. When you're writing for everyone, I've found it quite therapeutic and more connecting.