• Bittersweet

  • How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole
  • By: Susan Cain
  • Narrated by: Susan Cain
  • Length: 7 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (1,254 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Bittersweet  By  cover art

Bittersweet

By: Susan Cain
Narrated by: Susan Cain
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $16.72

Buy for $16.72

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

In her new masterpiece, the author of the bestselling phenomenon Quiet reveals the power of a bittersweet outlook on life, and why we’ve been so blind to its value.

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

“A sparkling ode to the beauty of the human condition.”—ADAM GRANT, author of Think Again 

ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022—Oprah Daily, BookPage

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. 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

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2022 Random House (P)2022 Random House Audio

Interview: Susan Cain on Why It’s Good to Feel Sad

'Follow your longing where it's telling you to go.'
-0.00
  • Bittersweet
  • 'Follow your longing where it's telling you to go.'

Editor's Pick

Why it’s good to feel sad
In a culture that is so focused on staying positive and being productive, we’ve lost sight of the benefits of the other side of our emotional spectrum. Sadness and longing, Susan Cain argues, are the emotions that make us the most human. These emotions make us reach out to others for connection. Also, no person goes through life without loss, and so we must learn to embrace that loss and see that it allows us to experience the beauty of the world more deeply. Think about it: when listening to sad music or a sad story, do you ever get that feeling in your chest that is sadness, yes, but also a little bit like joy, or an overwhelming awe at the beauty of it all? This is the bittersweet tradition, and as a melancholic person myself, listening to Bittersweet has freed me to be kind to my sadness. Just as Cain armed and empowered the introverts of the world with Quiet, she is now giving melancholics the tools we need to embrace our underappreciated emotions in Bittersweet. —Melissa B., Audible Editor

What listeners say about Bittersweet

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,028
  • 4 Stars
    163
  • 3 Stars
    46
  • 2 Stars
    14
  • 1 Stars
    3
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    926
  • 4 Stars
    120
  • 3 Stars
    25
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    861
  • 4 Stars
    152
  • 3 Stars
    35
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A guide for your moments

Seldom does a writer peel away the layers of their life is such a poetic and profound way as Ms.Cain.
If you’re under 50, this narrative may help to refocus intention. If you’re older, as I am, you may find this to be helpful to sharpen and realign the time you have left. And, if your essence is “bitter sweet”, you will be very grateful.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I disagree

But who cares what I think. This is a well thought out book that gave me lots to think about. It challenges what I see as important I now ask myself better questions in my own searching.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

I REALLY wanted to love this book!

I love Susan Cain, love her. I parented my children differently after “Quiet”. I even did a deep-dive into introversion and taught differently after reading “Quiet”.
So when I heard she wrote a new book-based on my past experience and love for SC-I pre-ordered the book. I also bought a copy for a friend who is moving and signed the copy, before reading the book!
I hate to say it, but it was a disappointment.

It was hard to follow, so many quotes and stats from others along with painful descriptions of what they look like, what they were wearing and even the color of heir lipstick. It was massively distracting to the topic.
When she mentioned NOT fact checking the stories people told, as a teacher I found this upsetting. We are trying so hard to get people/students to cite evidence and sources. This falls into story telling, anecdotal, not scholarship.
I kept waiting for her to organize the topics and chapters into something we could understand. It was rambling and didn’t happen.

I will say I believe in bittersweet and use the Japanese idiom of wabi-sabi (bitter and sweet at the same time) frequently. We just had our most communal, world-wide opportunity to discuss bittersweet from the COVID-19 pandemic, yet it wasn’t mentioned until the end section in reference to her brother and father dying from COVID-19. That is a huge bombshell, that would have been an excellent opportunity to connect her tragic loss with bittersweet. I felt like I was hearing her personal stories from a third party.

My last comment, many of the stories she gathered were from elite Ivy League institutions, their bittersweet experiences seemed out of touch and privileged.

Susan Cain had a lovey discussion with Brenè Brown on “Unlocking Us”. Listen to the podcast and skip the book.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Life changing

Truly a beautiful read that will shift your perspective on melancholic nature, the impermanence of being human... This book will create a sense of deep understanding and awe (even devotion) for the bittersweetness of life.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

loved everything about this book!

Original and thought provoking! How do we move through the world and why plus so much more? I Will be listening to this book again.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

insightful and beautifully written

the author had me with her opening remarks on Leonard Cohen, but all through the book she keep revealing wonderful insights.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Not what I expected

After reading Quiet I expected much more from this book. I had to stop listening after three hours to stop wasting my time

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Insightful Book for Today

Susan Cain has another great book for us to ponder: Bittersweet. The depth of the stories, others as well as hers, will lead you deeper to understand others as well as yourself. You may not agree with everything she writes, but you will grow in knowing more of what it means to be human. Thanks, Susan. You have graced us again.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

amazing listen!

perfect book for all of us, but especially those navigating life after devastating losses trying to move forward.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Emotional understanding :)

Loved it! Just wonderful. Grateful to have discovered my values that I own. Already shared with my friends.

2 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 10-23-22

A pure jam!!!

It's so good! There’s so much work, though and research put in to this book, that reading/listening to it once wouldn't do it justice. It's very likely that you will want to return to this peace of work time and time again. I know I did, it's my second time I was listening to this audio book and I know for certain it wasn't last...