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Book Review – In Praise Of Slow – Challenging the Cult of Speed

  • Julia's Reading Challenge for 2019

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Introduction

We live in the age of speed. We strain to be more efficient, to cram more into each minute, each hour, each day. Since the Industrial Revolution shifted the world into high gear, the cult of speed has pushed us to a breaking point. Consider these facts: Americans on average spend seventy-two minutes of every day behind the wheel of a car, a typical business executive now loses sixty-eight hours a year to being put on hold, and American adults currently devote on average a mere half hour per week to making love.

Living on the edge of exhaustion, we are constantly reminded by our bodies and minds that the pace of life is spinning out of control. In Praise of Slowness traces the history of our increasingly breathless relationship with time and tackles the consequences of living in this accelerated culture of our own creation. Why are we always in such a rush? What is the cure for time sickness? Is it possible, or even desirable, to slow down? Realizing the price we pay for unrelenting speed, people all over the world are reclaiming their time and slowing down the pace -- and living happier, healthier, and more productive lives as a result. A Slow revolution is taking place.

Here you will find no Luddite calls to overthrow technology and seek a preindustrial utopia. This is a modern revolution, championed by cell-phone using, e-mailing lovers of sanity. The Slow philosophy can be summed up in a single word -- balance. People are discovering energy and efficiency where they may have been least expected -- in slowing down.

In this engaging and entertaining exploration, award-winning journalist and rehabilitated speedaholic Carl Honoré details our perennial love affair with efficiency and speed in a perfect blend of anecdotal reportage, history, and intellectual inquiry. In Praise of Slowness is the first comprehensive look at the worldwide Slow movements making their way into the mainstream -- in offices, factories, neighbourhoods, kitchens, hospitals, concert halls, bedrooms, gyms, and schools. Defining a movement that is here to stay, this spirited manifesto will make you completely rethink your relationship with time.

Introduction on Goodreads. 

inpraise of slow

Julia's Review

This is one of those books where I constantly tuned in and then out and then in again. When I analysed which bits I’d missed it was the sections on the cult/movements. For example, the slow food movement section seemed to go on forever. 

Other parts of this book were great and I often found myself nodding in agreement to the way he described modern life. There were no “aha moments” for me in this book, which is what I was expecting, but not a bad read.