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In Praise of Slowness: How a Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speedby Carl Honore
Synopses & Reviews
We live in the age of speed. The world around us moves faster than ever before. 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 spend 40 percent less time with their children than they did in the 1960s; the average American spends 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 meager 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 and conundrum 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, more productive, and healthier lives as a result. A Slow revolution is taking place.
But here you will find no Luddite calls to overthrow technology and seek a pre-industrial utopia. This is a modern revolution, championed by e-mailing, cell phone-using lovers of sanity. The Slow philosophy can be summed up in a single word — balance. People are discovering energy and efficiency where we may have 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, neighborhoods, 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.
"A former 'speedaholic,' an award-winning Canadian journalist advocates living a slower, more measured existence, in virtually every area, a philosophy he defines as 'balance.' Honoré's personal wake-up call came when he began reading one-minute bedtime stories to his two-year-old son in order to save time. The absurdity of this practice dramatized how he, like most of the world, was caught up in a speed culture that probably began with the Industrial Revolution, was spurred by urbanization and increased dramatically with 20th-century advances in technology. The author explores, in convincing and skillful prose, a quiet revolution known as 'the slow movement,' which is attempting to integrate the advances of the information age into a lifestyle that is marked by an 'inner slowness' that gives more depth to relationships with others and with oneself. Although there is no official movement, Honoré credits Carol Petrini, an Italian culinary writer and founder of the slow food movement in Italy, with spearheading the trend to using fresh local foods, grown with sustainable farming techniques that are consumed in a leisurely manner with good company. The author also explores other slow movements, such as the practice of Tantric sex (mindful sexual union as a road to enlightenment), complementary and alternative medicine, new urbanism and the importance of leisure activities like knitting, painting and music. For the overprogrammed and stressed, slow and steady may win the race. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Honoré shows us the benefits of slowness, with chapters on food, transportation, meditation and exercise, medicine, sex, work, and parenting....[T]his book presents ideas and resources that will be new to most readers." Library Journal
"A persuasive case against mindless speed and an intriguing array of ways 'to make the moment last.'" Los Angeles Times Book Review
"A friendly and intelligent guide for harried types looking to change gear at home, work or play." Economist
"Honoré's engaging report should be embraced by those with quality-of-life and environmental concerns." Booklist
"It is worth allowing its subversive message to sink slowly in so it has a chance of changing your life." Bill McKibben, author of Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age and The End of Nature
"If you sometimes feel engulfed by the mad pace of modern life — In Praise of Slowness could prove life-saving." Larry Dossey, MD, author of Healing Beyond the Body and Reninventing Medicine
"Part reportage and part manifesto, In Praise of Slowness is an engaging, well-written journey into the various ways that people around the globe have attempted to live more patiently." Minneapolis Star Tribune
This incisive but leisurely exploration of the emerging paradigm of slowness in the face of today's cult of speed argues that "slower is better."
About the Author
Carl Honoré is a Canadian journalist based in London. He has written for The Economist, Houston Chronicle, Miami Herald, and the National Post (Canada). He received a speeding ticket while researching this book.
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