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In Praise of Slowness: How A Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed First Edition Edition

80 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0060545789
ISBN-10: 006054578X
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Tempted by a book of "one-minute bedtime stories" to read to his son and thereby save time while fulfilling, albeit barely, the paternal role, Honore had a moment of truth. Speed, he realized, was a cultural addiction that, far from enhancing his life, was eroding his pleasure in it. He set about finding those swimming--slowly, of course, but strongly--against the tide. Prime among them is Slow Food, started in Italy to support that nation's time-honored approach to making cheeses, wines, and other regional foods. Now promoting the joys of the table and connection to regional agriculture internationally, Slow Food is one of a growing number of organizations urging us to slow down to enjoy life more. Whether advocating gentle alternative medical therapies (e.g., massage), tantric sex, musical compositions that take ages to perform, or the deceleration of childhood, these organizations share the beliefs that faster isn't better, and more is rarely enough. Honore's engaging report on the tortoises among the hares should be embraced by those with quality-of-life and environmental concerns. Patricia Monaghan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; First Edition edition (April 13, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006054578X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060545789
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #386,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

172 of 173 people found the following review helpful By The Cranky Editor on August 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I actually read this book about six weeks ago while vacationing with friends. The fact that I still remember it clearly and am still thinking about it is one of the best recommendations I could give. I read several books a week, and most of them do a relatively quick mental disappearing act. But this one is definitely a keeper.

As one of the other readers pointed out, this is not so much a how-to guide as a cultural snapshot of some of the more absurd Western practices that have accelerated our lives to an almost ludicrous degree. (Those who have tried driving a car during lunch hour while using one hand to eat fast food and the other to return phone calls will know immediately what I'm talking about.)

I once read a review that started by listing all of the things the reader had done differently since reading the book. In that same spirit, let me tell you that since I read this book more than a month ago, I have been:

*giving myself permission to take naps and get a full night's sleep almost every night

*watching less TV and taking more walks

*making a point to cook a real dinner several nights a week, with the whole family assembled at the table

*taking breaks during the work day, which I find has actually increased my productivity

*calling old friends long-distance and reconnecting

*taken my daughter out of gymnastics to keep the family at home and unscheduled

These are not enormous changes in my life -- I was doing some of them before -- but they are important ones. What's more, they've been easy to implement. Now I need to work on not taking my laptop everywhere and telling myself it's OK not to check my work email when I've got the flu!
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Debbie the Book Devourer on March 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have been gradually embracing slowness in my life for some time, starting with saying "no" to so many after-work activities, cooking more often, walking away from my desk occasionally, and, most importantly, just taking the time to enjoy the moment instead of thinking about what I must do in the next moment. It took me more years than I care to acknowledge to realize that I am, and always have been, pretty much Slow in my ways, and to just stop trying to be otherwise.

So I was already in the "slow is beautiful" camp when I picked up this book. Carl Honore's well-researched and balanced look at slowing down merely confirmed what I already know: taking time to enjoy the moment, take care of one's self, nourish relationships, and just simply be still is the key to happiness and health, at least for me.

Honore starts by discussing the real downside of the Fast life: stress-related illnesses, sleep deprivation, feeling out of control, feeling rage. He then discusses the benefits of the Slow life: feeling more creative and satisfied with life, just for starters. Then he describes how people are slowing down in different aspects of life: cooking and eating, work, leisure time... Finally, he wraps it all up by asking us to evaluate ways we can slow down. The back of the book contains lots of resources to get us started.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Nearly Nubile on June 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Along the way I've picked up several religions and spiritual books of all stripes that advocate the benefits of meditation, silence, and retreats as ways to heal the body, mind, and soul.
But Honore's well researched treatise provides what I believe is the first incisive overview of an important cultural phenomenon as we immerse our lives in instant online messengers, SMS thumb tribes, skipped breakfast, limp chicken sandwiches for lunch, and a bout of 'power yoga' to punctuate that little crevice of a break in the evenings..
Honore's writing style may occasionally wear a "Manifesto" dress and many of his suggestions to live a slow life may have a fairly non-trivial opportunity cost depending on where you live, but it is a very timely and wonderfully thought-provoking read nonetheless.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By ajm1205 on November 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
The idea of feeling hurried in our everyday lives is something most people are familiar with, and everyday more people wonder if there isn't some way for them to get a better handle on time. The so-called "Slow" movement, the subject of this book, isn't about stopping your life and moving to a commune in northern California, what it is about is finding the balance that makes your life feel fulfilling. Over the course of In Praise of Slowness, Carl Honoré, details some of the new outlooks people are developing on everyday activities. Concepts such as balancing work and home life, developing better communities that emphasize people over cars, medical treatment that focuses on patients instead of profits, and others are explored by comparing how they are now with what Slow thinks it should be.

The concepts discussed in this book are definitely intended for mature readers and parents should think about the appropriateness of this book for younger readers. If you aren't interested in reducing the stress in your life this book probably won't interest you much, I know I was reluctant to buy it. However, it was interesting to read about some of the ways that people are trying to change the pace of their lives. Honoré's writing style is a little hit-and-miss and some parts of the book drag on much longer than they should. Nothing in this book is ground breaking and it certainly isn't a how-to manual since most of the chapters lack enough detail to make change effective. This book is a decent overview of the "Slow" movement but if you're looking for instruction look somewhere else.
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