Customer Reviews

35
4.1 out of 5 stars
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As an amateur reviewer, I have no greater frustration than agreeing with a book's core thesis, but feeling disappointed by its execution. Take this one: I like Carl Honoré's claim that we must abandon the myth of the "quick fix," in which we want to spot-check problems with spit and string and fairy dust. Particularly in light of recent hot-button news, we need to dispel that illusion and reawaken our passion for long-term investment in slow, fundamental remedies.

But when Honoré stops talking abstractions and gets into the details, he becomes an object lesson in his own point. He anchors each of his fourteen very short chapters on a narrative that supports his point, but only spends about half of each chapter on his exemplar story. He name-drops sources old and new, caroms among interesting but loosely organized anecdotes, and doesn't so much make his point as circle it, waiting for us to make his connections.

What Honoré terms "the slow fix" comprises a range of solutions to life's problems, which we can apply individually or (ideally) in some combination. We might think of these solutions as character traits, or leadership skills. They include, but are not limited to, long-range thinking, preparing for diverse circumstances, heeding the right advice, and honing our intuition. Our parents tried to teach us these traits as kids, but as adults, we too often need to be reminded.

Again, I agree with this, in principle. But Honoré explicates what each of these means in ways that sprawl all over the map. He will anchor a chapter about, say, fine detail thinking, on the story of an oil rig inspector who accurately predicted a major blowout. But he'll veer off, for little visible reason, to a paragraph about Steve Jobs, two paragraphs on classical music, a brief discourse on surgical antibiotics. It's like watching a ADHD student trying to paint.

In my favorite example, Honoré stops a discursion on a successful effort to revive a decrepit urban school, to quote a French marriage counselor. Honoré's source wants us to understand the importance of finding the unstated story behind one incident: "You cannot understand a Shakespearean play by listening to one soliloquy... A relationship is like a large and complex puzzle, so you need to examine all the pieces and then work out how to fit them together."

That's a clever quote, to underscore a valid point. But in context, what does it mean? It's a prime example of what rhetorician Gerald Graff calls a "hit-and-run quotation," where an author will throw some citation in, expecting the audience to instinctively understand why it matters. That line deserves to be unpacked more, because thrown out as it is, it looks like an inexplicable digression that slows the pace of an already rocky narrative.

I so much wanted to like this book. Research has shown, time and again, that the key to success rests on long-term investments and tenacity. You can tell how someone will handle work, education, and life by how long they can work on a math problem before they give up. Education journalist Paul Tough stresses the point that long-term perseverance makes more of a difference than sudden flashes of genius.

But Honoré just gives me no place to hang my hat. As he slaloms through his list of bromides, anecdotes, and pointers, he pauses on none of them long enough for them to have any sense of depth, or for them to feel particularly real to me. Though I did take a few valuable lessons from this book, one by one, I really felt Honoré expected me to supply the overarching narrative for him.

Honoré fixes his book among writers like Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, and Charles Duhigg. And not only among them, he quotes them. I keep wondering if Honoré has a new idea for his context. The New Republic reviewed a book by the disgraced Jonah Lehrer as "self-help for people who would be embarrassed to be seen reading it." I didn't know what that meant at the time, but reading this book, I think I now understand.

In his introduction, Honoré admits he falls into the trap of the quick fix, and that he wrote this book as much for himself as for us. To which I reply: and how! Excluding the back matter, this book runs less than 200 pages. Honoré's important, timely thesis deserves much more conscientious unpacking. Instead, it becomes an object lesson in our society's addiction to haste.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I struggled with giving this book a 3 star rating but I simply feel that 4 stars is just too high. I read Carl Honore's previous book In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed (Plus) and thought it was excellent. In this book Honore attempts to apply the slow philosophy to solving problems, thus the title "The Slow Fix".

This is where I have a problem with the book. Much of the material is only tangentially related to the slow movement. Honore is really stretching when he tries to relate online gaming solutions to the slow movement as he does in this book. Yes, there is actually a chapter on that.

This book is really just a bunch of chapters that do a fine job of explaining why the problems we face cannot be solved with a "quick-fix" approach. They are much too complicated for that. But I think the author is a little deceptive when he tries to use his well known (and well deserved) place in the slow movement to push this book. I think "slow" is the wrong label for this material. And I think it rather dishonest and deceptive in that it may pull in readers (like me) expecting something else.

So I really don't have much of a problem with the material in this book and would probably have given it 4 stars, although even then I feel it is a little disjointed in presentation. There is a lot in this book that has nothing to do with the slow movement and it is a real stretch to pretend like it does. There is a chapter on crowd sourcing to solve problems. OK, that is legitimate topic for a book on problem solving, but what does that have to do with "a world addicted to speed"?

This book is pretty good, but not great in content. But you have to accept the content does not live up to the title or sub-title nor to Carl Honore's history in the slow movement. In that regard I feel it is being marketed dishonestly. It's really about problem solving with a long-term perspective. That's really something different.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 10, 2013
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is one of those books that, while reading it, I had to tell myself, "Well, what did you expect? This is a book about taking things slow!" And the author has taken that to heart, it is a very slow read.

He mostly uses anecdotes to illustrate his points but the stories are not very compelling. And they're told with dense words and details that made my eyes glaze over sometimes. With an ironic smile, I kept silently urging him to get on with it. Apparently I read his message but did not internalize it.

Sure, there is wisdom in the book and I give it props for that. Honore is right about how our society is addicted to quick fixes and rarely do these quick fixes solve any underlying problems. He has solutions but they're more proverbial than practical.

If you're interested in a slow read about taking things slow, this book would be perfect for you.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 31, 2013
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book is a collection of ideas and anecdotes of how organizational problems can be solved by using a slower problem-solving method. Make no mistake - this book is for solving organizational problems, it's not a self-help book. But still, it's a good guide for solving real problems that utilizes approaches we may not be aware of. There are many stories and examples of how "slowing down" is truly more efficient than the speedy "do it yesterday" approach of our culture.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Most of us grew up hearing that admonition from our parents and teachers. But things have changed, we live in a world where we expect instant results. We have microwaves to cook our food in seconds, weight loss programs that promise miracle results in days, programs which promise we can learn a foreign language so we speak like natives in a few weeks ... the list is endless.

There are certain problems with our fast food thinking. We have come to expect instant results no matter what the problem. Because of our instant fix mindset, we are less willing to put in the time and effort to find and fix our real problems, preferring a pill that masks the symptoms to radical surgery that would solve the real problem.

Carl Honoré, the author of The Slow Fix has given us a very interesting and entertaining look at a better approach. The basic premise of this book is that to fix most problems, we need to take a Slow Fix approach. We need to first find out what the real problem is and ask many deep questions so that we get to the root problem instead of offering a quick fix that masks the problem for a short term and often makes the problem worse.

The book is very interesting and you will be taken on a very diverse journey as the author discusses a wide variety of applications to the Slow Fix philosophy. You will learn how the prison system is Norway is employing the Slow Fix philosophy to lower the cost of housing prisoners and raising the rate of successfully reintroducing them into society. You will get a tour of a coffee grower in Costa Rico and learn about how the Slow Fix philosophy transformed the streets of Bogota, Columbia. After the financial collapse of Iceland, the citizens embraced the Slow Fix philosophy to reshape their government. There are many other interesting stories describing how the Slow Fix philosophy has transformed businesses and lives of those who embrace it.

I found the book very interesting and insightful. I believe we have become addicted to the quick fix. I see too many governments/politicians and people offerings quick fixed and simple solutions to very complex problems. I think a large percent of the worlds problems are the result of attempts at quick and easy solutions to complex problems.

While the Slow Fix is certainly not popular with lots of people, I believe in the long -run we must adapt this approach if we hope to solve the growing number of social issues facing our nation and world.

The quote by Henry Miller at the beginning of Chapter 5 really sums up the Slow Fix philosophy, "In this age, which believes that there is a shortcut to everything, the greatest lesson to be learned is that the most difficult way is, in the long run, the easiest."
This book does not offer a step-by-step method of applying the Slow Fix. One size does not fit all. In my view, it is more of a philosophy than a how-to manual. But there are many lessons you can take and apply to your life, business, government or society as a whole.

Well written, very interesting and thought provoking. Good read.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 30, 2013
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Maybe this book hit a cord but I suspect it's a message that could be taken to heart by a lot more people. Years ago I started my "serious" career during the height of the dot-com start-up craze. I went from one start-up to another each with a corresponding rise in salary, duties and stress. I was also pursuing graduate school and married. Like a lot of people, the pace eventually started to catch up. I made major changes and slowed down...or so I thought.

This book opened my eyes to many ways in which my life is still on high speed. Yes, I have slowed down from the break neck pace I was living in the past but not to the point where I could/should be to really enjoy life without the guilt, without having to feel obligated to multi-task or squeeze in a bit of extra productivity during my down time or while relaxing.

This book provides great reasons on why the slow fix is often the better option both for finances, problem solving, relationships and even your individual health. Case after case after case of the negative impact of the quick fix became obvious both at the macro and micro level...to the point it really begins to open your eyes to the trade off we are making as a society and as individuals. Some of the examples - like Iceland - should be required reading. Others act as merely interesting tidbits. All provide food for thought.

Sadly, I suspect this book will receive little of the attention is so desperately deserves nor will it likely reach the very people that will most benefit from the message...however, that doesn't mean it won't reach some. For those willing to take an earnest look into why things aren't working and how to build long term solutions, THIS is the book you have been searching for.

The only single topic I would like to have seen covered in more depth is the interrelationship between organizations/individuals seeking to adopt slow change while having to grapple with the fall-out of those that don't. Sadly, it's not always possible to go it alone and in a world filled with quick fixes, even the most long term thinker is likely to be negatively impacted by the whims and short term thinking of others.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 8, 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Carl Honore has offered up a solution for those of us who feel pressured to make snap judgments and decisions. We now live in a world where everyone and every thing cries out for our immediate attention and response. In THE SLOW FIX he argues, convincingly, that the best decisions occur when we consciously avoid our genetically programmed addiction to the quick fix.

Honore's work is derivative, as others have plowed this ground previously. Readers should consider Nobel Prize-winning Daniel Kahneman's THINKING FAST AND SLOW and the more recent book WAIT, by Frank Partnoy. What Honore has accomplished is to make this body of work more accessible to a casual reader. For example, Kahneman's work is heavy lifting and worth the effort.

The best chapters are those in the first half of the book. Here Honore suggests that complex problems cannot be solved with "the quick fix", offering a number of examples. The usual result of applying the knee jerk reaction to these issues is the treatment of the symptom rather than the root cause. The consequence is usually a deepening of the issue with the concurrent squandering of resources. Climate control, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and many of the education initiatives fall into this category.

Perhaps one of his most dramatic examples is the approach to the cycle of poverty taken by Brazil. Rather than throwing money at the immediate needs of the poor the money is deployed by Conditional Cash Transfers. Certainly education and health are important foundations in breaking the cycle of poverty; thus the conditions for these welfare-type payments are given when children attend school and the family has routine medical check-ups.

The book is marred by Honore's use of the occasional "F"-bomb; in fact, his use of it when describing inner schools in Los Angeles is condescending. One feels that he is burnishing nonexistent-and unnecessary-street creds. There are also a number of chapters where the universal solution of the slow fix leave the reader scratching his or her head. While the slow fix may be a great approach it is in these chapters that Honore offers a solution in search of problems.

In all, an entertaining book, long on anecdote though short on research, and a credible initial introduction into the Slow Movement.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
First of all, hats of for writing a book to slow down, when the world is getting faster and faster.

Once I started reading the book, in the very first chapter ( page number 14) there is a section on the brain that thinks slow ( 16 x 23 ) vs fast thinking segment of the brain. Nice section, but the problem is it is a copy of the central theme of the book Thinking, Fast and Slow . There is no harm in doing it; after all the world is built on top of each others ideas.. and is a basic courtesy to acknowledge the idea. The author mentioned "Daniel" on Page 20 on a totally unrelated topic - Bad! .

The chapters are titled "Confess", "Think Hard', "Holistic" etc. All good, except the examples have very little to do with your personal life's... Here is an example :

Mea culpa emphasizes the need to accept and acknowledge one's mistakes but the problem again I had is that the examples were heavily corporate ( How Domino's reinvented Pizza, How BP did this etc) . Ask an employee who reinvented the pizza and he will probably mention how he had to speed up to get the work done. Similarly using a prison in Scandinavia to relate to a story for slow fix is ridiculous. For the most part, slowing down, organizing yourselves are done better by the people at the top. CEO's do find time to play golf but it is the 99 % of us who have problems doing a slow fix between the kids karate class and homework and cooking and long driving and watching 4 hours of TV!.

As I went past every chapter, it was examples after examples from corporate environment with a scanty reference to "relationships". I would have specifically be happy to find how you slow down, What factors cause you to speed up, How to curb the desire of empty feeling when you slow down, how to contain the desire to grow etc.

Safe to skip reading the book ! And you will be better served by re-reading an all time great classic The Road Less Traveled, 25th Anniversary Edition : A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on March 12, 2014
The Slow Fix is Carl Honore’s follow up book to In Praise of Slowness which was an international best seller. In this work Honore tackles the issue of how to solve problems in a world where speed seems to be predominant. He begins by stating that the “quick fix” mentality developed in prehistoric times. When our ancestors came across a sabre tooth tiger, for example, they did not take hours pondering their choices but reacted quickly. In modern times, where speed often determines success or failure, the demand for quick fixes have become even more pressing and pervasive. Honore identifies several such fixes including the Einstelling Effect which involves relying solely on solutions that worked in the past, the Legacy Bias which is the idea that we use those solutions in which we have heavily invested in the past, optimism, the unwarranted belief that a particular solution will work, a preference for the status quo, the halo effect in which one part of an option is used to decide if the whole option is viable and confirmation bias, in which we deny results that go counter to our standard beliefs. Honore refers to such thinking as “System 1.” His argument in this book is that we have to focus more on “System 2” or slow fixes.

Honore identifies 13 such fixes and devotes one chapter to each. He uses multiple examples in describing each of these fixes and shows how they can work in combination. He also identifies various books, companies and other resources where one can learn more about particular approaches. In summary he says, “When taking on any complex problem, take the time to admit mistakes, work out what is really going wrong, pay attention to details, think long term, join the dots to build holistic solutions, seek ideas from everywhere, work with others and share the credit, build up expertise while remaining skeptical of experts, thinks alone and together, tap into emotions, enlist a catalytic figure, consult and recruit those closest to the problem, turn the search for a fix into a game, have fun, follow hunches, adapt, use trial and error and embrace uncertainty. “ Even then in the end, Honore says, some problems cannot be completely solved and we have to learn to live with them.

In sum this book is very valuable as a way of thinking about both personal and organizational problem solving. Anyone can benefit from reading and applying it. I rate it at five stars because it is well written, important for our daily lives and useful for everyone. I disagree with one reviewer that says it is not a "self-help" book. We can certainly apply the ideas here to our own personal life as the author did with his example of having a bad back.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon February 18, 2013
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I read this book while waiting at a serious of doctor's appointments after my kid had surgery. I loathe and detest waiting (doesn't everyone) so my son thought it was pretty funny that I was reading a book about slowing down while waiting for a doctor that I was so annoyed at for being slow.

Honore fully acknowledges that the drive to fix things fast and move on even effects him. He shares a story about trying to quick fix his way out of back pain. We live in a culture entirely pushed by quick fixes and short term patches. But as he points out, these do not solve our problems.

While I was enjoying the book and agreeing with it's points, I was having a hard time understanding how to implement it. I have kids, 2 part time jobs, a farm, and a host of other responsibilities. Slow didn't seem like something I could do. The book is anecdotes about how different companies used slow fixes. I quickly *ahem* read through it and tried to find how I could implement it. I came up with nothing, pizza and prisons were not that useful.

So I actually tried going a little slower. I re-read some of the anecdotes and rather than focusing on how they solved their problem I tried to understand how they thought about the problem. Then the book became useful to me in my various activities.

One of the interesting things is that it is a great method for parenting. My kids are old enough that they will not forget things if they don't have immediate consequences. So I have been addressing behaviors by saying "I think we can handle this better. Why don't we both think about it and talk later." It has been amazing. My kids will come back with well thought out points about what they did and how they can do better.

Slow is good.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed (Plus)
In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed (Plus) by Carl Honore (Paperback - September 6, 2005)
$11.18


 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.