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

4.1 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0060545789
ISBN-10: 006054578X
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Editorial Reviews

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.

Review

“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)

“Take the time to read this important, excellently written book -- our future depends on the ideas it contains!” (John de Graaf, co-author, AFFLUENZA: The All-Consuming Epidemic, and editor,TAKE BACK YOUR TIME)

“If you sometimes feel engulfed by the mad pace of modern life ---- IN PRAISE OF SLOWNESS could prove life-saving.” (Larry Dossey, MD -- Author: HEALING BEYOND THE BODY and REINVENTING MEDICINE)

“Taking the time to read this may be the best decision an entrepreneur, manager, or anyone working full time, can make.” (Gary Erickson - Entrepreneur & CEO of Clif Bar Inc., and author of Raising the Bar)

“A friendly and intelligent guide for harried types looking to change gear at home, work or play.” (Economist)

“A persuasive case against mindless speed and an intriguing array of ways ‘to make the moment last.’” (Los Angeles Times Book Review)

“A skillful blend of investigative reportage, history and reflection on time and our relationship to it.” (BookPage)

“...a brilliant criticism of the culture of speed. Honoré is a proponent of the Slow movement, which encourages a deceleration of everything from cooking to business management, driving to talking styles-based on the belief that speed can produce disconnection from daily life.” (O, The Oprah Magazine)
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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 (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #673,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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