In Praise of Slowness
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In Praise of Slowness

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  1,916 ratings  ·  337 reviews
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 l...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published April 14th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2004)
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Ian Paganus
Speed Reading

I read this book quickly. It dealt with the most important issues very efficiently. It was a good use of my time.

Therein lies the issue, or more precisely why I can only give it four, not five, stars.

The book originated in a series of articles Carl Honore wrote for the “National Post”.

It’s well-researched, well thought out, well structured, tells a good story, makes good use of relevant quotations, it’s never boring (though once I’d worked all of this out, I was glad when the end wa...more
I enjoyed this book a lot, although ironically, I did get slightly impatient towards the end. Some chapters had a few too many examples of the main point. Otherwise, it is certainly a worthy read! It is about how time-obsessed our culture has become and how we choose quality for quantity in far too many activities.

One question I felt was left unanswered is this: What do we sacrifice when we slow down? It is abundantly clear what we gain. But what are the opportunity costs? Obviously the trade-o...more





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Goodness, the goodness of this book's happened to me by Slowly Reading.

I learned about this book from the goodreads Green Group, and Bill McKibben gave it this blurb: "Try reading this book one chapter a day--it is worth allowing tis subversive message to sink slowly in so it has a chance of changing your life."

I've learned that the Slow Movement has its own website:

And the author of the book, Carl Honoré, has a TED talk from 2005:

And his own website:

The book is an imp...more
This is a book about someone else smart ideas about fighting the crazy pace of life.When I started reading this book I was really excited since I have been pondering on this topic for a while. The book is a set of articles, written as a classic school essays: introduction, them development, conclusion. And just as empty. By the end of the first chapter(almost 40 pages) I learned nothing new. By the end of the second chapter I was mostly bored and the only thing I learned was that I am not the on...more
Anna Bartkowski
Nov 02, 2007 Anna Bartkowski rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Need encouragement to stress less and relax more? Check out the book, In Praise of Slowness, how a worldwide movement is challenging the cult of speed by Carl Honoré. You gain nutritional benefits and reduce stress all in one easy step. Food made with love is healthier. I realize this sounds simplistic, and it truly is. Often we make life more difficult than it is. Honore recognizes it and offers real life solutions. His Web site,, counters the allure the...more
I stopped reading this one because if I have to hear the story of "Slow Food" one more time I may scream.

Sure, slow food is a great concept, but I hoped for more out of this book. I'm not interested in reading about 'movements' in a way that's trying to get me involved in them. I'm interested in reading about concepts that make me think harder about life.

I thought this book was going to be lots of the latter with little of the former, but it was just the opposite. So, about 1/4 of the way throug...more
Ironically this book was way to fast. Ideas and thoughts and examples sped across the page, the author barely touched on one facet before he sped off to the next. There was no meat to the discussion.

I was about a third of the way through the book and still felt like I was reading the introduction. You know the part where ideas are presented to be expounded on as the book progresses, except I was a third of the way through the book and it was clear that this was how the book was going to continu...more
Aug 17, 2014 Therese rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Therese by: book club selection

This book was chosen by my book club, and once again I'm glad to have read a book I never would have chosen before.

I think most people know that we are living our lives out of control due to the fact that most people are speeding through life without really living. I was "forced" to slow down after an automobile injuries left me paralyzed, but that made me hurry to find different ways of keeping up. Still I have adapted a Slow lifestyle long ago without even realizing it, and I know I am mu...more
With regards to this book it is more about the advised philosophy than the strength of the writing. I picked this up because I was interested in the Slow Movement. One of my favourite subjects was that of time, the opening subject, which started off well with the following paragraph - What is the very first thing you do in the morning? Draw the curtains? Roll over to snuggle with your partner or pillow? Spring out of bed and do ten push ups to get the blood pumping? No, the first thing you do, t...more
Two years after I first read this, I can still say with as much passion as ever that this is one of the most life-changing books I have ever read. I expected it to be about 'how to live slowly' and to leave me feeling guilty and discontent as I raced through my busy life of work and family and kids. Far from that, In Praise of Slow inspired me to take control of the pace of my be busy when I wanted to be and to be empowered to jump off life's treadmill when someone else was dictating a...more
Expounded on a slow philosophy that I inherently believe in. A lot of this seemed like common sense, but I liked the examples of slow living - who knew there were so many associations dedicated to this stuff... Slow Food, Slow Sex, SuperSlow exercise, Slow Design, Slow Research, etc. Also important that Slowness isn't just doing everything slowly - you don't have to walk or talk slower - it's just picking and choosing what to appreciate. like always, it's a search for balance. ahhh balance, easy...more
Scott Seaborn
A more appropriate title for this book could be "In Praise of Tedium: Challenging the Cult of Staying Awake." The author had a great premise: We're rushing through life and killing ourselves in the process. Unfortunately, he bored the hell out of me.

The author tries to legitimize the 'Slow Movement" argument by distancing himself from New Age gurus and mystics. Unfortunately, he plays it *too* safe and offers up a very bland recipe for living Slow:

+ Don't rely on the microwave; cook your meals,...more
Juliet Wilson
We live in a society that seems to be constantly accelerating, people rush through life. Recently however the Slow Movement has gained momentum (if that doesn't seem a contradiction in terms!). Based largely in Italy, the Slow Movement advocates for a slower approach to all aspects of life, from food to human relationships.

In this book, Carl Honore, a self confessed speed addict, explores the nature of this movement. Chapter by chapter he looks at a different element of the movement and also con...more
I enjoyed the main point of this book, which, as the title makes clear, is about the need for humans to slow down and enjoy life.

The problem I had with the book is that throughout, the whole thing feels dated. Not only in his specific examples of technology (this was published before the iphone, for example), but in his general conviction that this is a "worldwide movement," which it may be, but I've never seen it outside this particular book.

Each chapter is devoted to one facet of human existen...more
Though I totally endorse the main idea promoted by this book - that slowing down, or more precisely finding the right pace of doing things, may be very beneficial for just about any aspect of one's life (or at least that's my personal experience), it's so poorly written I had to force myself to finish it. The substance of it could fit to at most 20 pages, the rest is just pad full of presumably persuasive personal stories of few dozens of people. Unfortunately, these stories seem to be the autho...more
Some pieces of writing are so well written that their content doesn't seem to matter much. Style may not be substance; fortunately, form, as any academic can tell you, is content. Great writing is sometimes about nothing at all.

In Praise of Slow[ness], on the other hand, is arrestingly bad. The idea that we live in a culture that values velocity should be obvious even to the most inept of observers, and it takes no great genius to react against these pressures. But Carl Honoré is apparently blin...more
Jeff Sullivan
This book is an interesting survey of a growing movement to decelerate the pace of modern life and promote a Slower cultural mindset. Written in a journalistic style, there is a wealth of anecdotes on everything from Slow education to Slow food. Ironically, the rapid rate of technological change over the decade since this book was written means that its treatment of the topic already feels inadequate: consider that ten years ago there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no iPhone, etc... If anything, t...more
Carolyn Gerk
There are not many among us who can say that he or she does not need to slow down. We could all use a bit more downtime, a bit less high pressure on the go time. The idea of reading this book about taking time for ourselves, about movements around the world in favour of slowing down our lives in order to get more out of our time here, seemed like a great idea.
By the times I was in the last half of the book I found myself so tired of repetitive prose and useless anecdotal evidence that I tended...more
Wesley Gade
Reads a bit too much like a college paper. It is lengthy for the sake of length in some sections and has much too much self justifications and anecdotal support. Felt like the kid in debate class who who defending a point he drew by chance.

The book does help one take a step back and reevaluate as well as take a deep breath and I'm not sure what he could have done differently without turning it into a self-help/how-to book, but alas it was a dry academic read. There were a few sections towards th...more
Margaret Heller
I saw this on a friend's blog, got it from the library the next day, and finished it two days after that. This was sort of the point of the book--leave room for fun and don't worry about getting everything done all the time.

The journalism in here was occasionally a bit lacking, particularly in the CAM chapter. I felt like there was a lot of anecdote passing as fact. That said, it was interesting to see the ways in which people are choosing to slow down aspects of their lives, and where we've com...more
I guess I was hoping for a book that would woo me with slowness. Instead I felt like I got a strong dose in tedium. The authors slogs along through various aspects of what he calls the Slow Movement (slow food, slow sex, etc.) and gives anecdotes from his own life, but he doesn't really invite the reader to breathe deeply and find the pace and tempo of her own being.

After a bit, I finally skimmed toward the end and stopped to read (slowly) the conclusion: Finding the Tempo Giusto. I was hoping,...more
My read for Seattle trip. I found this at the library and it's just what I need these days---something to slow me down from multi-tasking and slow me in the areas that are most needed: love, the kitchen, family, learning, health and exercise.
I quote the first chapter: "Be fast when it makes sense to be fast, and be slow when slowness is called for. Seek to live at what musicians call the tempo giust---the right speed."

This will be interesting. It was only recently when I was studying, making d...more
Jan Mcginn
Part common sense, part movement, part a real reach - slow down and smell the roses - we all know that - some have made a successful movement out of it - slow food - some have created torture - slow exercise - and much of this works best for those who have the time and ability, at times associated with resources, to slow down - a bit of an entitled crowd - that said, thinking about how i use my time, my relationship with time, from where my food comes, etc. all wise and necessary considerations...more
What a marvelous book! I guess that for most of my life I have been living a "slow" lifestyle and not even knowing that there was some kind of organised philosophy behind it.

I loved this book because it gave me a sense of comradeship with others around the world who have slowed down. I was also happy to find out that there are so many different kinds of Slow Movements around the world. I also found the books website to be very useful for links to most of the organisations he mentions. There are...more
Sue Lyle
This book has helped me reflect on my relationship with speed and time. I realise that I have already taken on lots of the things recommended to slow down your life. I cook from scratch most days, I knit, I've being doing Tai Chi for 27 years, not as often as I would like, it I do exercise most days. I read rather than watch TV, I travel by train not car, I play with my grandchildren. I struggled all my working life to get a work/life balance, very hard in education, yet I still think I have a b...more
Pam Howell
For me, this is the right book for this time in my life. I got to read this book at a slower pace & live with the ideas. There is definitely a 'slow' part of me but I so easily find myself sucked into speed.
There is so much to think through as Honore explores how speed and slowing down effects our lives ... he presents scientific as well anecdotal evidence for slowing down. It is quite convincing and attractive.
I look forward to holding on to the learnings and enjoying life at a slower pac...more
Shannon Jolley
May 14, 2008 Shannon Jolley rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who feels their life is out of control.
This book provides an overview of the Slow movement in food, sex, leisure, and even urban planning. Honore does not advocate the abolition of modern living but challenges readers to be reflective and engaged in their world. He does not provide a lot of suggestions--instead, he summarizes what other people are doing to slow down.
This book is already 10 years old, so I'm sure there is plenty of newer information out there. The author points out several groups and movements that were working on getting our Taylorized world to slow down and discusses many of the benefits of doing so. There are very few statistics or numbers as this book is meant to be read, not studied (which goes along with the very movement it supports).

Some surprising points are made. I had no idea that there was a speed debate in classical music. I was...more
Kasey Jueds
I fell in love with the title when I found this in a bookstore in DC, and the rest of the book (luckily) wasn't at all disappointing. In part it's a history of various "slow" movements (slow food, slow cities), interwoven with personal stories, musings, and science. Beautifully written, thoughtful, important.
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The Question is... 4 39 May 03, 2013 05:30PM  
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Carl Honoré was born in Scotland, but grew up in Edmonton, Canada. After studying history and Italian at Edinburgh University, he worked with street children in Brazil. This later inspired him to take up journalism and, since 1991, he has written from all over Europe and South America, spending three years in Buenos Aires along the way. His work has appeared in publications on both sides of the At...more
More about Carl Honoré...
Under Pressure: Rescuing Childhood from the Culture of Hyper-Parenting The Slow Fix: Solve Problems, Work Smarter and Live Better in a World Addicted to Speed In Praise Of Slow In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed The Slow Fix

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“Spending more time with friends and family costs nothing. Nor does walking, cooking, meditating, making love, reading or eating dinner at the table instead of in front of the television. Simply resisting the urge to hurry is free.” 7 likes
“In our hedonistic age, the Slow movement has a marketing ace up its sleeve: it peddles pleasure. The central tenet of the Slow philosophy is taking the time to do things properly, and thereby enjoy them more.” 7 likes
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