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Faster
 
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James Gleick
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Faster

3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,212 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
From the bestselling, National Book Award-nominated auhtor of Genius and Chaos, a bracing new work about the accelerating pace of change in today's world. Most of us suffer some degree of "hurry sickness." a malady that has launched us into the "epoch of the nanosecond," a need-everything-yesterday sphere dominated by cell phones, computers, faxes, and remote controls. Yet ...more
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Published May 7th 2007 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,532)
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David Cerruti
Aug 27, 2011 David Cerruti rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
After reading Gleick’s Chaos in 1989 and The Information this year, I was anticipating Faster. What a letdown. Chaos and The Information rocked. Faster just plodded along.

In his profile, David Giltinan cites 10 common sources of disappointment in a book. The first is “Failed to match brilliance of author's previous work.” That was certainly the case here. Another distraction is this edition is an audio book, read by Gleick. His reading wasn’t engaging.

The other GR reviews cover the content, ho
...more
Paul
Mar 31, 2009 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
This book is great. The acceleration of society/culture by way of technology is a subject that interests me greatly, maybe more than any other, so this book was right up my alley. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Faster is, despite its being almost a decade old, it's still entirely relevant. Aside from the lack of talk about iPods an iPhones, it doesn't seem dated at all. This is especially noteworthy considering the book's premise, which claims that a decade, these days, is an eternity.

If t
...more
Thomson Kneeland
This was a great, quick read, and though written in 1999, the ideas and issues presented are as pertinent as ever. An easy essay read on various facets of how technology is shaping society with mutitasking, emails, information overload and a sheer feeling of lack of time as our everyday pace quickens. Ten years later, the world has accelerated far more than even this book portends with flash trading, texting, twitter, digital downloads, and the enormous capacity of the web. But in essence, it is ...more
ActionScientist
Oct 11, 2009 ActionScientist rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book during a week holiday in the Okavango Swamps (Botswana) at the turn of the Millennium ... after a decade of burning the candle at both ends and living Internet years.

Gleick is one of the small handful of popular science writers able to spin a delightful series of yarns to make his point.

His final big bit of advice: our species needs to learn how to squander copious amounts of time, again. A profound bit of advice, if one can find the time to think about it, let alone implement
...more
Anne-Marie
Jan 29, 2016 Anne-Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People currently alive. And Benjamin Franklin, just because.
Recommended to Anne-Marie by: Found it on a shelf.
Science writing at its finest. This book explains our perception of time, and the ways in which time - or at least our perception of it - has accelerated in the modern age. By the end of the book I was consciously trying to slow things down in my day: simply eat a meal without simultaneously reading or looking at my phone, sit there and do nothing but listen to music, knit quietly, even (gasp!) do nothing for a little bit. It really does make you feel more grounded. Whipping out your phone when ...more
Chris Overstreet
Mar 16, 2015 Chris Overstreet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Starts off very interesting, but then sort of drags and gets a bit repetitive (began with a 5 star rating; then fell to a 3 due to my waning interest; hence 4 stars). It did make me stop and think about time, though. Like, really philosophically think about it. How do I (or we as society) allocate it? How does our culture view time compared to others around the world? Is leisure time a passive or active thing? Should we really brag about working long hours?

The main take-away I took from the auth
...more
Tessa
Jan 21, 2008 Tessa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An OK book. It's written for a somewhat pop audience and contains few revelations. However there is an interesting section towards the end where he discusses the limits of speed and uses the example of the disabled "close door" buttons on newer skyscraper elevators which exist only so that people can press them and believe that they are causing the doors to close faster when they stay open for the same time regardless.
Jeroen
Jul 09, 2014 Jeroen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a certain irony to the short chapters sporting catchy headings in FSTR – as the book cover popularly (or smugly?) has the title. “Prest-o! change-o!” and “On Your Mark, Get Set, Think” are as punny as they come; I'd almost argue they are Buzzfeed titles avant la lettre. In the afterword Gleick assures us that this is a book and, as such, a “slow device”, but you can't help but feel that he has been influenced in its design and structure by the subject matter. I guess there's no helping ...more
David Everling
Feb 16, 2011 David Everling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tom Everling
On time, our experience and measure of it, and particularly our accelerating life perspective, propelled by equally exponential technological advance. Written in 1999, the book loses little strength of argument since the reader can easily mentally update the most recent exemplar technologies and statistics (e.g. # of websites on topic x). Indeed, the intervening decade actually bolsters Gleick's point on progress, as the trends described herein have proven relatively robust and astute, becoming ...more
Chelsea
I just finished reading Faster: The Acceleration of Just About
Everything by James Gleick. (Ironically enough, not a quick read.) The basic thesis of the book is that our modern culture is obsessed with the notion of speed and the acceleration of everyday actions is a driving force in our technological and even political developments. Each chapter takes an aspect, object or idea and examines its development in context. Elevators, watches, cars, commercials, almost everything is touched on. He dis
...more
Jay
Mar 03, 2013 Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, 2013
I read this book while eating various meals, while sitting in the car waiting for a school bus to arrive, while brushing my teeth (even while flossing), while also being a spectator at various events, and to fill in many many different odd moments that came along (for I am never without a book). I layered the reading of this book with many different experiences, making more of my minutes and seconds since I can't erase any more of my free time... there just isn't any left. While reading this boo ...more
Joe
Aug 29, 2010 Joe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physics
I was tricked! I thought this was a book about physics (with the alluring word "acceleration" in the title), but it turned out to be more social and behavioral science than anything else. I still really enjoyed it though, as James Gleick once again proved his versatility as a writer.

All the little nuances, the winks and nods to the quirkiest of human predilections and paranoias, were what made this book such a joy to read. And that seems to be Gleick's style, which works in any genre.

My inner j
...more
Emily
Mar 12, 2010 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I made my piece about the Heart, I read a lot of books about it and enjoyed little bits of all of them. Then, I read one that summed it all up and seemed to get at exactly many of the things I wanted to explore. (Louisa Young's Book of the Heart, just in case you're curious) Faster is THAT book but for Time.
In pretty much every chapter I found myself thinking, "Yes! That's - yes! I hadn't thought of things quite like that. Damn!" All this time I was thinking I wanted to make a piece about
...more
Summer
Feb 10, 2011 Summer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
Although some sections of the book were dated to the point of irrelevance, the majority of the book was thought-provoking and still applicable. There is even an author's note at the end stating that a book about our ever increasing dependence on technology and increasing the speed of our lives became outdated in the months between the time it was written and the time it was published. Still, I found the ideas the author discussed- about our culture's need for speed and how it has spawned our col ...more
Liz
Jun 23, 2013 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite this book showing its age in a manner I did not strictly anticipate (though obviously should have), I really enjoyed Gleick's examination of the role of time in our lives. And, I admit, there was something strangely fun about imagining the world before the turn of the millenium and 9/11 and the rebirth of Apple and the smartphone and...you get the idea. It made extrapolating his points all the more exciting, because you could see how his thoughts relate to the future as it is now.
Also, G
...more
Craig Vermeer
Aug 23, 2015 Craig Vermeer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The latter part of this book spends a fair amount of time on our obsession with multi-tasking, in order to gain back time from the hectic pace of our lives.

I finished this book while folding laundry during a free 20 minutes before we had to leave for church, listening to the book in one ear while keeping the other free in case the kids blew up.

Huh.

Theron
Gleick catalogs numerous ways in which western culture is driven by go, go, Go! Some meme are quite funny, and insightful. Others, upon self reflection, are sad. "So what," you might say after reading this book, just as I did. His conclusion, maybe lacking but I took away a few things. Every generation sees the symptoms of mania (rapid speech, racing thoughts, decreased need for sleep, hypersexuality, euphoria, impulsiveness, grandiosity, and increased interest in goal-directed activities) in th ...more
Cara
Sep 03, 2013 Cara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started out not quite impressed with this book. It looked like it was going to be vacant navel-gazing - reminiscing about a time in the past when things were "slower" and therefore better. But I'm glad I stuck with it, because it turned into a very thought-provoking story of what time means to us now. Lots has been written on the increasing speed of technological innovation and how this changes society, but much less has been written about what the effect is of moving fast. The author doesn't ...more
Dave Gaston
Sep 04, 2010 Dave Gaston rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: invention, science
I loved it. A straight forward, brief and insightful history of time. A refreshing view — to look at a measure that man invented and then obsessed upon. Prior to this read, it was too easy to think of time as a thing of nature. Gleick’s topic, is really his canvas. On it, he paints the history of progress aided by man’s inventions. For example, time from town to town was never in sync down to the minute until railroad schedules and the telegraph made it an obvious necessity. One of the optimisti ...more
Jeff Gabriel
Still interesting if a little dated. An afterword in the book indicates that the book was dated before it hit shelves, so putting another 15 years on it doesn't help. In any event if you can skip references the wonders of blazing fast 500Kb internet and heavy increase in the use of fax machines and alt.net newsgroups - then there is something here for you. I enjoyed the philosophical discussion over the increase of information in our society and how that leads to an increase in a sense of time c ...more
Jeffrey Dill
Incredibly interesting concept and premise for the book. But it seemed to make the same point over and over again using essentially the same anecdote. So it started off very good but I thought it got stale around halfway through.
Derrick Trimble
James Gleick is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. His skill in presenting a thematic read is enjoyable through and through. Turns on phrases, quips and quotes, matched by insightful expertise augment a rich educational journey. As evident by the subtitle, 'The Acceleration of Just About Everything,' the world has raced on since the book was first released in 1999.

Many of the references are now defunct, obsolete,...invalid. The world has not slowed down over the past fifteen years markin
...more
Gabe
Jul 28, 2014 Gabe rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It is a horrible book. I had to read it for English class; and no not as a punishment. It is without a doubt the worst book I have ever read and will ever read in my life.
Yofish
Jan 21, 2010 Yofish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-on-tape
Essays on how people and machines and life in general is just going faster and faster. The funny thing is he talks about the internet and mobile phones and things like that, and it was written in 1998! So it's weirdly dated. Some interesting factoids--many elevators have their 'door closed' button disabled. The button is just there to make people feel like they have something to do. People are terrible at estimating how much time they spent doing one thing or another. But the datedness was too d ...more
severyn
Jun 12, 2016 severyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A superior meditation, there is no other word for it. Refreshingly free of polemic and analysis and opinion, which is rare these days.
Barry
Sep 17, 2014 Barry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction-misc
Mr. Gleick throws out a topic of interest to his readers: people are trying to cram more things into their day, and he looks at some of the reasons for this as well as the consequences of it. Faster is a really neat idea, but it has a tendency to read like an essay (or investigative newspaper article) that has been filled out to book length. There is nothing inherently wrong with doing that, but the chapters tend to start fast and then plod along, straying from the theme of the chapter and book. ...more
Alex
Feb 13, 2016 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great observations of how everything is accelerated. "Time-savers" just let us fill our time with more and more stuff. Multitasking is rampant, and progress on each individual task is slowed. What used to be normal now seems slow. That's enough-- gotta go!
Kathy
Oct 06, 2009 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
The dichotomy - more time saving devices and technologies vs not enough time in a day... - ... save time for more leisure vs how to 'fill' up that leisure with acceptable, profitable activities...

our obsession with seconds... milliseconds...

the book is full of information and surveys about how people use time, and how that has changed in the last hundred... fifty... ten... one year as radio/TV/internet/cell phones/etc. have interacted with people to be what they are...

and that in many ways, pe
...more
David R.
Jun 02, 2014 David R. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unclassified
Gleick careens through a panoply of subjects, from work hours to clocks to foods, commenting upon the apparent increase in "acceleration" in human affairs. I'm not entirely persuaded: people's time frames end with their birth.
Andrea Patrick
Jul 21, 2015 Andrea Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little depressing, but really interesting. This is about how our perception of time has changed. It prompted me to rethink how I spend my own time and change my habits a little. Gleick is a great writer, making things accessible without dumbing them down, with great prose that's not obfuscatory.
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James Gleick (born August 1, 1954) is an American author, journalist, and biographer, whose books explore the cultural ramifications of science and technology. Three of these books have been Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalists, and they have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Born in New York City, USA, Gleick attended Harvard College, graduating in 1976 with a degree in
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“When the Lilliputians first saw Gulliver's watch, that "wonderful kind of engine...a globe, half silver and half of some transparent metal," they identified it immediately as the god he worshiped. After all, "he seldom did anything without consulting it: he called it his oracle, and said it pointed out the time for every action in his life." To Jonathan Swift in 1726 that was worth a bit of satire. Modernity was under way. We're all Gullivers now. Or are we Yahoos?” 9 likes
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