Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down” as Want to Read:
World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  180 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Slowness can open doors to sustained creativity, claims poet and teacher Christian McEwen. Over the course of ten years training teachers to write their own poems in order to pass the craft along to students, McEwen realized that nothing comes easily when life is conducted at a high rate of speed. She draws not only on personal experience, but on readings ranging from lite ...more
368 pages
Published September 9th 2011 by Bauhan Publishing (first published 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about World Enough & Time, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about World Enough & Time

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  180 ratings  ·  37 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Stephany Wilkes
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A life changing book, and one I could have used much sooner. Nearly one year ago, my husband and I made the harder-than-it-sounds choice to step off the treadmill, exit the rat race, and end a combined 40 years in tech work by quitting our Bay Area/Silicon Valley tech jobs -- at the peak of our careers. It sounds great in theory, and indeed it was: one year later, I feel genuine horror at the fact that we might *not* have chosen this path. But getting to this place was not easy.

There was no euph
Kasey Jueds
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
It took me over a year to read this book... appropriately, because it is a book about slowing down, and a book to be savored. Full of quotes from a huge range of sources, and the bibliography/suggested reading list is enormous and compelling and made me want to read everything on it. And Christian McEwen's voice, the stories she tells and the thoughtful, non-preachy advice she imparts--all of these are inspiring, centering, nourishing. A book I'll return to, absolutely.

Here's one of the zillion
Mary Graham
Feb 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book offers far more depth and enjoyment than I had expected - in fact, reading it was a true joy - beautifully, thoughtfully written, not preachy or prescriptive, more like a conversation with an interesting friend. It doesn't repeat the same theme in endless variation, but offers the reader fresh insights and perspectives with every chapter. Highly recommended.
Howard Mansfield
Nov 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Christian McEwen has written a good-hearted, generous book. She never thunders at the reader, even when she is rightfully angry. Nor does she show off, but she does show the way to a quieter, more thoughtful life. The book really sparks when she brings in her Scottish upbringing and her travels in this country. This book is written by a pilgrim offering many maps for each reader to begin their own journey to a richer life.

Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing-books
I picked this up in anticipation of Christian McEwen's visit to my university campus. Sadly, I was unable to attend the events surrounding her visit. All month I've savored the book along with my breakfast; today I finished it, and I feel bereft--I will re-read it soon, I'm certain. Her voice is comforting as she urges the reader to slow down to enrich creativity. She uses excellent examples from literature, interviews, painters...all sorts of creative people to support her thesis. At the end of ...more
Cameron Norman
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my view of life in profound ways. It tells us a lot of things we know, but repositions it in a manner that inspired me to deeply contemplate the manner in which I live with others, myself and the technologies that are aimed at making life easier (and sometimes do the very opposite). The book is part reflection, part treatise, part call to contemplative arms to slow down and re-imagine time. It's not preachy either. Using the author's experiences, case studies and drawing on poe ...more
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of my deepest pleasures recently was the month in winter I spent with this book. Reading it slowly. Rereading portions. Sharing favorite passages with friends over dinner, and with students in my creative writing classes, and with my clients who—like the author—are beginning to recognize that there's something essential and humane and necessary about slowing down, taking time, doing creative work, and finding the means of incorporating all of these things into daily life. I can't recommend t ...more
Sigrun Hodne
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-writing
This book is a compendium, an amalgam of thoughts and ideas collected from different cultural traditions and historical eras. Ideas from great thinkers: religious figures, writers and philosophers are combined in new ways to underscore the importance of slowing down if one if to enjoy the richness of life.

Being structured around quotes and ideas collected from great thinkers & writes, it is difficult to call McEwen’s work truly original, if you are acquainted with Buddhism and/or theories on
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This was a wonderful book. The author explores the idea of slowing down,giving ourselves the time to enjoy the world around us. For example, how many times have you seen people out walking while plugged into some electronic device? How about taking a walk and allowing all of your senses to appreciate the experience? We spend entirely too much time in front of computers. The author says it's time to slow down. Let the quietness lead to inspiration.
Marina Sofia
Dec 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that I will never 'finish' reading, but just keep on re-reading. It's not that the ideas are startlingly new - they confirm things I had already half-known or guessed. It's just nicely put together, with plenty of lovely literary and artistic allusions and quotes. A real inspiration. One that I need badly, with my 'hurry up', ever-busy personality.
Cindy Richard
Dec 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Perfect for reminding writers that we need to slow down and observe the world to really make lasting contributions to the field. I underlined several passages in this book, and I return to it often for inspiration.
Feb 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A delicious read! Read it slowly, savor it. Enjoy.
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
After reaching a point of creative burnout recently, I picked up this book and gave myself necessary time to slow down. The writing is beautiful and poetic, and written in such a way that naturally slows down the reader. I took my time to savor and contemplate the words, and enjoyed the inclusion of poetry to illustrate the concepts presented throughout the chapters. The principles suggested in the book are simple, but so easily forgotten in our fast-paced world. And they really do work.

The more
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
In this book, Christian McEwen examines the relationship between slowing down and creativity. She has drawn from a large body of literature that supports slowing down as a way of increasing one's creativity. Taking time to slow down and observe one's environment and taking time to talk with friends instead of texting them. She has provided a large bibliography of the sources that she used while writing the book.

I enjoyed reading this book. I did take my time reading it. I think that if you are w
Dina London
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
So, it took me almost a year and a half to listen to this whole book. But, it wasn't because I didn't like it. In fact, it is a lovely book and I absolutely recommend it. It is read by the author and she reads very slowly and soothingly. The experience is almost meditative. Her stories are beautiful, heart warming, spiritual, and profound. It is the perfect book to read/listen to right before bed or when you need to feel a sense of calm.
John Fredrickson
Jul 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology, spiritual
I really enjoyed many sections of this book, but felt that it was over-long. It is a feast of personal stories as well as stories related from others about the benefits of slowing down to enjoy life.
tonia peckover
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful, thoughtful exploration of the many ways we can open space in our interior lives for peace, mindful engagement, and creativity. My copy is full of notes. As soon as I finished it, I turned to the front and started again. Marvelous book.
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I took a long time to read this book in print format, savoring it. I found it genuinely illuminating. I hope I absorbed some of its lessons.
Valorie Hallinan
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
World Enough & Time is a great book, totally unique, one you'll keep for the ages. More on my blog, Books Can Save a Life, at
Nov 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
What a disappointment. I thought it would be a positive book (I bought it on audiobook) about working a slower pace into your life (something I've already become quite good at)...and instead it's a diatribe of frantic raving about the problems of the world - all of which are blamed on pace.
Not uplifting, not enjoyable, not relaxing, not slowing, not...anything useful, unless you like to immerse yourself in 'everything is wrong' thinking. A real disappointment. When you feel you could write more
Sep 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Why do we rush? What do we miss out on by doing so? What could we discover (about ourselves, the world, our place in the universe) if we stopped? These are the questions McEwen is considering here. She does so through looking at the thoughts and writings of a wide variety of people, including the Transcendentalists, Buddhist teachers, and numerous people of her acquaintance. It took me a long time to read this book because I found much to stop and consider, much to savor about it as I went along ...more
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an important book to read in learning how to take back valuable time that slips through our fingers. It is time that is so important to creativity. The author has a simple solution: just say no to the endless demands on our time that are really meaningless: "Refuse to race in the mad race of time." The author's mantra: refuse and choose. Refuse things that waste time, and choose time for creative practice. Slowing down, according to the author, is a "tremendous source of joy." By slowing ...more
May 18, 2012 rated it liked it
This book seems to be full of encouragement if you are struggling with time and are a newbie at wrestling with coming to terms with what is important in your life. I'm giving it two stars for personal reasons--I think I've already done the soul searching for what is important to me therefore my time issues just need to be continued to be 'managed.' I probably would have gotten more from this book 15-20 years ago.
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
This book served as a reinforcement of my own belief that our lives are richer if spent outdoors in nature and in pursuit of a simpler life...I guess it makes sense that someone drawn to this belief would be attracted to reading this book. I did learn something new. Christian McEwen mentions the japanese practice of naikan. Without going into detail, this could have a profound impact on how you view your life and relationships. Interesting!
Cheryl Crotty
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I liked this book. It had a lot to offer. Stories, quotes from authors. Interesting context about our world today and yesterday. It was also written with stand alone chapters so if one didn't interest you, you could easily pass it over. I did that twice. This is a keeper to refer back to from time to time. I did a lot of underlining.
Liz Forester
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There aren't enough stars to rate how much I enjoyed this book. I rarely buy books anymore (instead choosing to utilize the library) but this is a book that I will buy and probably reference over and over and over again. I'd call it our generations Walden.
Aug 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-the-spirit
A contemplative book that explores the concept of "slowing." Each essay builds upon the five senses in an effort to support creative efforts. Easy to read and put down, and then explore some more. Nicely done.
Dec 18, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a great book for keeping in the car or by a favorite chair as it isn't a "read straight through" book, it isn't written to be done in a chapter after chapter manner, but more of a read & mus, read & muse way.
May 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
I tried to read this over and over based on recommendations from friends - but couldn't get into it.

"McEwen realized that nothing comes easily when life is conducted at a high rate of speed," sadly including reading this book.....
Nov 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: real-book
It took me a while to get through this, which means I applied the principles therein at least somewhat. Some inspiring thoughts and simple tactics, and it made me consider my time a little differently.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • An Absorbing Errand: How Artists and Craftsmen Make Their Way to Mastery
  • Making Art a Practice: How to Be the Artist You Are
  • Making Color Sing: Practical Lessons in Color and Design
  • The Trickster's Hat: A Mischievous Apprenticeship in Creativity
  • Slowing Down to the Speed of Life: How To Create A More Peaceful, Simpler Life From the Inside Out
  • Take My Advice: Letters to the Next Generation from People Who Know a Thing or Two
  • Freehand: Sketching Tips and Tricks Drawn from Art
  • The Daily Writer: 366 Meditations To Cultivate A Productive And Meaningful Writing Life
  • The Writer's Desk
  • The Drawing Projects: An Exploration of the Language of Drawing
  • The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life
  • Painted Pages: Fueling Creativity with Sketchbooks and Mixed Media
  • A Writer's Guide to Persistence: How to Create a Lasting and Productive Writing Practice
  • The Sense of Sight
  • The Soul of Place: A Creative Writing Workbook: Ideas and Exercises for Conjuring the Genius Loci
  • The Writer's Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life
  • Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life through the Power of Storytelling
  • Genius Explained
See similar books…
“Walking, talking, reading, drawing, praying, telling stories: the nourishment is there, as close as our own breath. We only have to pause a moment, notice, and enjoy.” 4 likes
More quotes…