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World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down
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World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  210 ratings  ·  43 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)
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Average rating 4.19  · 
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 ·  210 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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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
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was an enjoyable bedside read. A warmly and intelligently written breviary that makes a persuasive case for slowing down and taking our time to engage in mundane but potentially transformative activities: reading, playing, observing, journaling, reminiscing. The book is a necessary antidote to the contemporary regime of hyperactivity and hyperstimulation that is eroding our agency, creativity and humanity. One of the sections I highlighted is this account of the good life, given by Confuciu ...more
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. ...more
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.

Claire O'Sullivan
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
‘Only one hour of the normal day is more pleasurable than the hour spent in bed with a book before going to sleep and that is the hour spent in bed with a book after being called in the morning’ Rose Macauley

This was my holiday read book choice and I loved it . The art of slowing down, not fitting more in, simply doing the things I love slowly and mindfully - conversation, walking, looking, practising joy and happiness. Read in Kikudbright, Scotland an artists town. A perfect combination of book
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 cre
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. ...more
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. ...more
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
Andrea Stoeckel
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
(n.b This book was my #firstbook2021)

"For fast acting relief from stress, try slowing down"~ Lily Tomlin

This is the opening quote of this book. I had been introduced to this author's work from her little book of daily wisdom:"The Tortoise Diaries", which contains quotes and snippets from this larger work, now in it's 7th printing. With wry humor, McEwen reflects her friends' response to the idea of a book on slowing down:hurry up with that book. Instead, she presents a book chock full of wisdom,
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. ...more
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you’re interested in art, creativity, and slowing down, this is a good resource. Good but not great. Too much of the book was dedicated to obscure examples that didn’t add much for me. Also, McEwen sometimes hit things so on the nose that I was underlining and copying quote after quote, then the next pages fell flat. There was an unevenness to this overall, but I’d still recommend it and plan to revisit it in the future.
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed listening to this book. I liked the way it completed each section by giving tasks to help you put the topic into practice. I have yet to attend to completing those tasks, but I do intend to try many of them. The sprinkling of stories supported the topics in entertaining ways and it was relaxing in its presentation.
John Fredrickson
Jul 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: spiritual, psychology
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 ...more
Cristina Tarahumara
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a tranquil and contemplative book. The author steers you here and there, as if in a gently rocking rowboat and takes you to many gems that are often overlooked when you move too fast. A book asking us to ebb in order to silence ourselves and deeply look and analyze our surroundings. So often we hurry through not ratifying the magic and medicine that is all around us. It's written with such ease, it takes some restraint to not gulp it down too fast so as to satiate as quickly as possible. ...more
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. ...more
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!
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