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In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  5,308 ratings  ·  772 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
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 6th 2005 by HarperOne (first published December 28th 2004)
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Ian "Marvin" Graye
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
Sep 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: stopped-reading
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
Oct 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 20, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Ironically this book was way too 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 contin
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
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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 this 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 im
Corneliu Dascalu
It definitely lives up to its subject. It is slow going, and often repeats the same ideas over and over again. Ironically, despite reading about slowing down, I found myself skipping entire paragraphs or pages.
The author is a journalist at heart, and it shows. The book has an investigative tint, almost like trying to prove it's point. And it doesn't really have to. After all, hardly anyone needs to be convinced slowing down is a good idea. We're aware that health, family, relationships, finances
Mar 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing





: ?







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

Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
despite the subject matter, this book feels weirdly corporate, like your boss sending out a mass email to all employees about the benefits of the new company gym. no thanks, carl
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Honore has written about an insightful perspective that makes me think about how I can use my time better, feel less stressed in life, and achieve more balance and more meaningful connections with other people and with subjects that I learn.

Here are some of my favorite quotes or experiences shared in this book:

"The problem is that our love of speed, our obsession with doing more and more in less and less time, has gone too far; it has turned into an addiction, a kind of idolatry."

"Inevitably, a
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Carolyn Gerk
Jan 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
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,
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
May 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
This looked really promising, a nice read on slowing down and enjoying life a little more. Each chapter deals with slowing down one aspect of life, i.e. cooking, work, medicine (doctors), or leisure, etc. It had a few practical application ideas, but seemed to mostly be full of grand, sweeping statements like "All over the world, people are embracing the idea of Slow Food." (Or education, or whatever.) "Everywhere, from the western metropolises to eastern gardens, people are realizing the benefi ...more
Loved the title, didn’t care for the book. Never finished it.

As a self-confessed turtle, when I first heard about this book back in ’05 I thought it would speak my language. It didn’t. My book mark said I read the first chapter.

There are good ideas and I wholeheartedly agree with his premise which is to slow down and appreciate life more. Heck, my cats teach me that every day! Grab a cup of your favorite refreshment, a book or rosary, and curl up with your fluffy pet. Get off the computer! (Gon
Anna Dalhaimer Bartkowski
Nov 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
A Severs
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In true Slow fashion it took me a long time to read this book, dipping in and out every now and then between reading novels and other books.

I can honestly say that it has changed my perceptions about life and has reaffirmed others. I would say that this has been partly instrumental in changes I've made to make my life less hectic and I can really feel the benefits.
Jon Barr
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I listened to this audiobook at 2x speed. The irony is not lost on me.
Oct 04, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was immensely frustrating for several reasons, some pettier than others. First I'll start with the nice things.

The nice things: I agreed with probably like, 80% of this book, and with all of Honoré's major points. We should, as a society, slow down. We're all run ragged by our obsession with doing as much as possible in as little time as possible. Burnout, isolation, and depression are rampant in our culture, and that has probably only changed for the worse since this book was publishe
May 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-write-think
I picked this up because I read Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy. There are some very valid points in here. However, many of his ideas have big, unstated caveats. There's downsides to everything he mentions, so I can't give this book a high rating.

I really appreciated his praise of homeschooling. I also valued his point that people are speeding through tasks and through time as a distraction away from the thought of death or the emptiness of the post-modern world.
Matija Penezić
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Quite a good overview of the Slow movement across the globe. I must say I was expecting a more philosophical approach but still it was an enjoyable and easy read. The only gripe is that now on 2019 this book is 15 years old and many of the information and statistics can be considered old and perhaps even irrelevant for us today.
May 16, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Quit halfway through. A bunch of anecdotal stories that have very little in common. Author constantly tries to take quotes from people in one town and use it as scientific evidence that his viewpoint is obviously true.
Mar 10, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: added, dnf
I was unable to finish this book due to a move I made. I had to purge my books so this was donated to my local library. Having said that, I really enjoyed the beginning and hope to read it again someday in full. I think it's an important book for our century. ...more
Carolyn Tragasz
The book was well researched, although a bit dated at this point. I agree strongly with the thesis, however, there are only so many ways one can say "Slow is better" and it started to feel like overkill by the end. I didn't need an entire essays full of anecdotes although they were sometimes full of fun tisbits, they often left me ungaged. The essays on slow sex and slow music were two of the better ones IMO. The info about humanity's relationship to time and clocks was interesting to consider a ...more
Spirited Stardust
Sep 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
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
Apr 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Nimue Brown
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good book. I no doubt think this in part because there is nothing in it I'd argue with, it reflects many of my beliefs about what constitutes a good life, and the ways in which modern rushing and an obsession with ownership actually take more from us than they give. If you're well and truly in the rat race and live by scheduals, then a book like this is going to come as a total system shock, I see scope for disbelief, if not anger. For those who are already under way with de-clutt ...more
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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

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  The glint of fangs in the dark, the sound of tap-tap-tapping at your window, the howling of wind (or is it just wind?) in the trees...that's...
278 likes · 51 comments
“The best thing about knitting is its slowness," says Murphy. "It is so slow that we see the beauty inherent in every tiny act that makes up a sweater. So slow that we know the project is not going to get finished today--it may not get finished for many months or longer--and that allows us to make our peace with the unresolved nature of life. We slow down as we knit.” 16 likes
“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.” 15 likes
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