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In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  4,117 ratings  ·  593 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 ...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
...more
Bob
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
...more
Natali
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
...more
Yuliya
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 ...more
Julia
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: http://www.slowmovement.com/

And the author of the book, Carl Honoré, has a TED talk from 2005: http://www.ted.com/talks/carl_honore_...

And his own website: http://www.carlhonore.com/

The book is an
...more
Leah
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
...more
Cass
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
...more
Leaning-Good
Mar 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing


:/

:-

:=

:+

: ?

:3

:o

:}

:]

:)

:D

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

[Ha],
Suka
Rachel
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
Matt
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
...more
Aron
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
...more
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
...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
Ľuboš
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 ...more
Katie
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 ...more
booklady
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!
...more
Anna Dalhaimer Bartkowski
Nov 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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, http://www.inpraiseofslow.com/slow/in..., counters the allure the ...more
Kris
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.
...more
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.
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.
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, ...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, ...more
Kylie
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 life...to be busy when I wanted to be and to be empowered to jump off life's treadmill when someone else was dictating a ...more
C-shaw
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Enlightening!!
"At the gate, I join the back end of a long lineup, where there is nothing to do except, well, nothing."
"My whole life has turned into an exercise in hurry, in packing more and more into every hour."
"These days, the whole world is time-sick. We all belong to the same cult of speed."
". . . Japan, where the locals have a word--karoshi--that means 'death by overwork.'"
"Overwork is a health hazard in other ways, too. It leaves less time and energy for exercise, and makes us more likely
...more
Natalie
Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Kenia Sedler
Carl Honoré delivers a well-researched survey of all the various ways within various aspects of life (career, food, sex, leisure, parenting, etc.) people are downshifting to slower speeds in order to reclaim their sanity and happiness. This book was also well-written and I found it interesting throughout.

So why just a two-star “It was OK” rating? Mainly because I didn’t feel like I learned anything. I didn’t experience any eureka moments triggered by anything Honoré says that made me look at my
...more
Daniel Stewart
Overall this was an informative introduction to the Slow Movement, embedded with the personal struggle and success stories of Honoré and others. The tone felt very human, imperfect, and personable, which generally worked in its humble persuasion.

All this being said, I have two major complaints. First, this book covers such an abundance of subject that it fails to really hit on any of them with depth. Its a great overview, but remains surficial. Second, the book is terribly outdated in 2018.
...more
Jesse S.
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I like the idea, but here’s the formula for each chapter: here’s an area in which things go fast: isn’t that terrible? Here are examples of fast people being miserable. Here’s how some people [with resources, abilities, support structure, etc.] slow this down. Isn’t that nice? Here are some examples of people, mostly Italians, slowly living life to the fullest.

There. I’ve saved you 4 hours, which you can now spend taking slow walks while listening to nature, eating leisurely meals, having
...more
Nico Genes
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I don’t know if the book’s message itself made me read it slower than other books or it was just a coincidence :-) While I found the idea interesting and even some things that I could apply or confirmation for others, I do believe it will more or less stay there. It is obvious that the author did lots of research and covered many fields. It was easy to follow though somehow it lacked a deeper philosophical analysis that I was expected having in mind the title. It really does make you think, but ...more
Twila Newey
I liked this book. He covered everything from work to driving to sex and made a compelling argument for slowing down. Of course this philosophy appeals to me as it pairs neatly with paring down what we own, thinking carefully before buying more, more time to connect with kids, less screen time, more home cooking, more walks, more quiet time. I think some of his arguments were a stretch and I didn't check the statistics he used, but generally, I think finding ways to slow down and just be is ...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 ...more
“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.” 12 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.” 12 likes
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