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In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed [Paperback]

Carl Honore
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 28 2004
In the tradition of such trailblazing books as No Logo and The Tipping Point, In Praise of Slow heralds a growing international movement of people dedicated to slowing down the pace of our contemporary times and enjoying a richer, fuller life as a result.

These days, almost everyone complains about the hectic pace of their lives. We live in a world where speed rules and everyone is under pressure to go faster. But when speed is king, anyone or anything that gets in our way, that slows us down, becomes an enemy. Thanks to speed, we are living in the age of rage.

Carl Honore has discovered a movement that is quickly working its way into the mainstream. Groups of people are developing a recipe for living better in a fast-paced, modern environment by striving for a new balance between fast and slow. In an entertaining and hands-on investigation of this new movement, Honore takes us from a Tantric sex workshop in a trendy neighbourhood in London, England to Bra, Italy, the home of the Slow Food, Slow Cities and Slow Sex movements. He examines how we can continue to live productive lives by embracing the tenets of the slow movement.

A challenging take on the cult of speed, as well as a corrective look at how we can approach our lives with new understanding, In Praise of Slow uncovers a movement whose time has come.


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This is an important, engaging book. Subtitled "How a Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed," In Praise of Slow explores the "Slow" revolution as it applies to food, city life, cars, medicine, sex, work and children. Probably best known for the Slow Food movement, which began in Italy in response to fast food, Slow has branched out in many directions. Thirty cities in Italy have now designated themselves as Slow Cities, meaning they do everything they can to consider the quality of life in their urban centers rather than merely the economic impact of regulations. This results in fewer cars, less smog, more biking and walking, and more small shops.

Honoré points out that the cult of speed has been with us since the Industrial Revolution, and it's getting worse, with businesses routinely expecting 60 to 80 hours a week from workers, young children with the schedules of high-powered executives, rampant road rage, and doctors who don't have time to listen to their patients. "Boredom ... is a modern invention," the author states. "Remove all stimulation, and we fidget, panic and look for something, anything, to do to make use of the time." But Honoré is no true-believer--he questions every aspect of the Slow movement and keeps coming up with the conclusion that it just makes sense: life in the slow lane is more enjoyable, more pleasurable, more humane. This is a remarkable book that should be read by every resident of today's frenzied urban world. --Mark Frutkin --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“The No Logo of its age…. Strangely enthralling, an epiphany for those of us who have forgotten how to look forward to things or enjoy the moment when it arrives.”
The Herald (UK)

“Honoré is particularly good at detailing the addictive properties and vagaries of speed, and its ill effects on individuals and society, including himself.”
The Globe and Mail

“It’s about time someone took issue with the underlying mentality that sets our daily metronome.... Those who savour this hopeful book one chapter at a time will be the biggest winners. It’s seductively crafted in this way ... measuring out its subversive but ultimately healing message.”
Edmonton Journal

“Honoré offers compelling evidence that suggests controlling your own tempo of life is not only a healthier and happier alternative, but leads to a more rewarding and productive lifestyle.”
Toronto Star

"Life is getting faster, no doubt about it. We rush everything: we eat fast food, have quickie sex, drive like maniacs, and compete hard for fast-paced jobs. We wish to slow down and slack off, but we're afraid we'll fail... A London-based journalist, Honoré shows us the benefits of slowness, with chapters on food, transportation, meditation and exercise, medicine, sex, work, and parenting…. This book presents ideas and resources that will be new to most readers and is recommended for both public and academic libraries."
Library Journal Review

"A former 'speedaholic,' an award-winning Canadian journalist advocates living a slower, more measured existence, in virtually every area, a philosophy he defines as 'balance.' The author explores, in convincing and skillful prose, a quiet revolution known as 'the slow movement,' which is attempting to integrate the advances of the information age into a lifestyle that is marked by an 'inner slowness' that gives more depth to relationships with others and with oneself. For the overprogrammed and stressed, slow and steady may win the race."
Publisher's Weekly

"Honoré‘s engaging report should be embraced by those with quality-of-life and environmental concerns."
Booklist

"Try reading this book one chapter a day — it is worth allowing its subversive message to sink slowly in so it has a chance of changing your life."
—Bill McKibben, author of Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age and The End of Nature

"The speed of life borders on insanity for an increasing number of us, and the price we pay is the erosion of our happiness and health. If you sometimes feel engulfed by the mad pace of modern life — and who doesn't? — Carl Honoré's In Praise of Slow could prove life-saving."
—Larry Dossey, MD, Author:  Healing Beyond the Body and Reinventing Medicine

"In this terrific book, Carl Honoré gets to the heart of what's ailing western industrial societies — our obsession with productivity, speed and consumerism — but he doesn't stop with the gloom and doom. Instead, he shows the way out, with inspiring examples from the growing worldwide 'slow ' movement. Take the time to read this important, excellently written  book — our future depends on the ideas it contains!"
—John de Graaf, co-author, Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic, and editor, Take Back Your Time

"It's about time someone insisted — in intelligent, persuasive language — that we all put on the brakes, or at least check the instruments on the dashboard. Through anecdote, statistic and argument, Honoré wants to convert us to an atheism that is opposed to this culture's mad theology of speed."
— Billy Collins, former US Poet Laureate

"Entrepreneur and slow may seem like oxymorons. However, taking the time to read Carl Honoré's In Praise of Slow may be the best decision an entrepreneur, or anyone working full time, can make."
— Gary Erickson, Entrepreneur & CEO of Clif Bar Inc., and Author of Raising the Bar

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great synthesis May 19 2004
By sean s.
Format:Hardcover
There were positive reviews of this book in the Globe & Mail and the Toronto Star, but I was still pleasantly surprised at how excellent it is. To sum it up: this is this year's No Logo.
Like Naomi Klein, Carl Honore pulls together a number of apparently disparate but ultimately related themes: Slow Food, Slow Cities, Slow Sex, Slow Leisure etc. and not surprisingly, it is a book which merits a slow read: Honore has important and even quite deep reflections on almost each page of the book! You could read a few pages a day, and add significantly to your quality of life by following his sage advice, which is both rationally presented and which intuitively rings true.
If quality of life is important to you, and you liked No Logo, Fast Food Nation, and Fire and Ice, you will likely appreciate this wonderful book. A gem, one of the best non-fiction books of 2004.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book club material Sept. 11 2005
Format:Paperback
We chose this book for our book club and it proved to be a great choice. It's very well written, researched and argued. The author sums up the dominant problem of the modern world, that there is too much speed in everything we do, and gives lots of cool examples from around the world of how "slow" is helping people live, work, whatever better. I recognized myself in some of the examples of pointless hurry and laughed out loud a few times. It's just an awesome read and everyone in this insane too-fast culture of ours should pick up a copy. All the members of our group enjoyed the book and we had our best debate in a long time. I already know what some of my faster friends are getting for Christmas.
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2.0 out of 5 stars This maybe deserves 2.5 stars. Sept. 7 2013
Format:Paperback
I found myself enjoying this book simply because I enjoy reading about people slowing down. Somehow, oddly, it slows me down a little more. This can only last so long (it won't hold me for an entire book) and I didn't end up finishing it because it just didn't seem to have enough "meat". It's difficult to explain but there just wasn't much concrete material (suggestions on how to slow down, ways in which to deal with the struggles that might typically follow,...).
I had just finished reading Nurture Shock (amazing!) and they had dealt with the question of why kids are so overweight as of recent. They reached a clear conclusion with solid evidence. It is *not* that kids watch too much TV.
In Praise of Slow suggests that kids watch way too much TV now and he supported this by quoting one (what seemed to be random) teacher who said that she agreed for sure. Really? That's it? No studies, no research? (Nurture Shock actually showed that kids today watch only a slight bit more TV than decades past.)
This last part just seemed sloppy to me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worth slowing down for....! Jan. 7 2013
By Andrea
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Slowing down enough in my life to actually read this book was a challenge.
Well worth it...I will be mindful of a slower pace in all areas of my life from this moment forward, enjoying "moments in time"....which is really all we realistically have!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Sept. 2 2008
By Alex
Format:Paperback
I had expected to like this book, but in the end I found it too shallow and predictable. It's a decent journalist's effort, nicely written, and he finds some good interview subjects, but the same basic points are stated and re-stated with not much new insight brought to the subject. I began to get a little (dare I say it?!) impatient with it all when I began to see early signs that the author was stretching his material. If you've never read any other critique of the commercialized, industrialized speeded-up economy we live in, then you might find this book enlightening, but if you have read others on this subject, especially with an emphasis on food (which is the heart of the Slow movement), I'd say skip this one.
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