I see I taste I write Links What?
July 21, 2006

In Praise of Slowness

Carl Honore – ISBN – 006054578X

This is a terrific book, and really ought to be read a chapter a day to allow for reflection on its content.

In our high speed, near apoplectic society—one in which instant gratification no longer seems fast enough—there is neither time to be nor time to enjoy. “Take time to smell the roses” as goes the old saw.

Honore, a (former) type A’ personality, who is a journalist by trade, was stimulated to reflect upon the conundrum and eventually write this book. What “stopped [him] in his tracks” was a book he saw rushing thru an airport store. The title: The One-Minute Bedtime Story (various authors having condensed classic fairy tales into sixty-second sound bites.) Tempting for the first minute or so, by which time he was brought up short in reflecting whether life was really that short, and time so valuable that you had to read to your kid, allowing only a minute at bedtime.

Thus he launches into (too) longwinded reviews of everything from working speeds, family time, cooking and eating—work and leisure in general, and makes some profound observations which are better when savored, as mentioned up front.

My problem with the book is that he reminds of Robert Ardrey (African Genesis, The Hunting Hypothesis, and The Social Contract, all published in the early to mid-1960’s.) He makes his point, and then makes it again and again . . . and again. A good editor could have made the book half the length without leaving out anything important. (But maybe my A’ personality should take a few lessons . . . that is a possibility.)

In any event, he does make his points well, ventures into much territory which he notes is being explored with increasing frequency in the West. More people are practicing “slowness” and finding life more precious and more satisfying.

Chapter titles include, among others: doctors and patience; the importance of being at rest, raising an unhurried child and slow is beautiful.

It really is a good read, and the concepts are more than worthy of consideration. I’d recommend it highly, though I found myself reading carefully for the first half of each chapter and skimming what remained up till the summary paragraph.

Posted by respeto at July 21, 2006 4:38 PM