When journalist Carl Honore realized that he was trying to speed up his life to such an extent that he actually wanted to rush through his son’s bedtime story, he knew that something was wrong. I first heard of Carl Honore when I watched his TED talk about the same topic, slowness, and it was a fascinating talk. (Go here to watch.) Funnily enough, a few weeks later, I saw the book In Praise of Slow when I was browing the shelves at Blossom. Serendipity.
In Praise of Slow is an introduction to the slow movement that is sweeping across the world as a way of fighting back the “cult of speed”. You may have heard of the Slow Food movement and there are equivalents for work, cities, sex, medicine, etc. Honore deals with all these topics in his book, which is a really interesting read.
Almost everyone will agree that speed dominates almost all aspects of our lives now and this book forces you to question the paradigm that faster is better and shows you how going slow can sometimes lead to a much better quality of life. Honore makes it clear that sometimes fast is good but emphasizes that there needs to be a balance between the slow and the fast.
The health benefits of going slower cannot be underestimated. Lower stress and anxiety because of less frantic rushing for example. Taking time to smell the literal roses can make life better. If you slow down, you’ll immediately start to notice things that were not “visible” before and you’ll also realize how going slow makes you more effective.
In Praise of Slow brings a wonderful, albeit forgotten concept to the fore and just for that it’s a book worth reading.