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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 8 June 2006
Carl Honore's "In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed" does pretty much what it says on the tin, discussing how to introduce consideration of the speed in which we do things to most aspects of life. It's an enjoyable read, and while I don't feel I need most of its message -I'm fairly well up on taking things as slowly as they deserve- I got some new ideas. I've played with some of the suggestions, and it's certainly been interesting - my urge to multi-task, for example, which asserts itself constantly irrespective of how inadequate I may be at it, can be quelled enough for me to enjoy just doing one thing. This requires much concentration, but it's nice to find out that I -can- do it if necessary. My favourite quote from the book is Einstein's not Honore's: "Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid. Human beings are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant."
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on 4 January 2006
This book is the voice of sanity in an increasing insane world. It challenges the cult of speed and shows that it does not deliver quality of life. Infact the opposite. It gives inspiring case studies of people and organisations who have slowed down and reaped real benefits. It is a very wide ranging book that examines transport, food, health and even sex to name but a few things. I found that I could not put this book down, it is well written and would recommend it to anyone who thinks that there has to be more to life.
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on 3 April 2010
I started this book with high hopes - clearly too high, as what I found disappointed me. There are a few good general points about lifestyles and how they have changed over the centuries. A lot of the actual conclusions are quite salient, however where it falls down is on the specific subjects it deals with. The author approaches everything with a "wow, isn't this cool" attitude, as if everything were the latest fad to "get into" before it goes out of fashion. One example he gives of people slowing down is "[women] in their Ralph Lauren jackets and Prada shoes, knitting up a storm on the subway or in the big, comfy chairs at Starbucks". Somehow I don't think the emphasis in that sentence is on the knitting... What must also be said is that the book is written firmly from a upper-middle-class perspective, particularly in the chapter about schooling ("Since the local state primaries were below par, they began touring private schools in the area"), so don't expect too many of the examples to apply to you unless you're from that demographic. Altogether, good for a (very) brief perusal, but don't expect any depth.
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on 3 July 2013
I loved this book, and tried to make it last as long as I could, instead of devouring it in a day! In fact, I'm going to start reading it again, as there is so much to ponder on and assimilate! It accompanied me on my bus ride to work, which proved the ideal time to dip in and out of it, in a setting where I could be distracted by little else. I've told friends and family about it, seeing as I enjoyed it so much. Recommended, very " readable", inspirational but not too airy-fairy, it gives realistic ways of actually adopting slow elements in our lives.
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VINE VOICEon 17 February 2006
Another book in the mould of "No Logo" and "Willing Slaves", which takes examples from various aspects of our overbusy lives, from work through to sex, to challenge the ever-increasing pace of the daily whirl and offer an alternative way of living.
Clearly aware of the scepticism with which his attitude is likely to be greeted in some quarters, Honore's direct, straightforward style prevents the book ever becoming prescriptive. Instead, his realistic approach offers a viable prospect of a more enjoyable, fulfilling lifestyle which can be achieved with a few simple adjustments to the way we do things. Inspiring.
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VINE VOICEon 9 March 2006
Carl Honore is not just a luddite voice crying "stop the world, I want to get off" and with one eye on the line his detractors will take points out that he is not against speed when speed is necessary but he is against speed for speed's sake. By all means put in the overtime when the deadline looms but why put in the overtime just for the sake of being seen to be chained to your desk or why set a deadline which is impossible to achieve without overtime.
Honore surveys the world as it is and the movements that can bring it back to a human pace. At times this risks tripping too far into the touchy feely world of new age movements and each chapter will either resonate with the reader or irritate them. Chapters on subjects such as holistic medicine and tantric sex will divide the readership largely along lines defined by their attitude before they read this. Yet despite that there is a practical approach here to slowing down even if you take up not a single one of the practices. You can still come away with the message that slowing down and doing one thing right is better than a high speed portfolio of errors.
The disparate ideas he brings together, whether you agree with individual examples or not, combine to present a persuasive argument that speed is not a virtue in its own right and we can all improve our lives by living and working at a more human pace.
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on 16 March 2017
Well written and the case nicely explained. Serves as a good counter argument to current economic thinking!
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on 30 December 2012
A must read for everyone really - far too many of us rush about - travel fast, speak fast, eat fast and drink fast. Slow down, take stock and enjoy life sip by sip not gulp by gulp. Even if you think you're too busy to read this book, or you can't go slower because then you wont get so much done, you're wrong, this will just help you do things more effectively and do them better.
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on 10 June 2005
I do not read books outside work very often but my girlfriend pestered me into reading this one and I am glad she did. In modern society it is so easy to get caught up in the fast track and we all need a reality check. This book did it for me. Honore explains really clearly why we are all in such a hurry, why it is bad for us and how we can live better by slowing down a bit. What I particularly liked was that the author never preaches. He is not some New Age guru. He is a journalist who lives in London. He shows you how other people around the world are putting the "Slow philosophy" into practise. I am already looking at my lifestyle with new eyes. I even had dinner at the table with my girlfriend the other day instead of in front of the telly. There are some laughs along the way in this book and Honore has a very good writing style. I have been recommending this book to friends and am looking forward to the author's next book.
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on 1 October 2006
I read "In Praise of Slow" earlier this year after a chance meeting with it in a bookshop in my town; and I can say with absolute certainty that it is the only book that I have read that has changed my entire outlook on life. That alone is sufficient to give it a rating of five stars. How then has it changed me?

It has changed me by allowing me to understand its message: do not do as much as you can as fast as you can. If this strikes you as common sense, then you probably belong to the category of people who do not need to read the book but would nonetheless enjoy it. It is perhaps a problem for books such as this that it is only people with at least a glimmering notion of the light that it reflects who will bother to read it; some people will "not have time to read it" because they are so busy.

The book is not about taking everything slowly (I wonder whether I ought to repeat that), but about taking everything at the right speed. In our twenty-first-century world we are more often going too fast than too slow, so the book will inevitably concentrate on slowing down. There is a difference which not all previous reviewers seem to have noticed between "slow", adjective, and "Slow", social movement: it is the latter with which this book is concerned.

The right speed: the "Tempo Giusto". I am a musician, so the pages of the book that discussed this were of particular interest to me. I had not come across a "Tempo Giusto" movement before, though I had come across the term. It means either "just or exact rhythm" or "the speed that the style of the music demands (usually Moderato)" (The Oxford Companion to Music). The phrase is not used very often in the context of music as a tempo designation, because it does not convey any information to the musician: "at the right speed"; no composer is going to instruct the player to play the music "at the wrong speed", or almost no composer. And taking it to mean merely what it says, and not implying "moderato", a fast tempo is appropriate for an allegro piece, and a slow tempo for an andante. The idea of "Tempo Giusto" is appropriate not only in music but in all aspects of life.

Read this book Slowly; take your time; enjoy it. You will not be wasting your time. I hope you will have deleted that expression from your vocabulary by the time you finish reading "In Praise of Slow".
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