Books : reviews

Carl Honoré.
In Praise of Slow: how a worldwide movement is challenging the cult of speed.
Orion. 2004

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 23 May 2018

These days our culture teaches us that faster is better. But in the race to keep up, everything suffers – our work, diet and health, our relationships and sex lives. We are in such a hurry that anyone or anything that slows us down becomes the enemy.

Carl Honoré uncovers a movement that challenges the cult of speed by proving that slower is often better. The Slow movement is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace; it is about living better in the hectic modern world by striking a balance between fast and slow. From a Tantric sex workshop in London and a SuperSlow exercise studio in New York to Italy, home of the Slow Food, Slow Cities and Slow Sex movement, Honoré’s entertaining investigation reveals how we can live more productive, fulfilling lives by embracing the philosophy of Slow.

After reading The Slow Professor I said that “I must read more about this Slow Movement. If I can find the time.” Well, I found the time.

That former book is about the Slow Movement in academia. This present book is about the Slow Movement more generally. It shows through anecdotes and discussion how slowing down improves enjoyment of many aspects of life: food, living in a city, health, medicine, sex, work, leisure time, educating children.

The central tenet of the Slow philosophy is taking the time to do things properly, and thereby enjoy them more.

I’m not sure it needs a whole book to preach the message “quality, not quantity”, but maybe that’s because it’s here preaching to the converted. Taking the philosophy at its word, I resisted the temptation to skim read. Not all the stories have continued along their initial slow paths in the intervening decade; nevertheless they add up to a convincing argument for living life in the slow, but high quality, lane.