By Carl Honore
We live in the age of speed. The world around us moves faster than ever before. We strain to be more efficient, to cram more into each minute, each hour, each day. Since the Industrial Revolution shifted the world into high gear, the cult of speed has pushed us to abreaking point. Consider these facts: Americans spend 40 percent less time with their children than they did in the 1960s; the average American spends seventy-two minutes of every day behind the wheel of a car; a typical business executive now loses sixty-eight hours a year to being put on hold; and American adults currently devote on average a meager half hour per week to making love.
Living on the edge of exhaustion, we are constantly reminded by our bodies and minds that the pace of life is spinning out of control. In Praise of Slowness traces the history of our increasingly breathless relationship with time, and tackles the consequences and conundrum of living in this accelerated culture of our own creation. Why are we always in such a rush? What is the cure for time-sickness? Is it possible, or even desirable, to slow down? Realizing the price we pay for unrelenting speed, people all over the world are reclaiming their time and slowing down the pace — and living happier, more productive, and healthier lives as a result. A Slow revolution is taking place.
But here you will find no Luddite calls to overthrow technology and seek a pre-industrial utopia. This is a modern revolution, championed by e-mailing, cell phone-using lovers of sanity. The Slow philosophy can be summed up in a single word — balance. People are discovering energy and efficiency where we may have least expected — in slowing down.
In this engaging and entertaining exploration, award-winning journalist and rehabilitated speedaholic Carl Honoré details our perennial love affair with efficiency and speed in a perfect blend of anecdotal reportage, history, and intellectual inquiry. In Praise of Slowness is the first comprehensive look at the worldwide Slow movements making their way into the mainstream — in offices, factories, neighborhoods, kitchens, hospitals, concert halls, bedrooms, gyms, and schools. Defining a movement that is here to stay, this spirited manifesto will make you completely rethink your relationship with time.