In Praise of Slow

This is an important, engaging book. Subtitled “How a Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed,” In Praise of Slow explores the “Slow” revolution as it applies to food, city life, cars, medicine, sex, work and children. Probably best known for the Slow Food movement, which began in Italy in response to fast food, Slow has branched out in many directions. Thirty cities in Italy have now designated themselves as Slow Cities, meaning they do everything they can to consider the quality of life in their urban centers rather than merely the economic impact of regulations. This results in fewer cars, less smog, more biking and walking, and more small shops. Honoré points out that the cult of speed has been with us since the Industrial Revolution, and it’s getting worse, with businesses routinely expecting 60 to 80 hours a week from workers, young children with the schedules of high-powered executives, rampant road rage, and doctors who don’t have time to listen to their patients. “Boredom … is a modern invention,” the author states. “Remove all stimulation, and we fidget, panic and look for something, anything, to do to make use of the time.” But Honoré is no true-believer–he questions every aspect of the Slow movement and keeps coming up with the conclusion that it just makes sense: life in the slow lane is more enjoyable, more pleasurable, more humane. This is a remarkable book that should be read by every resident of today’s frenzied urban world. –Mark Frutkin

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