Reposting this 2011 review because the Kindle Edition is on sale for $1.99.
Takeaway: A bit repetitive, but the basic idea, that slowing down, enjoying life, and doing things well instead of fast is a good reminder.
Efficiency and speed are part of the world we live in. With computers and other tools, fewer people can do more than ever before. But instead of using the extra time, most people tend to either just do more instead of enjoying the additional products of our labor.
In Praise of Slowness is a book I first heard about from Anne Jackson. I purchased it then (it was only $5 at the time) and it has been sitting on my shelf for a couple years.
I started reading it last week and enjoyed the basic thesis that faster is not necessarily better. The book starts with the author seeing an ad for 1 minute bedtime stories. He was both interested in getting the book and horrified that he had gotten to the point of efficiency that he was actually interested in being efficient in the amount of time he was spending with his child. This started a long term investigation into speed and backlash of slow advocates.
The chapters are mostly based around an area of slowness and why it is better to be slow in that area. So a chapter on the benefits of slowing down and cooking good healthy meals with your family, slowing down doctors to spend more time with patients to improve health care, slow (tantric) sex, benefits of doing slow exercise, the slower pace of smaller cities, etc.
Much of this really is encouraging and inspiring to find ways to be slow and enjoy life instead of hurrying through it. And the slow is not just slow for the sake of being slow, but slow for the sake of enjoyment or doing things better. There are several sections on work and how people’s bodies need rest and how slowing down or working less can produce more efficiency in the long term.
The author places a lot of his own story in the book and that can be interesting, but I think there could have been 50 less pages and it would have been a better book.