In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed

Carl Honoré

Feeling there was no time to read anything to his son but “One Minute Bedtime Stories” is what led Carl Honoré on his journey to re-examine the pace of his life. And what an interesting journey he takes us on. From different approaches to developing cities to the health benefits of slowing down, Honoré examines a number of aspects of life and living.

In Praise of Slow is not saying there’s no place for hard work. Work hard but pace yourself is closer to the message. Honoré is realistic with his views about what people are willing and able to change in their lives. Producing nothing is not what he’s proposing.

Parents who are rushing their children from school to activity to home to bed will certainly want to read his chapter on raising unhurried children. Honoré cites studies that show children “as young as five now suffer from upset stomachs, headaches, insomnia, depression and eating disorders brought on by stress.” If your approach with your children was already one of giving kids space (and time) to be kids, you’ll be pleased to learn you’re on the right track as far as the author is concerned.

In his chapter on work, he provides some examples of corporations including The Royal Bank who’ve been introducing policies to give employees more control over the hours they work, policies such as flex time and job sharing. He also provides some practical tips that make sense no matter where you work:

“Email, for all its speed, cannot capture irony, nuance or body language, and this leads to misunderstandings and mistakes. Slower methods of communication-walking across the office and actually talking to someone face to face, for instance- can save time and money, and build esprit de corps, in the long run.”

Try shutting your office door, if you have one, and close your eyes for ten minutes. He warmly endorses napping and quotes from studies that a 20 minute nap “can boost energy and productivity.”

The book is well written and a most interesting read. Honoré also provides a number of examples from Canadian sources be it a Canadian company or a Canadian study. Always nice to get a plug for the home team.

Get a copy to take on your vacation, you won’t be sorry.

Learn more at the book’s website.

This book review was written by Helen Latimer.

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