14 March 2013
Carl Honoré is a writer and public speaker who flies around the world telling people to slow down. “My life has been transformed by deceleration,” he confides in The Slow Fix, though it has also clearly been transformed by acceleration, of the jet-engine variety. In 2004, he published In Praise of Slow, a critique of our cultural addiction to speed, advising readers to take more time over eating, exercising, sex and bedtime stories. “The Slow movement is on the march,” he announced then. If so, it was marching at a snail’s pace, since nine years later we are due another reminder of the virtues of dawdling.
This time Mr. Honoré focuses on the desirability of taking things slowly when you are trying to solve a problem. “We are hooked on the quick fix,” he says, but our pill-popping, speed-yoga, retail-therapy, drive-thru-funeral, rent-a-pal, high-frequency-trading world is still broken. The author strains somewhat to convince us that his message is a novel one. Every culture has long had a suspicion of quick fixes. Even in our hyper-accelerated age, when a problem arises you never hear people demanding half-baked solutions.