It's to be hoped that Carl Honore's new book "In Praise of Slowness: How a Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed" will become a classic wakeup call, much like Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring." At the time of Carson's book, much had been written about DDT and other chemicals that were destroying our environment, but not until "Silent Spring" had all the arguments against the profligate use of chemicals been so powerfully presented to both the general reader and those in academia and the corporate world. Honore's book also brings together a vast array of facts, anecdotes and research studies that focus on our current ills, ills that are a direct result of our fixation with productivity, speed and consumerism.

Much has been written about the Slow Food movement, but I had never heard about the Slow Cities movement. Both were founded in Bra, Italy. Both are worldwide and respected movements, espousing the clear benefits that can be derived from examining how you live and eat and taking steps that will slow the pace. The Città Slow manifesto contains 55 pledges, and the deputy mayor of Bra, Bruna Sibille, who is one of the strong supporters of the movement, says that "creating a new climate, an entirely new way of looking at life" is the hope of the founders.

This worldwide movement is not just about the way we eat or pedestrian-friendly streets. The diverse subjects in the book encompass all aspects of our lives, including our work habits, our working-out habits, our approach to medicine, the education of our children, the reeducation of adults and their attitudes and/or beliefs about time, and our spiritual lives. I believe that you will find a chapter in this book that speaks real close to home!

Carl Honore's book is not a how-to-fix-it book. Instead it is a rather grand resource of ideas and actions that are happening in cultures around the world in response to the obvious ills that are pervading our lives. Ultimately, it is about balance. The issues are all about becoming aware of the pace of your life and the lives of your friends and family. And then having the courage to step aside from the "fast" pace in order to savor the benefits that come from the deep enjoyment of being in the present moment, as opposed to feeling engulfed by the mad pace of our contemporary lives.

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