Monday, June 20, 2011

The power of slow: 101 ways to save time in our 24/7 world

The power of slow: 101 ways to save time in our 24/7 world
By Christine Louise Hohlbaum

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

I already use my time wisely.  Twenty-one years ago (in 1989) I read an essay, “If I Had My Life to Live Over,” attributed to “Anonymous,” in an advice column by Ann Landers.  The piece she cited ended this way: “. . . but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every moment, look at it and really see it and live it — and never give it back until there was nothing left of it.”  I thought the advice was accurate, and I immediately applied it to my own life.

When I discovered that essay, I liked it so much I incorporated it into my final Speech 102 lecture, “Love and Creativity,” each term and, thus, probably shared it with between 15 and 20,000 undergraduate students.  I had numerous requests throughout the years for reprints of the Landers’ column, which I gladly accommodated.

You needn’t wonder why Hohlbaum’s book, “The Power of Slow,” caught my immediate attention.  Although I retired from active teaching some time ago, my undergraduate textbook continues to sell well and requires continual attention; I have written five popular books designed for the general public (1 = “And Then Some”; 2=”Public Speaking Rules”; 3) “You Rules”; 4) “SMOERs”; and 5) “Relationship Rules”); I set up a publishing company; I maintain a website,, with five-day-a-week posts on a blog including a weekly 1,000-word essay on a wide variety of topics; I travel extensively; I have an elaborately planted and maintained backyard with a gazebo, barn, and pond; I keep up with current events; and, I make daily visits to see my elderly father-in-law who lives in a residential-care facility in my home town.  The point is: to do this requires considerable planning and time management.  Any new tips are welcome.

In the introduction to her book, Hohlbaum explains that, “Slow does not mean stop; it means to be mindful.  The power of slow can be defined as the unmatchable force unleashed when you embrace your truest purpose in life.  Mindfulness coupled with a positive relationship with time will make you unstoppable.  This book is about harnessing your own power within and allowing it to unfurl.  It offers you 101 ways to check in with your power without checking out of life.  Time will help you do this if you let it” (p. xx).

The benefit of her approach, she writes in her introduction: “Slowing down long enough to actually think and become aware of your surroundings leads you to a deeper understanding of why you do the things you do.  Building on that awareness, you can make choices that are much more powerful than those made in haste” (p. xxiii).

What I found absolutely fascinating about this book is Hohlbaum’s delightful, comfortable, arm-chair approach.  She writes in an easy-to-digest manner which invites readers into her living room as she shares stories, insights, advice, opinions of others, and research.  It is clear from her writing that she has adopted her own approach to time.  

The principles are sound and well-explained, the cartoons are delightful, the quotations used are apt and to the point, and the overall presentation is a treat — with liberal doses of the author’s humor.  I thought the statement, “Let life be your greatest teacher.  If your best friend always shows up late, he is teaching you what to expect.  You may not be able to change your friend’s behavior, but you can change your expectation to match what he is truly capable of” (p. 172), applies to so much of life.  You cannot change other people, but you can reduce your own stress by being flexible, adaptable, and tolerant — sometimes by completely redefining the situation.  Pretend that you are a superior being and you have the authority and the ability to control your own behavior — others don’t.  To be happy you simply have to exert your authority and control!  (Read more of the author’s explanation and limitations of this approach on page 173.

The book is 240 pages long.  There are 41/2-pages of notes and a bibliography.  Hohlbaum is a public relations professional and a freelance writer.  If your world is inundated with things to do, if you feel that chaos is a word that accurately depicts your life, and if you can’t seem to manage everything you must to live a happy, daily life, then this book offers a calming, relaxing experience — plus, a whole lot of important advice.

This book is available at The power of slow: 101 ways to save time in our 24/7 world

1 comment:

  1. Dear Dr. Weaver,

    Thank you ever so much for your kind review, which I shall post across my entire social media universe. I am delighted that you liked it.

    The day you posted it I was in Italy, enjoying a full week of Slow at the birthplace of my book idea. Thanks again for your wonderful thoughts. I appreciate them immensely!


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