September 21, 2015

21 Reasons Why I Didn’t Want to Return this Book to the Library.

New Slow City

New Slow City: Living Simply in the World’s Fastest City is a timely, playful, and intellectually-captivating book written by William Powers, who is a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute and an adjunct faculty member at New York University.

Powers wrote New Slow City as a response to readers, who enjoyed his book, Twelve by Twelve, about living off-the-grid in a 12-foot-by-12-foot cabin in North Carolina, and yet wondered if this lifestyle was possible in an urban location. He decided to find out by moving into a 340-square-foot apartment in downtown Manhattan with his new wife.

I won’t give away Powers’ story, but here are the 21 reasons, in the form of quotes, from New Slow City for wanting to keep this book:

1. “To me Slow Life, like meditation, is more than an escape from the daily grind. It’s what’s happening to me when I go off the drug of distraction.”

2. “I can have what I want. But can I want what I want?”

3. “Living slow, feels, right now, particularly Utopian.”

4. “New York inhales, then exhales.”

5. “‘But my carbon foot is five times bigger than this apartment,’ she says, soaping up her finger. ‘This feels like carbon foot-binding.'”

6. “A billion-dollar annual retail industry has sprung up to sell us all the things we need to live with less.”

7. “Why seek slow?”

8. “A hundred buildings rise in discordant geometry and texture. The air smells fresher, summery, a salty breeze coming off the brackish Hudson. The sun threads a gap between two building, and I feel it on my face, feel it burning up the walls I’ve been living in. I’ve boxed myself in with expectations.”

9. “Mindfulness arises from inside, after all, so what’s needed, I came to discover, are the right questions and practices.”

10. “The Industrial Revolution rewarded speed as never before, and the clock became its organizing instrument.”

11. “Slow is un-American—it’s inefficient, dull, and Luddite. It also feels elitist. Only the rich can afford to go slow in Manhattan.”

12. “All the multitasking around me shines a harsh light on my zero-tasking.”

13. “Today’s theme: Can I forgive myself?”

14. “Slow is about taking the necessary time to create a new economy centered on self-paced living.”

15. “Is idleness treason?”

16. “Before slowing down, I lived in a time-scarcity mentality, scheduling my life as tightly as possible and sometimes stressing about whether I was maximizing the utility of each meeting or social engagement. But now, I’m increasingly seeing the scarcity of time as artificial.”

17. “Today, the farm, built as a green-roof system, holds 1.2 million pounds of soil—and yes, experts verified that the 1919 building can bear the weight.”

18. “Sensation grows and you wonder which is feeding which: people’s actions creating the news or news creating their actions?”

19. “The worry lines on his forehead reveal the beleaguering pace of his leisure-poor life, the same leisure-poor life that defines every economic strata of our modern world.”

20. “At the front of the store, a middle-age man sporting a Lebowski-reminiscent haircut speaks up as he sees me looking curiously in his direction. ‘I’m a Dudist priest,’ he tells me, ‘in the Church of the Latter-Day Dude.'”

21. “I wonder, too, what it does to everyone’s psyche to live in this shadow of discipline, to live so separated from the natural sanctuary that feels so vital to being happy and alive.”

Go check out Powers’ New Slow City from your local library, if it’s available, and begin to see the beauty of moving a little bit slower in your life.


Author: Jes Wright

Editor: Travis May

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Author

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