Book review: Faster

Time is the one totally democratic resource. No matter who you are, a day still only has 24 hours.

But these days, everything seems to go faster. We try to cram more and more into every day, and we’ve come to hate and fear periods of inaction, especially those we don’t choose for ourselves.

James Gleick tells the story of time, and how our perception of it has changed. The book covers many topics, and is full of great stories and many new (for me at least) insights.

We are obsessed with saving time. We constantly try to shave hours or minutes of everything we do, to save more time. But why? What are we saving all that time for? (The answer is of course TV, or what James Gleick calls the 900-pound gorilla of spare time.)

I’ve found, that quite often, doing something faster, takes the fun out of it. Maybe it’s worth it to spend a little more time, and enjoy yourself a lot more.

The book is very well written, logically structures and an easy, undemanding read. I would have liked to see a sort of conclusion to all of the observations in the book, but none is offered. Maybe no single conclusion is possible. Still the book is excellent reading if you want to think about our changing perception of time.

Pseudorandom associations:
In “Generation X”, Douglas Coupland describes a disease which only strikes busy people. It is transmitted by the “Door close” buttons in elevators, which the really impatient people are always punding to get the elevator going a few seconds faster.

In one of his books Tor N?rretranders relates a really scary statistic, according to which the average dane spends more time watching TV than at work, seen over an entire life time.

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