In the modern age, most of us live fast paced lives that make it difficult to really enjoy daily life. The importance of slowing down and taking the necessary time to enjoy the ride is, unfortunately, easily forgotten.
Because of this, many people are looking at their own life and trying to work out how they can slow down, in search of a more fulfilling life. To do this, more knowledge is essential. These slow-life books can help you find the purpose of living, and can show you how to live an intentionally mindful life.
1. ‘In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed’ by Carl Honoré
One of the most well known books when it comes to looking at the concept of ‘slow living’ is In Praise of Slowness, which attempts to show how seeking slow lifestyles has become a necessity when compared to the fast paced world many of us live in.
The author begins by scrutinizing our relentless obsession with speed, and he invites the reader to reassess our approach to work, food, and pretty much our entire life. It’s the first of the “slow living books” that I read when making the transition to a slow living lifestyle, and it’s an examination on why modern life has become fruitless for so many.
2. ‘Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul’ by Bill Hybels
When it comes to slow living, most people begin their journey with a declutter, and this book by Bill Hybels is a great place to start. it enlightens readers on the power of simplicity, and how decluttering our lives can help us focus on the more meaningful relationships we have with other humans.
He presents ten practices to get started on your journey to a decluttered and more mindful life, which include prioritizing your current schedule, gaining control over your finances and considering a digital detox.
3. ‘Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less’ by Greg McKeown
A book about essentialism – disposing of the physical objects and mental barriers that weigh you down – McKeown talks about how doing fewer things with more focus can lead to a more fulfilling life. There’s a heavy emphasis on quality over quantity, which goes hand in hand with slow living.
The book is filled with practical advice on sustainable living, and can help you to differentiate between the things in your life that are essential, and the things that aren’t.
4. ‘The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere’ by Pico Iyer
Written by well travelled Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness encapsulates the joy of doing nothing, the adventure of visiting new places and how as humans, we’ve become desperate to find a way to unplug from current society.
It encourages readers to embrace a slower lifestyle filled with stillness, as well as offering insight into those that have found happiness living simply already.
5. ‘The Slow Fix: Solve Problems, Work Smarter and Live Better in a World Addicted to Speed’ by Carl Honoré
In the sequel to ‘In Praise of Slowness,’ Honoré turns his attention to more than just living simply away from work. It focuses on how we can improve out lives by taking things slow, with the core message being that zooming out on our existence and looking at the bigger picture is essential.
In a world filled with instant gratification, it’s no wonder that many of us have the attention span of a goldfish. This slow living book suggests that there may be a middle path between having absolutely nothing, and having everything.
6. ‘Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living’ by Shauna Niequist
This book is more of an intimate memoir detailing her personal journey, from the frantic busyness of everyday life to a simpler way of living with intention. Instead of simply talking the talk, the author speaks from experience with personal anecdotes, and gives many practical strategies that can be used when adapting to a new, slower life.
This is essentially a collection of essays that shows the transformation that can occur, from personal relationships through to the way you view the world as a whole.
7. ‘Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World’ by Cal Newport
Many people start by reading ‘Digital Minimalism‘, as it navigates the difficult that most of us face fidning the balance between using technology for good, and using it aimlessly without intention. The slow movement doesn’t ban technology, and neither does Newport – instead, it’s a look at how we can monitor all the excess things that we use digitally to extract benefit.
If you find yourself tired with a digital life and wonder whether there’s an alternative, Digital Minimalism is an excellent place to start for those interested in self improvement and a purposeful lifestyle.
8. ‘Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World’ by Brooke McAlary
Author Brooke McAlary is 100% right – we live in a chaotic world, and it’s up to us to make meaning of it. This book shows us how to live intentionally- she presents a detailed, step-by-step guide to embracing simplicity, mindfulness, and the beauty of slow living.
If you’re new to everything that the slow movement offers, this may be an excellent place to start, as it’s simple enough for beginners to understand what makes this lifestyle so appealing.
9. ‘The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to Be Calm in a Busy World’ by Haemin Sunim
This insightful work by Haemin Sunim is a valuable guide to finding inner peace and serenity amidst the hustle. The author is a Buddhist teacher originally from Korea, so his insights add a different perspective than your average American-turned-minimalist.
His teachings serve to us wisdom from his own experience on his search for enlightenment. It’s an inspiring book filled with life changing magic that may have an effect on the way that you see the world.
10. ‘Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path’ by Erin Loechner
Erin Loechner’s ‘Chasing Slow‘ is an honest portrayal of her journey towards a slower, more intentional lifestyle. In the book, the author says that we need to redefine success to fit our own narrative, and discover joy in the ordinary, off the beaten path.
If you’re currently going through some difficult times, this would be a great book to pick up. It looks at Erin’s own tough experiences, from her husband’s health troubles through to dealing with public criticism.
Common Questions about Slow Living
Why is slow living important?
Slow living is extremely important in the modern day because it shows us how to appreciate what we have, no matter how large or small. It encourages us to savor every moment, and appreciate the little things in life that make it so special. It’s about living intentionally and mindfully, which can then lead to improved physical and mental well-being.
What is the first step towards slow living?
The first step towards slow living is to reassess your whole life, and begin to make priorities to work out what is important to you. You can start doing this by identifying all of the activities and commitments that truly matter, and try to eliminate or minimize the unnecessary ones. Reading books on slow living can give us practical tips on how best to do this.
Can slow living coexist with a modern, busy lifestyle?
The good news is that you don’t have to make any drastic changes to your everyday life. Slow living is about making mindful choices, and therefore prioritizing what matters most. You can embark on your slow living journey one step at a time, and learn to live in the present moment, being grateful for the things we have.