Book Review: New Slow City by William Powers


Pause for a moment.                                                      Take a long slow breath.

Stop.                                    Don’t do anything.

Just breathe.


Consider this: What did you notice when you were on the street today? Did you notice anything? Did you take it in? Or did you rush through on autopilot on your way to work?

How often do we pause and really pay attention as we rush through our daily lives?

This is the question that we are being asked to consider when reading William Power’s book New Slow City, a memoir of the author’s year of deliberate slow living in fast-paced New York city.While many of us will not have the luxury to significantly reduce our work hours (as the author did during his year of slow living), as you follow the author’s journey you will be inspired by his slow living rituals that you can easily adopt into your own routines. Whether it is taking more time to connect with nature on your weekends, taking the time to notice the birds among the skyscrapers as you walk to work, a daily rooftop breakfast ritual, or mindfully enjoying your evening meal, this book will give you the inspiration to approach your day more mindfully and intentionally, slowing down the tendency to rush.

But more than just a memoir on a year of taking life at a different speed, New Slow City is a contemplation on the nature of our modern capitalist societies and how this has influenced, not just how we consume goods, but all aspects of how we live our lives, and even how we perceive ourselves. It is an important read for anyone who is struggling to disentangle themselves from the culture of work and consumption that pervades all aspects of our lives in a modern capitalist world.

One of the people the author meets- not long after Hurricane Sandy, when another storm is brewing- tells him “I just can’t get used to this weather” then sighing “But I guess I will. People always get used to things.”.

This is precisely why we need books like New Slow City. This is precisely why we need Slow.

When we run through our lives on autopilot- rushing from home to work and back again- we fail to make time to think. We fail to question. In fact we don’t even see. And we fail to imagine that there is an alternative. But if we don’t find an alternative to the excess consumption of the present day, the world will create one for us, and it won’t be favourable. It is already doing this with storms like Sandy.

If you are hungering for an alternative, if you don’t want to just get used to the future that consumerism is leading us to, New Slow City is an insightful read. All of us might not be able to cut our working week right back, but we all can incorporate elements of Slow into our everyday lives to give us more time and space. And we can do this even in one of the fastest cities in the world.

As the author notes “Our planet, our happiness, and our children’s future depend upon finding equilibrium through cultivating the still, the small, the Slow.” Why not let this beautiful book help you find your own version of Slow?


Disclosure: I received an ecopy of this book for the purposes of the review.This post contains affiliate links. If you click the link and choose the purchase the book, I will receive a very small commission (the price is the same for you). However, I only accept and link to products that I genuinely support and believe fit within the ethos of the blog.


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Photo By: Photo credit: August Brill