Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything Summary

The SQUEEZE: In Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything, James Gleick discusses the paradox of time management, offering a decidedly contrarian view regarding instantaneity and “hurry sickness.” In an age of instant coffee, instant intimacy, instant replay, and instant gratification, many believe that technology helps to make life easier and navigation through it faster. However, Gleick irreverently disagrees, contending that everyday conveniences such as microwaves, express mail, television remote controls, and speed-dialing telephones give us a false sense of expediency. For example, a person who leaves the house at the last minute and arrives at the airport at the last possible minute will encounter a gridlocked wait on the expressway; stuck in one place, time continues to pass by and the individual’s blood pressure rises. In other words, Gleick highlights the fact that snags in a system, or a network, often contribute to the delay in speed. As speed is increased, relaxation is decreased.

Notable Endorsement: “A rare jewel-like biography. I can't remember a book in which, confronted with a personality so complex and a subject so difficult, I felt, as a reader, so secure.”-- Robert Kanigel, The Washington Post

Common Q’s Answered by this Book:

  • What is the link between a belief in the need for faster and the rise in blood pressure?
  • What is the definition of “hurry sickness” and what are examples of how the concept contributes to our need for instant gratification?
  • How does technology provide for a false sense of expediency?

About the Author: James Gleick is an American author, journalist, and biographer. Gleick’s bestselling books include The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood and Chaos: Making a New Science, the latter of which is credited with the development of chaos theory. Three of Gleick’s books were finalists for a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Gleick completed a bachelor’s degree in English at Harvard University.

Book Vitals:

Publisher: Pantheon (August 1999)

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