Speed Limits–A Recommendation

10 Jul

Speed has become the measure of success–faster chips, faster computers, faster networks, faster connectivity, faster news, faster communications, faster transactions, faster delivery, faster product cycles, faster brains, faster kids, faster lives. According to the gospel of speed, the quick inherit the earth.

How did this new world of speed emerge, and why does it seem to be inescapable? …

[Further], [a]s some people speed up, others slow down; as some people work more than they want, others work less than they want or even not at all; as some people get “ahead,” others fall “behind.” What “winners” and “losers” in this new fast-paced economy share are the insecurity, anxiety, and discontent that speed creates.

So begins Speed Limits, by Mark C. Taylor (formerly professor at Williams College, now at Columbia University).

I am not quite finished with this book. However, I want to recommend it now because it seems so relevant to so many things now, e.g., FB, news, politics, violence, markets, games, gadgets, drugs, the Internet. It has been a long time since I have read something like this that helped me put together so many things about contemporary Western culture and society. Taylor ranges widely: history, religion, philosophy, technology, economics, finance, education, etc. His book is a marvelous example of liberal arts interdisciplinarity–all to the end of understanding better much of where we are now culturally. For a digitally-challenged senior like me, it has been refreshing to find someone older than me who can pull together so many threads of so many things that I am barely aware of, let alone comprehend.

If you are in higher education, this is the sort of book that would be worth having a faculty workshop on. It would also be worth having various college staff read it as well.

Pardon the irony, but: make haste and read it!


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