Best slow living books for your reading list

Best slow living books for your reading list

As awareness of the slow living movement and the benefits of seeking a slower, more intentional way of life has increased, so has the number of books published dedicated to slow living.

If you were to start anywhere, we’d recommend In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl Honoré. It’s a fantastic and in-depth overview of the evolution of the slow movement. In Praise of Slowness was published back in 2005 but remains one of the best guides to understanding the history of the slow ethos, starting with the slow food movement. If tackling burnout at work is one of your motivations for slowing down, we’d also recommend Cal Newport’s 2024 title Slow Productivity.

This curated list of slow living books also includes the stories of those who have sought to decelerate their fast-paced lives and a more meaningful lifestyle, in addition to those which give more practical advice on how to do it. For more inspiration, follow the Slow Living LDN. book club which invites you to take a breath and explore the values and concepts of slow and seasonal living through the pages of thoughtfully selected books.

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Best slow living books for slowing down

In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl Honoré

In Praise of Slowness uncovers how we’ve become to live so fast, and also explores roots of the slow movement and those who have challenged the perception that faster is always better throughout history. Despite being published in the early 2000s, In Praise of Slowness remains one of the best researched and most in-depth books on the slow movement. Since its publication, the burnout and always-on culture depicted by Honoré has only intensified, making the book an even more poignant and persuasive reminder to slow down.

Many of the most thought-provoking slow living quotes come from Honoré’s work. He writes, “What the world needs and what the Slow movement offers, is a middle path, a recipe for marrying la dolce vita with the dynamism of the information age.”

For anyone needing a place to start when slowing down, In Praise of Slowness is a must-read.

In Praise of Slowness is available from Waterstones and WHSmith.

Slow by Brooke McAlary

Cover of SLOW by Brooke McAlary

McAlary’s motivation for slowing down was sparked when she realised that “there was an enormous disconnect between the things I valued most and my everyday actions”. She offers useful insights from her own journey to a more fulfilled and purposeful lifestyle, making Slow an actionable read for those looking to understand their own reasons for slowing down and how to work towards a more intention-led life.

For more insight into this title, read our summary of Slow by Brooke McAlary.

Slow Productivity: The Lost Art of Accomplishment without Burnout by Cal Newport

Slow Productivity Cal Newport book

Published in March 2024, Slow Productivity: The Lost Art of Accomplishment without Burnout​ is one of the latest titles to draw upon the slow ethos in its exploration of our obsession with pace. Slow Productivity is written by Cal Newport, a computer science professor educated at MIT who is also celebrated for his books Digital Minimalism and Deep Work. Newport’s work shares his fascination with the intersection of work, technology and the pursuit of meaning ‘in an increasingly distracted world’.

Slow Productivity is a well-written and engaging response to the “relentless overload” knowledge workers (employees or freelancers with significant autonomy over how they use their time, typically desk workers, creatives and intellectuals) find themselves facing due to the mismeasurement of productivity with ‘busyness’. Slow Productivity is full of useful advice for those seeking a more sustainable relationship with work and achievement.

Slow Productivity is available from Waterstones and WHSmith.

Slow Seasons: A Creative Guide to Reconnecting with Nature the Celtic Way by Rosie Steer

Slow Seasons book review

For those seeking to become more present and feel a greater sense of connection with nature, Slow Seasons offers a myriad of ways to savour the small seasonal shifts between the major milestones of the holidays we usually celebrate in earnest.

Rosie shares how she found herself practising mindfulness and slow living through her rediscovery of seasonal rituals. She calls these practices ‘lifelines’, which with family support, medication, therapy, and of course time, she worked through her panic attacks and mental illness.

Read more about Slow Seasons, a past Slow Living LDN. book club title.

Slow Seasons is available from Waterstones and WHSmith.

Seeking Slow by Melanie Barnes

Melanie Barnes, founder of Geoffrey and Grace, found herself striving to become more present after becoming a mother. Like Brooke McAlary, Barnes’ book is inspired by a personal journey to slow down. Seeking Slow shares simple ways to reconnect with yourself, your loved ones and the world around us. It discusses many of the same topics we also cover, such as seasonal living, sustainability and a more considered relationship with technology.

Seeking Slow is available from Waterstones.

The Kinfolk Home by Nathan Williams

Kinfolk Home book flatlay

A list of slow living books wouldn’t be complete without The Kinfolk Home. Nathan Williams’ Kinfolk series has gained cult status and is often used as an interior accessory in its own right, topping people’s piles of interior design coffee table books. The Kinfolk Home explores 35 ‘slow’ homes around the world, each one dedicated to cultivating community, simplifying or reclaiming time for what its owners consider to be most important in their world. Beautiful photography is complimented by thought-provoking essays.

The Kinfolk Home contains a quote we often return to: “Slow living isn’t about determining how little we can live with – it’s about working out what we simply can’t live without.”

The Kinfolk Home is available from Waterstones, WHSmith and Arket.

Still: The Slow Home by Natalie Walton

Still: The Slow Home by Natalie Walton shares 20 beautiful homes and the stories of their owners. Each owner has made a conscious decision embrace slow living or simplify their lives. Walton encourages us to reflect on why we consume and why we are prone to constantly filling both our dairies and our houses with more things and more commitments.

Interested in how to embrace slow living at home? We’ve also rounded up more of our favourite slow interiors books, including Curate by Lynda Gardener and Ali Heath.

Still: The Slow Home is available from Waterstones and WHSmith.

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