Speed Limits: Where Time Went and Why We Have So Little Left

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Yale University Press, Oct 28, 2014 - Social Science - 407 pages
A contemplation on “the durability of our fast-tracked, multitasked modern world . . . a stimulating cautionary report for the digital age.”—Kirkus Reviews
We live in an ever-accelerating world: faster computers, markets, food, fashion, product cycles, minds, bodies, kids, lives. When did everything start moving so fast? Why does speed seem so inevitable? Is faster always better?

Drawing together developments in religion, philosophy, art, technology, fashion, and finance, Mark C. Taylor presents an original and rich account of a great paradox of our times: how the very forces and technologies that were supposed to free us by saving time and labor now trap us in a race we can never win. The faster we go, the less time we have, and the more we try to catch up, the farther behind we fall.  Connecting our speed-obsession with today’s global capitalism, he composes a grand narrative showing how commitments to economic growth and extreme competition, combined with accelerating technological innovation, have brought us close to disaster. Psychologically, environmentally, economically, and culturally, speed is taking a profound toll on our lives.

By showing how the phenomenon of speed has emerged, Taylor offers us a chance to see our pace of life as the product of specific ideas, practices, and policies. It’s not inevitable or irreversible. He courageously and movingly invites us to imagine how we might patiently work towards a more deliberative life and sustainable world.

“With panache and flashes of brilliance, Taylor, a Columbia University religion professor and cultural critic, offers a philosophically astute analysis of how time works in our era.” —Publishers Weekly

Selected pages


Inefficient Market Hypothesis
Dividing by Connecting
Extreme Finance
Reprogramming LifeDeprogramming Minds
Final Exams Spring 1922 Arendtsville High School

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About the author (2014)

Mark C. Taylor is a professor in and chair of the Department of Religion at Columbia University. A leading philosopher and cultural critic, he is the author of thirty books and a regular contributor to the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg News, and other publications. Mark lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and New York City.Mel Foster has narrated over 150 audiobooks and has won several awards. Twice an Audie finalist for 1864: Lincoln at the Gates of History by Charles Bracelen Flood and Finding God in Unexpected Places by Philip Yancey, he won for the latter title. He has also won two AudioFile Earphones Awards. Best known for mysteries, Mel has also narrated classic authors such as Thoreau, Nabokov, and Whitman.

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