SPEED: Facing Our Addiction to Fast and Faster and Overcoming Our Fear of Slowing Down

in a hurry

To be published January 7, 2014, by Berkley Books, an imprint of Penguin

I am happy to announce the upcoming publication of my new book about American culture addicted to speed, a faster and faster pace of life. We’re past the point of being able to sustain the frenzy that is rampaging out of control and causing immense personal damage in ways we’ve never imagined.

I’m a psychologist and a specialist in addiction and recovery, living and working in Silicon Valley during the entire last 30 years of wild technology innovation. More than 15 years ago, I began to notice that people all around me in this exciting cultural space were behaving and thinking just like addicts! What was happening? Since my own first glimmer of this cultural phenomenon – societies can become out of control exactly like all other addictions, — I’ve been watching, comparing and helping people in my practice learn to slow down. A speedy, fast pace of life is the core problem many are facing today. Trying to cope with the unforeseen downsides that result from this non-stop pursuit of FAST, and the frenzied pace of life that we now call normal, has become the cultural problem of the 21st century.

What is SPEED? Society has lost control. Many in the culture are living in a chaotic, frenzied downward spiral of a new addiction, chasing money, power, success and a wilder, faster pace of life. How can society be addicted, and what is the impact on all of us who must live and work in a culture that believes in the power and necessity of constant action and a faster and faster pace? We’ve got a big challenge to face: side-by-side with the great technological discoveries of the last 30 years, we’ve also lost our way, falling into addictive behaviors, emotions and thinking that are wreaking havoc with all that we know and value about healthy lifestyle. We’ve sacrificed our need for quiet time, self-reflection and the depth of relationship that really constitutes deep human connection.

I hope you’ll offer your own experiences with SPEED addiction and your own suggestions for change. I’ll be writing short blog posts about this addition with lots of examples. No one today is immune from the toxic effects of speed — women, men, couples, children, families and parents. What do we all do with a culture that’s pushing us too hard to go too fast, even as we love the technology and continue to use it?

3 thoughts on “SPEED: Facing Our Addiction to Fast and Faster and Overcoming Our Fear of Slowing Down

  1. Pingback: Voices in the Family 1/13/2014: Faster and Faster |

  2. Pingback: Faster and faster | Voices in the Family | WHYY

  3. Joan

    I agree completely about the frenzied lives many are living. I had an interesting experience this week. A neighbor saw my hot tub for the first time & said to me, “Do you use that.” I replied, “Yes, twice a day.”
    He said to me, “Get a life.” I thought to myself that sitting quietly, calmly in my hot tub enjoying the redwood trees that are on one side, the views of the western hills, the birds, deer, wild turkeys that frequent the area is the best life that I can imagine. My neighbor is a developer in Silicon Valley, a mover & shaker.
    I hope that someday he finds the calm that I do at least twice a day.

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