Faster by James Gleick
The Acceleration of Just About Everything

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Synopsis

Synchronize your watches.
We have reached the epoch of the nanosecond. This is the heyday of speed.
If one quality defines our modern, technocratic age, it is acceleration. We are making haste. Our computers, our movies, our sex lives, our prayers -- they all run faster now than ever before. And the more we fill our lives with time-saving devices and time-saving strategies, the more rushed we feel.
In Faster, James Gleick explores nothing less than the human condition at the turn of the millennium. He shines a light of enterprising and analytical reporting -- as well as sly wit -- on the newest paradoxes of time. His journey takes us through the bunkers and trenches of a war we barely knew we were fighting: to the atomic clocks of the Directorate of Time, to the waiting rooms that focus our impatience, to the film production studios that test the high-speed limits of our perception, to the air-traffic command centers that give time pressure new meaning.
We have become a quick-reflexed, multitasking, channel-flipping, fast-forwarding species. We don't completely understand it, and we're not altogether happy about it. Faster is a mirror held up to our times -- and a mordant reminder of why some things take time.
 

About James Gleick

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James Gleick is the author of Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman (available from Vintage Books) and Chaos: Making a New Science, both of which were National Book Award nominees.  He lives in New York.
 
Published August 17, 1999 by Pantheon. 336 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences, Computers & Technology, Science & Math. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Faster

Publishers Weekly

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Technological advances in time measurement and time-saving devices have been fueled by the ever-quickening pace of our lives. Or is it the other way around? Gleick, twice nominated for the National Bo

Aug 02 1999 | Read Full Review of Faster: The Acceleration of J...

Publishers Weekly

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""Gridlocked and Tarmacked are metonyms of our era,"" writes Gleick, ""...to be stuck in place, our fastest engines idling all around us, as time passes and blood pressures rise."" This paradox, and the ""simultaneous fragmentation and overloading of human attention"" that results, he contends, c...

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Spirituality & Practice

With great elan, Gleick covers time-saving devices that don't measure up, the swiftness of movies and television commercials, grazers who change channels 22 a minute, all-night banks and drive-in funeral parlors, the place of email in our revved up lives, the reverence bestowed upon quick thinkin...

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CNN.com

The nemesis of the "just in time" inventory systems that have made auto production much more efficient is that little spare parts factory in Ohio that, each time it suffers a strike, shutters every GM plant in the Midwest.

Sep 15 1999 | Read Full Review of Faster: The Acceleration of J...

Rambles

Gleick shows us how the ability to measure time in ever more exact ways has affected us and the world in which we live, in ways more diverse than I would have recognized prior to reading this book.

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