Book review – Slow – Live Life Simply by Brooke McAlary

Almost exactly a year ago, I published a review of Brooke’s first book Destination Simple here on the blog. Just like I read Destination Simple during a summer holiday break in early 2017, I also read her latest book Slow – Live Life Simply in my summer break this year.

I know Brooke personally and think she is an incredibly smart, funny, genuine and warm person. Even if you don’t know her, you would sense this about her from both her books. Slow differs to Destination Simple which is a short read that shares rituals and rhythms to help you slow down the pace of your life. It is very practical and action oriented.

Slow also gives you great practical and actionable advice, but it does so as it takes you through the journey Brooke herself took to slow down and live a more mindful life. She shares personal insights from someone who has been at the point of intense overwhelm and busyness and knows how that feels. Slow also lifts you up and makes you take a bigger picture look at how you are living your life, what your purpose is and what you want your legacy to be.

The book really made me reflect on what is most important to me in my life and made me question whether or not I am living my life in a way that shows these things are important.

My three key take aways from the book were:

  • Notice – one of the easiest ways to slow things down is to take time to notice the big and small things around you. Too often we can move from one activity or task to another without really noticing what we are doing. By choosing to be present and notice what we are doing, how we are feeling, how we are breathing etc it gives us slower moments in our day. Lots of these slower moments through out our day can really add up.
  • Intention – act and makes choices with intention. Family life / work life can present opportunities that make us busier than we would like to be. Choosing to live slowly doesn’t mean we can’t take up wonderful opportunities, but it does mean we take them up with intention and make accommodations where we can to lessen the impact. For me personally, I intentionally worked more hours in the lead up to Christmas so I could schedule out posts and newsletters for the blog, so I could then take an extended period of leave. Making an intentional choice on being busier for a set time, is different to blindly accepting opportunities and finding ourselves on the busy treadmill.
  • Avoid a new set of Joneses – in colloquial language keeping up with the Joneses means we find ourselves on a never ending spiral of consumption to keep up with the accumulation of material goods or social status of those around us. As a movement builds around slow living, Brooke notes that it can be easy to replace one set of Joneses for another.

Through sharing her personal story in how she slowed the pace of her life to enable her to live with greater intention, Brooke gives us a fantastic road map from which we can guide our own journey. Our journey maybe different to Brooke and her family’s but living slowly will look different for all families and Brooke encourages us to find our path.

Aesthetically Slow is one of the most beautiful books I have read in many years. The texture of the hard cover feels comforting in your hands. There is a wonderful combination of beautiful images and hand writing like notes/sketches dotted through out the text that subtly reinforce the slowing down messages Brooke is sharing in her writing.

You can find links to purchase the book for various countries on Brooke’s website Slow Your Home.