Reading Project 2018 – The Wonderbox #3

I heard the author of this book, Roman Krznaric being interviewed on the radio about his new book and thought to myself  – what a fascinating guy. I must read the book in question. But alas my library does not keep it. Boo hoo. My library does keep a couple of his books and this one I’m going to review was available – woo hoo!

So Krznaric is a historian and in this book, he connects history and its lessons to how we could improve and enjoy our lives today. He neatly breaks down his sub-chapters into ideas that are common, familiar and dear to us such as:

  • love
  • family
  • empathy
  • work
  • time
  • money
  • senses
  • travel
  • nature
  • belief
  • creativity
  • deathstyle

I would have liked to see democracy there but I suppose that’s not in most people’s radar. Well it should be because it affects their way of life in some ways. Perhaps in another book.

The book’s format is simple. Krznaric defines the idea (love, money, time etc) at first within the modern context and the issues surrounding it. The he discusses how that idea has been practiced in the past; when it emerged in our history; and how it evolved to now. Let’s take the example of time. We are fixated and obsessed with time today. We don’t seem to have enough of it and we always feels rushed. And here Krznaric suggests that we could break the “shackles of our making” (p. 102) by understanding three aspects of history:

  • the measurement of time since the middle ages;
  • its manipulation since the industrial revolution;
  • and the growing cult of speed from the 19th century

According to Krznaric, our obsession of time could result in short-term thinking which is causing a culture of social irresponsibility. The way to alleviate this is to alter our metaphors and cultivate slowness. There’s currently a visionary project called “the clock of the long now” conceived by Stewart Brand and Brian Eno which might just do the trick.

So overall, there’s so much stuff and punch in this book that yes I must agree this is another great read! This book certainly challenges our way of thinking and way of life!


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