What is Sloww? I’ve been thinking about this question a lot lately.
Sloww has evolved over the last few years, but everything is still rooted in the seed that started it. This post is intended to give you my latest thinking about where Sloww has been—and where it’s headed.
I’m also interested in hearing your thoughts: what does Sloww mean to you? There’s a section at the end of the post with a request to leave a comment or get in touch with me via email/social.
Post Contents: Click a link here to jump to a section below
- What is Sloww? (what I do, what you get)
- How has Sloww evolved? (Stages 1-3, who Sloww is for)
- Where is Sloww going in the future?
- What’s in a name?
- Reader Feedback Request
What is Sloww?
At its highest level:
- Sloww is creating the web’s deepest guide to the art of living by synthesizing the world’s wisdom on human potential through an interdisciplinary study across diverse yet interconnected disciplines:
What I do:
- Everything you see on Sloww is a result of my existential crisis and reflection of my journey to life purpose over the last 5+ years. Sloww is essentially my public “commonplace book” where I’ve attempted to combine and align everything about myself: my personality, my purpose, my play, my philosophy, my philanthropy, and more.
- Thinking is my passion. The term I’ve found that best describes what I do is “synthesizer” or “synthesist,” but these also apply: knowledge integrator, autodidact, philomath, comprehensivist, generalist, life strategist, lifestyle designer, cognitive explorer, and citizen researcher.
- I’m an interdisciplinary dot connector across philosophers, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, professors, scientists, spiritual teachers, and many more.
- In short, the approach I take is: self-taught + syntopical reading + summarizing + synthesizing (synthesizing as a thinking style and a writing style).
- I’m a solopreneur pursuing the path of “conscious capitalism” (aka “enlightened entrepreneurship” or “spiritual business”) by creating digital products (aka “info/knowledge commerce” or “dCommerce”) for the new era of civilization we are living in now (aka “info/knowledge age/era” or “creator economy”).
There’s no operating manual for life, but life is an open book test. We’re all copying the best of those who came before us (“standing on the shoulders of giants”). I do all the homework—researching, curating, reading, note-taking, summarizing, synthesizing, and writing. You get all the highlights—so you spend less time learning and more time practicing and mastering.
What you get:
- You get a growing resource of the world’s deepest knowledge to maximize your human potential.
- You get a trusted guide on your journey to transformation: self-realization, self-discovery, self-development, self-actualization, self-transcendence, and more.
- You get high-signal content with a high wisdom-per-word ratio so you can get wise in less time:
- You get me as your personal curator to surface the most interesting content from around the web to you weekly (via the free Sloww Sunday newsletter).
- You get the most detailed book summaries of the world’s best books (via free book summaries).
- You get syntheses of the dots connected to live the good life (via Sloww Premium).
Where Sloww fits in your information diet:
- Samplers = Social media content, podcasts, YouTube videos, short-form blogs, etc.
- Heavy Appetizers = I feel like this is Sloww’s sweet spot. There seems to be a gap online between short-form blogs (300-1,000 word posts) and long-form books (50,000-100,000+ words). I’ve realized many of Sloww’s articles fall somewhere between 2,000-8,000 words. In a digital world of superficial content, this deeper level can better communicate deep, timeless insights. It also allows for connections across insights. Sometimes digesting a heavy appetizer will be enough on its own, and other times you’ll still want an entrée.
- Entrées = Books, source material, etc.
How has Sloww evolved over time?
I’ve observed at least three stages in Sloww’s evolution. Here’s an overview of each stage and how Sloww can help you no matter where you are in your own journey.
Sloww Stage 1:
- Key problem(s) addressed at this stage: “How do I slow down and live simpler?” Life is busy and full of stuff.
- Who Sloww is for at this stage: Intentional humans shifting their focus from external growth to internal growth and designing lighter lives.
- Taglines Previously Used: “Slow Living in a Fast World” / “Design a Lighter Life”
- Reference: Summary of posts 1-100.
- Sampling of Key Topics at this Stage: Slow living, unbusyness, simple living, voluntary simplicity, downshifting, minimalism, digital minimalism, decluttering, essentialism, financial independence, etc.
- Book Recommendations for this Stage: In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore, Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin, The Quest of the Simple Life by William J. Dawson, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, Essentialism by Greg McKeown, Atomic Habits by James Clear, The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel, The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson, and more books here.
- Stage Description: Sloww supports slowing down in a fast world because slowing down is the gateway to all things good—which aren’t things at all. “Things” like intentionality, unbusyness, less stress, simplicity, enough, lightness, reflection, deep thinking, purpose, meaning, connectedness, centeredness, mindfulness, spiritual growth, awakening, and consciousness. Sloww also encourages lighter living because more hasn’t added to our lives—we must subtract the superficial “stuff” (physical clutter and mental-emotional clutter) and shift inward where we can meet life face-to-face. This first stage is all about the initial paradigm shift: growing inwardly vs outwardly, qualitatively vs quantitatively. Slowing down is step one and foundational—it creates the space for all the transformation that comes next.
Sloww Stage 2:
- Important Note: The slowing down and lighter living from the prior stage is transcended and included in this stage—making space for you to find your life purpose.
- Key problem(s) addressed at this stage: “How do I find and create purpose in my life?” Humanity is currently in the midst of a meaning crisis. Jim Collins estimates that only 3-5% of humanity has found their purpose.
- Who Sloww is for at this stage: Heroic humans actualizing life purpose as the heroes and heroines of their own journeys.
- Taglines Previously Used: “Lighter Living + Higher Purpose” (also considered “High Imprint Living with a Low Footprint Lifestyle” / “High-Impact Living with a Low-Impact Lifestyle”)
- Reference: Summary of posts 101-200 and Sloww’s evolution from 1.0-2.0.
- Sampling of Key Topics at this Stage: Life purpose, meaning of life, happiness, self-actualization, lifestyle design, etc.
- Book Recommendations for this Stage: Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, and more books here.
- Stage Description: Sloww promotes finding purpose because there’s nothing more important than meaning in life but no one taught us how to find it (and we are currently in the midst of a collective meaning crisis). Everyone has the right to a life of purpose. Once you find your purpose, you can create from your purpose. Your self-actualization is also your self-transcendence as you give yourself to the world.
Sloww Stage 3:
- Important Note: Lighter living and life purpose from the prior stages are transcended and included in this stage.
- Key problem(s) addressed at this stage: “How do I master my mind and become wise?” Along with the meaning crisis, humanity is also in the midst of a sensemaking crisis in the information/knowledge era—societal wisdom isn’t keeping up with technological advancement. Ken Wilber, creator of Integral Theory, believes we won’t see the end of polarization until 10% of the population reaches the next stage of human development.
- Who Sloww is for at this stage: Holistic (or Meta) humans awakening consciousness and embodying wisdom.
- Taglines Used: “Awaken the Art of Living” / “Awaken + Actualize the Art of Living”
- Reference: Summary of posts 201-300.
- Sampling of Key Topics at this Stage: Human development, mental models, systems thinking, knowledge, psychology, philosophy, spiritual growth, mindfulness, wisdom, consciousness, enlightenment, transcendence, etc.
- Book Recommendations for this Stage: Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (Stephen Mitchell Version), A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer, Awareness by Anthony De Mello, This is Water by David Foster Wallace, On The Shortness Of Life by Seneca, The Farther Reaches of Human Nature by Abraham Maslow, Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows, and more books here.
- Stage Description: Sloww synthesizes the timeless art of living for our modern world because we aren’t taught how to live in school or the workplace—how to be conscious and holistic humans who actualize our full potential and live fully alive. For the first time in human history, individuals are more responsible for themselves than ever before. The modern art of living is accepting and owning your responsibility for your own life—from your state of consciousness to your actions in the world and everything in between.
Where is Sloww going in the future?
My full reading list can be found here (Google Spreadsheet). I’ve currently read roughly 20% of the list (50 of 250 books). If you browse the remaining books, here are some of the topics I’m interested in exploring more:
- Human Development Frameworks: Integral Theory, Spiral Dynamics, etc.
- Better Thinking: mental models, systems thinking, memetics/mimetics, etc.
- Information: the study of information itself/how it flows, information ecology/commons, hive mind/global brain, etc.
- The Natural World: universal laws/principles, big ideas from big disciplines (physics, biology, etc), etc.
- Spiritual Texts & Indigenous Wisdom: The Bhagavad Gita, The Upanishads, The I Ching, etc.
What’s in a name?
There have been moments where I’ve wondered if the name “Sloww” still embodies everything this site has to offer. Ultimately, I feel it’s still relevant for these reasons:
Obviously, Sloww at stage 1 makes the most explicit sense. Someone once asked me why Sloww ends in “ww”:
- It’s just a fun play on the word “slow” that adds some emphasis and extra meaning—like when you catch yourself speeding through life or reacting too quickly and mentally tell yourself to “slowwww down.” It also represents the slowness needed to be present and dive deeply into anything in life (as outlined below).
Sloww at stages 2 & 3 is a bit more implicit:
- Slowing down is the gateway to create space to discover purpose, the gateway to presence/consciousness in spirituality, etc.
The name could even be an acronym for how I sum up my own purpose:
- Sloww = Synthesizing Lots Of Worldly Wisdom
The name also encapsulates my thinking and writing process:
- All of these processes are slow and time/attention/energy-consuming (going wide and deep): researching, curating, reading, note-taking, summarizing, synthesizing, and writing.
The name also implies compounding that only happens over the long-term:
- Building a mental latticework of knowledge is slow and compounds over time.
- Building a business is slow and compounds over years.
- Human development evolves and emerges over years.
- Mother Nature takes her time.
Reader Feedback Request:
- What is Sloww to you (in your own words)?
- Has Sloww helped you in one or more of the three stages mentioned above (or with something else)?
- How has Sloww actually impacted your life?
Anything goes here. I’d love to better understand Sloww through your worldview and words. If you’re comfortable sharing publicly, please leave a comment below. If you’d rather message me privately, please reach out via email or social media.
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