Ruthless Elimination of Hurry – Discussion Guide 2


Part 2

There is a PDF version of this Discussion Guide here.


Part 1, Chapter 2: a brief history of speed; and Chapter 3: something is deeply wrong.

Review, Reflect and Discuss

Feel free to comment and raise any questions that occur to you as you read. Don’t be limited to the questions listed after each summary, but they might help to prime your thinking.

Chapter 2 – JMC gives a quick (ironic!) overview of how the pace of life has ‘sped up’, and touches briefly on some of the innovational culprits of this acceleration: the sun-dial, the clock tower, the light bulb, labour-saving devices, the internet and the iPhone. He points out we get less sleep and less of what we thought we’d have more of – leisure! There has been the loss of Sabbath and the internet and Netflix eat away at our time and our attention span; apparently, we have less of an attention span than goldfish! He argues that ‘everything is being intentionally designed for distraction and addiction.’ He quotes from people who have been in this industry, from Silicon Valley, and who are now ‘conscientious objectors’ to it. He asks the question: what is this pace of life, and the distraction and addiction, doing to our souls?

  • Are you convinced by the author’s analysis of how the pace of life has increased and that there is an industry that is intentionally seeking to distract us and get us addicted? Is this true or a conspiracy theory? Can you see how it might have drawn you in?
  • If it is true, what might it be doing to our souls?

Chapter 3 –. Psychologists talk about ‘hurry sickness’. It is ‘a form of violence on the soul.’ JMC lists 10 symptoms of hurry sickness (I suggest you review them). The answer is not guilt and shame, but we do need to take the problem seriously and recognise that hurry sickness is toxic, a threat to our emotional and spiritual health. It eats away at our ‘attention’ – our ability to attend to the moment. Attention leads to awareness, especially our awareness of God. And what we give our attention to determines the person we become. Apprentices of Jesus are called to give their attention to him. This is the secret to living life well.

  • How did you do with that list of the symptoms of hurry sickness? Any you relate to?
  • In what way is hurry sickness toxic? How does it damage our emotional and spiritual health?
  • Why do you think that the ability to ‘pay attention’ is key to following Jesus and living a good life?


We get to Part 2: The Solution, thankfully! Read Chapter 3: Hint, the solution isn’t more time; and Chapter 4: The secret of the easy yoke.

I realise people will be reading this book at different paces, and we don’t want anyone to hurry! Please let me know in a comment below whether you’d like me to have the next discussion guide ready by midweek (Wednesday) or by next weekend?

More to read


  1. Sonya Shotter

    I’m ahead in my reading of this book as i started it before the book club was running so midweek notes would be good for me. Then I can go back and re-read part 2 so that I’ll be in step with everyone!

  2. Sonya Shotter

    One thing I have noticed during lockdown is that I really like the fact that I have less choices to make. I sometimes find the more choices I have then the more ‘fear of missing out’ I have. I like shopping at Lidl because there is little or no choice of brands. You ‘get what you’re given’! In our 1st world problem of too much choice this can add to the hurry and the distraction aspect. What shall I do today? I know I’ll stay in:). Quite liberating actually!

  3. Steph Wescott

    I think he is spot on hurry sickness is crippling. I’ve read up to part 2 . I’ll be honest there are a lot of distractions on that list I find myself doing. After a tough day at work or when facing a problem I’ll often feel I need to switch off and escape into a film or a book and travel somewhere else other than being in the now. The solution isn’t more time we get enough time we just feel there isn’t as we are spending time distracted doing the wrong stuff. I’m finding this book facinating

  4. Richard Rathod

    I have often considered nihilism to be the greatest threat to our generation, JMC has got me questioning this. I’ll confess this book has changed my thinking about a lot of my own personal behaviours and caused me to look at my attitude towards people when I feel in a ‘hurry’.

    I note that JMC references Edward Bernays Freud’s nephew, and perhaps the second most famous psychoanalyst in the World Carl Jung (p20) who provided some of the forethinking for the Myers-Briggs personality typing. I think this is a particularly astute reference as those little games you scroll past on Facebook are no longer created by game designers, they are created by psychologists to be as addictive as possible.

    One of my most unpopular opinions amongst my psychology colleagues is that I really believe that ever since the 60’s we have greatly exaggerated the human free will. I specialise in addiction and know all too well how difficult exercising our free will is. It takes a level of discipline which is comparable to an Olympic athlete, I suspect St Paul would agree.

    I believe it is our psychological assumption that we are all automatically autonomous that leaves us vulnerable to the clutches of an attention seeking media. I don’t believe the technological and social media industry are evil, I don’t even believe they have created such a distracting platform on purpose. When we examine the way the brain’s dopamine receptors react to visual-sensory stimulus (particularly imagery that causes fear or arousal) I feel our current situation is inevitable.

    The effects of this on our minds is disastrous, which in terms reduces our capacity to exercise free will over our phones/emails.

    I’ll let JMC add hope to this problem in the next chapter 😊

    • Trevor Lloyd

      Sadly, Richard, I think that the seeking to make us addicted is deliberate. It is the way our business and advertising culture have served the great god Mammon for many decades now. It has been generating ‘false needs’ in us all for a long time now. I agree with you that autonomy and individualism has been exaggerated, especially since the sixties but maybe going back to at least 19th century Romantics and probably even the Reformation. I’m also reading Tom Holland’s Dominion at the moment and it has some fascinating insights into this.

  5. Richard Rathod


    I can’t believe people used to sleep for 11 hours! (p.31) and I am now in my own madness refusing to wear a watch and my new favourite thing to shout whenever I feel I am being rushed is “The gods confound the man!” (p30). Apologies Kate :/

  6. Paul Symonds

    I found the third chapter in particular to be very insightful. One of my biggest fears is that I’ll get to the end of my life and realise I never did any of the things I’d determined to do. – ’skimming through life rather than living it’.
    I still don’t recognise hurry as being my problem, but the symptoms he lists are pretty much spot on for me. I tend to get a bit excited when I read the first half of books such as this, as I know I’m not living life to the full and, when an author lists my symptoms, I think, ‘Ooh yes, that’s me – maybe the answers to all my problems are in the second half of this book’. And it’s possible they are, but the trick is to actually put into action what’s being taught. Trouble is, many of the listed symptoms make it quite tricky to put the answers into practice. It’s not an excuse, but it is a thing.
    I do look forward to reading the solution and pray that, with God’s help, I’ll be able to make better progress than I have in the past.


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