Frustrated by the constant high levels of noise in his native New York City, George Prochnik takes it upon himself to discover the meaning and virtues of silence in a world that is perpetually filled with noise. His research takes him to trappist monasteries, boom car conventions, as well as to scientists who explain the ear canal and the scientific functions of noise and sound.
Prochnik provides an in-depth exploration of silence in our modern community. In his pursuit of silence, Prochnik went everywhere from a trappist monastery, to a boom car convention in Florida, and investigated how music and noise is used in the retail and hospitality industry to promote business and shopping. Along with the science studies about the ear and the history lessons of anti-noise policies developed by local and federal governments, Prochnik provides a well-rounded look at the benefits of silence. He delves into the questions of why we have to search for it, and what the detriments are of noise and lack of silence appreciation in our lives.
It’s very inspirational…in that I listen to my car stereo at a lower volume, have abandoned by iPod when I go for walks, and in general, try to be quieter and listen to the world around me, rather than try to drown it out.
Although I like the variety of topics discussed in this book, I found them somewhat random and unrelated. He definitely did his research with each section though. There is a full bibliography in the back of the book for anyone wanting more material on the same topic.
His writing style has a very flow. Its witty, quippy, eloquent and informative. It’s not too wordy, the chapters were perfect lengths, and his devotion to the subject is really apparent in each chapter. It’s a good read for anyone needing a reminder that sometimes its better to enjoy the silence than to drown out the nonsense in your life.