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Publisher's Summary

More than money, power, and even happiness, silence has become the most precious and dwindling commodity of our modern world.

Between iPods, music-blasting restaurants, earsplitting sports stadiums, and endless air and road traffic, the place for quiet in our lives grows smaller by the day. In Pursuit of Silence gives context to our increasingly desperate sense that noise pollution is, in a very real way, an environmental catastrophe.

Listening to doctors, neuroscientists, acoustical engineers, monks, activists, educators, marketers, and aggrieved citizens, George Prochnikexamines why we began to be so loud as a society, and what it is that gets lost when we can no longer find quiet. He shows us the benefits of decluttering our sonic world.

As Prochnik travels across the United States and overseas, we meet a rich cast of characters: an idealistic architect who is pioneering a new kind of silent architecture in collaboration with the Deaf community at Gallaudet University; a special operations soldier in Afghanistan (and former guitarist with Nirvana) who places silence at the heart of survival in war; a sound designer for shopping malls who ensures that the stores we visit never stop their auditory seductions; and a group of commuters who successfully revolted against piped-in music in Grand Central Station.

A brilliant, far-reaching exploration of the frontiers of noise and silence, and the growing war between them, In Pursuit of Silence is an important book that will appeal to fans of Michael Pollan and Daniel Gilbert.

©2010 George Prochnik (P)2010 Gildan

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An important subject and a well intentioned work.

Worth reading and very enjoyable in places, simply longer and more verbose than necessary. The author needs an editor that encourages him to be less flowery with his words. That a book on silence has a high noise to signal ratio is ironic.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Neryl
  • BAULKHAM HILLS, Australia
  • 07-04-11

Bring it on! A quieter world

Interesting book.
Why does a search for silence so often mean an investigation of noise?
Touched on topics I had never heard of before.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Discovered Unexpected Thoughts on Silence

I too find noise unusually annoying and painful. Mr. Prochnik's research is interesting and uncovers some of the difficulties in reducing noise. His findings were surprising, discouraging, and inspiring in turn. He relays his research with an appealing sense of humor.

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  • Overall
  • Dr.
  • 04-07-13

Good but not great

I was really looking forward to reading this book, having read some great reviews. However, although overall it was a good listen, I was left feeling a bit cheated.

The book could have been titled "An exploration of noise" and it would still have worked! I felt that a balanced approach was missing. The author went into great detail about noise, its types, origin and history whereas I was hoping for more of an insight into quiet and silence and there physiological and psychological effects.