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Download In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise, by George Prochnik Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (192 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: George Prochnik Narrator: Don Hagen Publisher: Gildan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 Prochnik examines 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Elegant and eloquent.”

    New York Times

  • “Smart…Silence is good for falling asleep, but Prochnik's attentive take on noise keeps us wide awake.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “An adventure of profound listening.”

    New Yorker

  • “Elegant and understated, this thoughtful look at rarely considered aspects of everyday life reveals an often unrecognized cost of modern living.”


  • “[A] genial and informative study of the noisiness of modern life.”

    New Republic

  • “Fascinating.”


  • “A global quest to find those who still value silence.”


  • “Sometimes alarming and often charming, it sings the praises of quiet and reports the uncertain progress in the war against noise.”

    Dallas Morning News

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Kristin | 2/8/2014

    " Tried so hard to read this--I never give up on books, but it was torture to get half way through and I still felt like the book was taking far too long getting "there" (though I'm not sure what "there" actually is because I gave up on the journey). Part of this is simply that the most relevant topics when it comes to *noise* are apparently the least interesting topics to me (LOUD bass-thumping cars, etc.); if the chapters had been scaled down a bit (which, I think, could have been possible), then I may have had a better experience trying to get through the book to its "point." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Emma | 2/3/2014

    " I originally shelved this book under spirituality but really it was more like reading a pbs documentary about silence and noise. The author investigated what we consider noise, what we do about it (like covering it with more noise through headphones) and the socio-cultural associations with both silence and noise. I recommend this book, it's engagingly written and well researched. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Kevin Eagan | 2/2/2014

    " This books starts with an interesting premise, but it does not go into the spiritual and social implications of noise in our modern world in as much depth as I had hoped. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Marianna | 1/15/2014

    " Lots of interesting technical details about noise and why it exists. I was hoping for more of a focus on silence and where the author found it. But I suppose his underlying premise is that silence is extremely difficult to find. "

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