In Pursuit of Silence by George Prochnik
Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise

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One of the most entertaining parts of the book concerns Julia Barnett Rice...The way she dealt with tooting tugboats is fascinating, but the way she dealt with rowdy young ruffians around hospitals is inspirational in its diplomatic brilliance.
-Globe and Mail

Synopsis

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 host 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.
 


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About George Prochnik

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GEORGE PROCHNIK is the author of Putnam Camp: Sigmund Freud, James Jackson Putnam, and the Purpose of American Psychology, a New York Times "Editor's Choice" pick and winner of a 2007 Gradiva Award. He has written for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Playboy, and Cabinet magazine, among other publications. He lives in Brooklyn. www.inpursuitofsilence.com
 
Published March 25, 2010 by Anchor. 354 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Globe and Mail

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Reviewed by LAUREN B. DAVIS on Aug 23 2012

One of the most entertaining parts of the book concerns Julia Barnett Rice...The way she dealt with tooting tugboats is fascinating, but the way she dealt with rowdy young ruffians around hospitals is inspirational in its diplomatic brilliance.

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