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Silence: In the Age of Noise

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  6,926 ratings  ·  920 reviews
Behind a cacophony of traffic noise, iPhone alerts and our ever-spinning thoughts, an elusive notion - silence - lies in wait. But what really is silence? Where can it be found? And why is it more important now than ever?

Erling Kagge, the Norwegian adventurer and polymath, once spent fifty days walking solo in Antarctica with a broken radio. In this meditative, charming an
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published September 28th 2017 by Viking (first published 2016)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  6,926 ratings  ·  920 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I usually have a book of short stories or essays that I read at bedtime. These are the only books I read in bed. The title was perfect, called to me, as I too value my silent time, not only value it but need it to keep my mental equilibrium steady. I don't even own a cell phone. I found this book informative, soothing but alarming as well. The statistics show that the amount of time we are able to concentrate is decreasing, rather drastically in the last ten years. There was an experiment done a ...more
I found this book deeply unsatisfying. Whatever it's about, it's not really about silence. Erling Kagge is a well known explorer and traveller. My expectations, based on the book's summary, was that he would be writing about his experiences of silence journeying to the North or South Poles, for example, and that he might reach some profound conclusions. But no!

Full of quotes and examples from philosophers, other explorers and writers, it's as if Kagge has Googled up 'quotes on silence' and writt
Leslie Ray
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't a very long book and is more of a series of vignettes by the author on silence. There are 33 sections, with each like a separate essay. If you are someone who already values the essentials of silence, this will probably not add anything that you don't already know. However, they were quite meditative and reflective and I enjoyed the additional perspective on why we need to pursue silence in this age of constant noise and information. The pictures of artwork reflecting "silence" add to ...more
Megan Johnson
Have you ever read a book that resonated with you more so than usual because you read it at the right time in your life? For me, this was that book. At the time of reading it, I've been laid up for 6 weeks after ankle surgery which has given me more than enough time to think about what sort of direction I want for 2018. As someone that's always enjoyed time alone but makes a living from the internet, finding silence within noise is something that's important to me...and I've never read a better ...more
Jan 12, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very silly book.

Kagge is an explorer and entrepreneur whose worldview is close to 180 degrees away from my own. He seems earnest, but entirely humorless and enraptured by rich people problems. He also, in my mind, has never met an anecdote from which he can't draw the wrong conclusion.

He starts the book with a story about his teenage daughters at dinner expressing a disdain for silence and wanting to "quickly pull their smartphones out to find the answer." To shock them into valuing si
3.6 stars.

A lush meadow of insight lined with the occasional landmine of false profundity. Overall a worthwhile read on an underappreciated subject.
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
Erling Kagge is quite an impressive man. He was the first person in the world to walk alone to the South Pole. He was also the first to surmount the "three poles" – North, South and the summit of Mount Everest. He’s the founder of a publishing house and a well-respected author. I was thrilled to read what he had to say about the value of silence in our noisy world.

Kagge believes that there is power in silence. Silence is not a negative thing but seems to be something that many of us avoid. We tr
Laura Noggle
I believe silence is the new luxury. Silence is more exclusive and long lasting than other luxuries.

Totally in love with this little 160 page meditation on silence. Will definitely be revisiting this one.

Thoughts for Pondering:

*It is easy to assume that the essence of technology is technology itself, but that is wrong. The essence is you and me. It’s about how we are altered by the technology we employ, what we hope to learn, our relationship with nature, those we love, the time we spend, the en
Brendan Monroe
In the 2007 film "Noise", Tim Robbins plays David Owen, a Manhattan man so fed up with the noise of the city that he takes it upon himself to "rectify" the situation. He soon gains a popular following and a moniker, "The Rectifier", to go with it. At the risk of giving too much away, Owen eventually comes to the realization that vandalizing every car in the city is a slow way to go about achieving any lasting peace and quiet and instead decides to make some, ahem, noise, by campaigning for an an ...more
Julie Ehlers
Silence: In the Age of Noise was kind of a disappointment. My own expectations may be to blame; I seemed to be assuming this book would offer something I haven't already heard before. But it didn't. This book basically repeats the same points over and over: It's good to get out into nature and away from your phone if you can, but even if you can't, you can create your own silence in any situation by being mindful and not getting too caught up in life's craziness. There's (of course) an element o ...more
Crazy Book Eater
2,5. This book was like a small collection of interesting quotes about silence and inspiration. I appreciate who the author is and what he did but I find this book pointless. 😓🙁
Stephen Lamb
I was going to rate this 3 stars, but then I got to the part where he speaks worshipfully of Elon Musk and thanks him in the credits as a friend, so 2 stars it is.
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2019
The perfect review for this book on Silence would be:










Sadly the modern world isn't like that. We are bombarded by a cacophony of sounds and noise all day long. Our phones squeak for attention every few minutes, the noise from traffic on a road is constant over the course of a day, even most modern kitchen appliances make lots of unnecessary beeps even when you turn them on and off now days. Is there anywhere that could be described as silent on our planet? Even in a meadow on an almost s
Mark Joyce
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lovely reflective book with which to finish the year. It sits somewhere in the ti-border area between popular philosophy, self help and extreme travelogue, all of which are genres I would ordinarily avoid like the plague. However, the writing is unpretentious and the insights profound in a quiet, understated way. I’m also a sucker for heavily bearded Scandinavians in distressed knitwear banging on about solitude and the ultimate pointlessness of human existence, so this was bang up my alley.
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't help staring at the cover, taking a copy from the display and rearranging it so nobody would know I took a copy, and then replacing it. I couldn't decide whether or not this book was one to own, to hold at my bedside or one I could check out from the nearest library.

I returned almost two weeks later. I sought seasonal cards to send to family members in a sudden realization of love and adoration. I wanted to tell my siblings how much I loved them without words—as they would never suffi
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“I believe silence is the new luxury. Silence is more exclusive and long-lasting than other luxuries. “

Silence: In the age of Noise is a valuable effort to encourage the reader to value silence and Erling Kagge's different personal adventures to search for silence can be a good set of tipping points to show the great value of silence.

Silence is a central part of my life and I always appreciate the books of the similar content. Even in spending time with people, I prefer silent communications a
Cynthia Egbert
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-and-read
There are many who will not agree with my five star rating, but this book was exactly what I needed to begin my new year and I will be sharing it widely. There is no way for me to share all of the quotes that I loved from Kagge's offering but I will share two that will give you a taste, one from Kagge himself, "Shutting out the world is not about turning your back on your surroundings, but rather the opposite: it is seeing the world a bit more clearly, staying a course and trying to love your li ...more
Izabella (Pages Full of Stars)
I took one star down after a re-read but it's still a very good book. I share a lot of opinions with the author, about silence and just slowing down, so it's a very inspiring book for me. ...more
This was an interesting read; I decided to read this book because it focuses on mindfulness and meditation. I’m currently really interested in learning about these two topics and this was a good book to get a feel of how one person interprets being mindful and inner peace.

Silence is the account of experiences from Erling Kagge, a Norwegian explorer, about what is silence, how to achieve inner silence and how to connect to our being no matter where we are.

I wouldn’t categorize this as a self-help
Jul 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley

'Silence' by Erling Kagge, translated by Betty L. Crook

3 stars/ 6 out of 10

The whole subject of solitude and silence is of great interest to me, and I have already read several books on this topic. I was interested in reading this new book by Erling Kagge, the Norwegian explorer and adventurer.

The main body of this book consists of thirty-three sections, which look at various aspects of the 3 questions that Kagge raises: 'What is silence? Where is it? Why is it more important now than ever?'

Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
That's my favourite book I read this year!!! <3 ...more
Tatsuhiro Sato
3.5 Stars
Not what I was looking for. Average writing, though came to knew about few new things. Silence is easy to achieve for rich as compared to the common masses, and author being rich, can't take his thought considering those common people life aspect.
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Meditative, beautiful. The pictures are a gorgeous accompaniment. I started reading this when I woke up one night at 4 am and couldn't fall back to sleep. This was the perfect time to read a book on silence. I am someone who values silence. I almost never listen to the radio in the car, music and TVs are almost never on as background noise, I love to walk and listen to near silence in the woods. I really enjoyed Kagge's ruminations on this topic.

Some lines I liked:

"You set yourself a goal and c
I found this a thought provoking, intriguing and fascinating book. I did not know what quite to expect from it going in. It’s the type of book I enjoy reading snippets from, possibly at night time when trying to unwind from a busy day.

I loved the photography in the book, it was beautiful and serene.

The author spent 50 days in Antarctica and learnt to appreciate the importance and value of silence. I agree that the world is so busy and noisy, with people turning into smart phone zombies and scar
Jun 08, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of 33 unstructured short thoughts on silence.
Some are interesting and, to this reader, were thought-provoking. Others felt simply like random thoughts loosely connected to the topic.
A short and pleasant read, relevant for this day and age, and ideal as a holiday read.
chantel nouseforaname
I've read this book three times and what I think that I love about it is that it encourages me to be mindful of all the things that I'm hearing and seeing and what I'm taking into my body and mind.

I also love the imagery Erling paints about the silence of the arctic. I can just picture the snow and the various layers of white and ice and I can almost feel the cold. I love that part of this book.

I love the viewpoints on boredom, being imprisoned in oneself, learning about the sounds bouncing ar
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most important life lessons I've learned was from Mrs. Herzog's Algebra I class: "Sometimes addition happens through subtraction." We often find our happiest, richest, and fullest lives by taking things away, not by adding more things to them. Kagge, from an almost entirely non-spiritual perspective, explores the great bounty we can find by clearing from the landscape of our lives so much useless noise in order to make room for the trickling silence. ...more
From BBC radio 4 - Book of the week:
“We live in the age of noise. Silence is almost extinct.”

Philosopher and adventurer Erling Kagge - the first person to reach the ‘three poles’ of North, South and the summit of Everest - explores the power of silence, examining the important part it plays in music.

Read by Cal MacAninch
Abridged and produced by Eilidh McCreadie
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: misc
I really looked forward to this. And at first, the short little essays were interesting. But after a while the essays became more about a few quotes rather than anything profound. That said, there were some delightful sections and some very interesting observations and thought-provoking comments.

Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very enjoyable, read. Filled with quips, quotes and meditations. Although a quick read I would pick it up when I found a few spare moments. I felt that I could reflect better on some of the thoughts.
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Erling Kagge is a Norwegian explorer, lawyer, art collector, entrepreneur, politician, author and publisher.

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