Silence: In The Age of Noise by Erling Kagge
Best for: Those looking for a quick but insightful read about all the noise in our lives.
In a nutshell: Explorer and writer Erling Kagge offers his poetic thoughts on the importance of silence in our lives.
“There are so many noises that we barely hear them all.”
“Silence in itself is rich. It is exclusive and luxurious.”
“Noise in the form of anticipating a screen or keyboard is addictive, and that is why we need silence.”
“[Silence] is about getting inside what you are doing. Experiencing rather than over-thinking. Allowing each moment to be big enough. Not living through other people and other things.”
Why I chose it: As evidenced by my last review, I’m trying to find more intentionality and authenticity in my life. This book seemed like a good addition to my list of books to help me in that goal.
What a lovely book. It starts with a quick introduction, then jumps into 33 short chapters that are meditations on the ideas of noise and of silence. Mr. Kagge — who has been to the North and South poles as well as the top of Mt. Everest — knows a thing or two about silence. He went 50 days without speaking when making his way across Antarctica.
But this book isn’t about figuring out a way to get to a snow-covered, empty continent. It’s more about looking at why silence matters, and what it means to find an escape from the din of our lives. As a writer, I especially appreciated the chapters that spoke to the idea that some experiences don’t translate well into words; we just need to be in them. The example he uses is examining the moss on a rock; I would say that I’ve experienced when traveling and I find myself in parts of the world that have architecture from many hundreds of years ago. Being in the moment, instead of talking or even writing about it, helps me connect to it more than if I tried to find the words.
I read a book many years ago called “Einstein’s Dreams,” and this reminds me a bit of that. I doubt they are actually similar, but the feeling I got from it is comparable. I felt calm, and invested in the writing. I felt peaceful but also motivated.
This book has been translated into 33 languages, and I can see why. I think the message translates well.