“The quickest way to understand the power of sound is by seeing what happens when it’s gone…” Can you imagine a world without sound? A world where you can’t hear your family’s voices, your favorite music, cars honking at each other, shoes clicking on the floor as people walk, the heart-wrenching sound of your phone hitting the floor… these are a few of the thousands of sounds that we hear and process daily that make up our environment, create meaning, and construct our memories.
In The Sonic Boom, Joel Beckerman and Tyler Gray analyze the way in which we hear and process sound. This process is a subconscious yet integral part of the way in which we understand our world, thoughts, emotions, memories, and more. Though it sounds complex, Beckerman continuously reiterates throughout the book that it’s not necessary to be a scientist to understand the concepts in this book. Hearing sound is a natural part of the human experience, therefore it involves all of us. Beckerman discuses many different things that are part of the human experience that we can all relate to. For example, he talks about the Super Bowl, and how the number of viewers sky rocketed when one simple thing was added to the middle of the game- music. Beckerman also discusses an interesting concept, how Disney World has mastered the “sound of silence”. By this, he means that we never experience true silence, only sounds that we associate with silence. Disney creates a peaceful atmosphere outside of their parks with with sounds that we associate with “peace and quiet”, such as soft bird noises.
There are two things that you can gain by reading The Sonic Boom. First, the ability to recognize and use certain sounds to your advantage to reach your communication goals. Second, an understanding of the affect that the hundreds of sounds we hear per minute affect our thoughts, emotions, and decisions.
The Sonic Boom is for everyone. Beckerman and Gray write in a way that keeps us hooked from beginning to end, and appeals to everyone. The book is especially individual in the way that it looks past the basic psychology and neuroscience on the topic and recognizes the equally as significant way that sound affects us on a deeper level, by touching our hearts and souls and things that make us human.