Listen Up: Julian Treasure’s Recommended Reads
Renowned sound designer, musician and communication expert, Julian Treasure, travels the world training people to listen more mindfully and speak more effectively. He has dedicated his life to improving the way we make and consume sound.
This list includes books on building your speaking power and becoming a conscious listener, as well as some reads on understanding the impact of music and how sound shapes our behavior and relationships.
Julian Treasure’s Book Recommendations
1. The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World by R. Murray Schafer
The soundscape – a term coined by R. Murray Schafer – is our sonic environment, the collection of sounds that make up the world we live in. And our world is getting noisier. How do we contend with this sonic overload and our diminishing ability to distinguish nuance?
“There’s a wonderful book by R. Murray Schafer, who is something of a godfather to ‘modern oral ecology’ it’s called, where people care about soundscapes and preserving good sounds. Murray Schafer invented the word ‘soundscape’ actually. And, if you want to become conscious about your listening it’s a great place to start.”
2. How to be Heard: Secrets for Powerful Speaking and Listening by Julian Treasure
This week’s Simplify guest, Julian Treasure, is probably best-known to many through his five very popular TED Talks on how to listen and be heard. Treasure’s book reveals simple habits that can help to redress communication imbalances which will in turn positively impact our personal and professional relationships.
“…Obviously, that [improving listening and conversational abilities] is what my book is all about. So, I certainly would recommend How To Be Heard.”
3. Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle
Media scholar Sherry Turkle advocates for a return to face-to-face conversations as a means of closing that gaps that technology has created in our lives. Comprising in-depth research and interviews, Turkle shows up where technology can and cannot improve our lives and why a good conversation, is and has always been, the way forward.
4. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry Turkle
The second book by Turkle in this list, Alone Together, investigates the negative impact of technology on our emotional lives. Based on hundreds of interviews, the book looks at the unsettling changes to our personal relationships.
“There’s a lovely book by Sherry Turkle, professor at MIT, called Reclaiming Conversation which is a brilliant book about exactly this again [improving listening and conversational abilities] and about the effects of technology on all of us. She wrote a book called Alone Together before that and delivered the TED talk on that too, which is where I met her. And I think she’s absolutely right that technology in many ways has driven us apart, you know, rather than bringing us together in a big global village.”
5. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Susan Cain’s Quiet took the world by storm when it was released, a sure sign that introverts had felt undervalued and misunderstood for far too long. Her book reframes our narrow understanding of what introversion looks like and offers introverts a new way to view themselves in a world that values extroversion.
“I know her [Susan Cain] from TED, which is another great book about the importance of quiet people and not getting seduced by this sort of noisy thrashing world that we’re in having to be bigger and better than other people.”
Simplify Extra Credit Reading
Based on the episode of Simplify with Julian Treasure, we created a book list that you can read (or listen to!) on Blinkist in 15 minutes or even fewer:
1. Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg
These blinks introduce the principles of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) as a compassionate way of being with ourselves and others. Through simple techniques, you can learn how to consciously change your language and thinking to forge better quality relationships with others.
2. How Music Works by David Byrne
How Music Works sets out to explain the workings of music from ancient history up to now. Writing from an insider’s perspective, David Byrne delves into different aspects of popular music, based on current research, music history, technical knowledge and his life-long career in the new wave band Talking Heads.
3. This Is Your Brain On Music: Understanding a Human Obsession by Daniel Levitin
In This is Your Brain on Music, musician and neuroscientist Dr. Daniel J. Levitin illuminates exactly what happens in the brain when people listen to rhythms, timbres and pitches, helping us understand why we’re so profoundly affected by music.
4. Lying by Sam Harris
Lying explains why the act of telling lies is so dangerous. And that means all lies, from the tiny lies that people tell on a daily basis to the massive lies sometimes told on the world stage. All in all, it’s always better to tell the truth.
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