Sonic Boom

Sonic boom I highly recommend Sonic Boom: How Sound Transforms the Way We Think, Feel, and Buy by Joel Beckerman, a composer and audio engineer.

The book contains a number of examples of how sound unconsciously influences how we feel and behave. As Beckerman says, when we watch a horror movie, we often cover our eyes so we don’t get scared. What we should do is cover our ears because it is the sound that stimulates the feelings of shock and horror – even though we don’t necessarily notice it.

Some of his cases include the transit systems in Tokyo and Moscow, which use sound in innovative ways to ensure that passengers know they are headed to the right place. The sound of the sizzling fajitas at Chili’s entices restaurant goers and somehow makes the food taste better. On airplanes, the droning sound of the engines makes us less sensitive to sugar and salt.

Other examples include Disney, which subtly uses sound to usher people around its parks; and supermarkets, which Beckerman insists dramatically under-utilize the technology at their disposal. He makes a compelling case that supermarkets easily could leverage sound effects and music to completely transform the grocery shopping experience.