Julian Treasure studies sound and advises businesses on how best to use it.
Julian Treasure is the chair of the Sound Agency, a firm that advises worldwide businesses -- offices, retailers, hotels -- on how to use sound. He asks us to pay attention to the sounds that surround us. How do they make us feel: productive, stressed, energized, acquisitive?
Treasure is the author of the book Sound Business and keeps a blog by the same name that ruminates on aural matters (and offers a nice day-by-day writeup of TEDGlobal 2009). In the early 1980s, Treasure was the drummer for the Fall-influenced band Transmitters.
“[Ocean surf] has the frequency of roughly 12 cycles per minute. And … 12 cycles per minute is [also] roughly the frequency of the breathing of a sleeping human. There is a deep resonance with being at rest.”
“Birdsong is a sound which most people find reassuring. There is a reason for that. Over hundreds of thousands of years we’ve learned that when the birds are singing, things are safe. It’s when they stop you need to be worried.”
“You are one-third as productive in open-plan offices as in quiet rooms.”
“Sound is complex. There are many countervailing influences. It can be a bit like a bowl of spaghetti: sometimes you just have to eat it and see what happens.”
“The world is now so noisy with this cacophony going on visually and auditorily, it’s just hard to listen; it’s tiring to listen.”
“We spend roughly 60 percent of our communication time listening, but we’re not very good at it. We retain just 25 percent of what we hear.”