The Power of Silence in a World of Noise
What if the most serious personal and global challenges won’t be solved with more thinking or talking?
Justin Zorn and Leigh Marz take us on an unlikely journey—from the West Wing of the White House to San Quentin’s death row; from Ivy League brain research laboratories to underground psychedelic circles; from the temperate rainforests of Olympic National Park to the main stage at a heavy metal festival—to explore the meaning and importance of silence and the art of finding it in any situation.
Golden is a field guide to getting beyond the noise—not just the noise in our ears, but also on our screens and in our heads. Drawing on lessons from neuroscience, business, spirituality, politics, and the arts, Marz and Zorn explore why auditory, informational, and internal silence is essential for physical health, mental clarity, ecological sustainability, and vibrant community. They show how to go beyond the ordinary rules and tools of mindfulness to help individuals, families, organizations, and whole societies dial down the noise and find pristine attention.
In this engaging and unexpected rethinking of the meaning of quiet, Marz and Zorn make the bold and convincing argument that we can repair our world by reclaiming the presence of silence in our lives.
“Golden is a guide to getting out of the shallows and into the depths. It’s a synthesis of many disciplines to chart a path toward a deeper, livelier, more aware and more peaceful way of being in the world.”
— Rebecca Solnit, bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Hope in the Dark, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, and Wanderlust
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“Golden is an essential journey filled with a galaxy of relevant teachers. Elaborate, yet simple. A first step in finding balance. At its heart, the practice of listening, honestly told.”
— John Francis, Ph.D.
Author of Planetwalker and former UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador
“Through the heartfelt stories of teachers like Jarvis Jay Masters, this book shows how to practice patience and compassion in times of fear and distraction. Golden explores why equanimity matters not just for our own resilience and joy, but also for the social and ecological sustainability of this world that we love.”
— Pema Chödrön
Buddhist teacher and bestselling author of When Things Fall Apart and The Places That Scare You
“Marz and Zorn make a convincing link between humanity's modern obsession with the pursuit of dopamine and our addiction to noise. Through extensive research and engaging storytelling, they point the way to more clarity, expansiveness, and calm.”
— Judson Brewer, M.D., Ph.D.
New York Times Bestselling Author of Unwinding Anxiety and The Craving Mind
“In a world when information overload has become the norm and indeed a badge of honor, Golden makes a radical claim: Unplugging and savoring silence is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and our world. Golden weaves a gorgeous thread from neuroscience to politics, from spirituality to business, showing us the way to peace and renewal. I’m grateful for this profound yet practical exploration of silence and how to find it.”
— Arianna Huffington
Founder & CEO, Thrive Global
“Golden is an ode to the silence that can heal trauma and awaken creativity. In a plugged-in world of overwhelming noise and distractions, it’s all too easy to dehumanize each other, losing our sense of connectedness to other people and nature. This book offers a much-needed antidote.”
— Rick Doblin
Founder and Executive Director at Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)
“Justin Zorn and Leigh Marz offer us a powerful vision and valuable roadmap for how to repair our society: find more silence. Golden shows us how to find a kind of silence that’s more than the absence of noise—it’s a presence that offers us health, clarity, understanding, and happiness.”
— U.S. Representative Tim Ryan
Member of Congress from Ohio and author of A Mindful Nation
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Justin Talbot Zorn has served as both a policymaker and a meditation teacher in the US Congress. A Harvard-and-Oxford-trained specialist in the economics and psychology of wellbeing, Justin has written for The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Harvard Business Review, Foreign Policy, Time, Newsweek, Wired, The Nation, The American Prospect, CNN and other publications. He is co-founder of Astrea Strategies, a consultancy that bridges deep visioning with impactful communications and action. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his wife and three children.
Leigh Marz is a collaboration consultant and leadership coach for major universities, corporations, and federal agencies as well as a longtime student of pioneering researchers and practitioners of the ritualized use of psychedelic medicines in the West. In her professional work, she has led diverse initiatives, including a training program to promote an experimental mindset among teams at NASA and a decade-long cross-sector collaboration to reduce toxic chemicals in products, in partnership with Green Science Policy Institute, Harvard University, IKEA, Google, and Kaiser Permanente. She is the cofounder of Astrea Strategies. Leigh lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband and daughter.