Book Review: Listening Below the Noise, Anne D. LeClaire

Anne leClaire Listening Below the NoiseDuring a walk on a quiet Cape Cod beach in January 1992, author Anne LeClaire writes in her book Listening Below the Noise: A Meditation on the Practice of Silence that “the words “sit in silence” ran through her mind.  At that moment she made the decision to take the first and third Monday of each month in silence.  Though still active in her life, she chose not to speak.  She became a true observer of life around her.

In what is described as “part memoir, part philosophical inquiry”, Cape Cod Author Anne LeClaire shares the impact these silent Mondays had on her life as wife, mother, writer and friend, over the course of 17 years.

I know what you’re thinking already:

I don’t have time.
My family would NEVER let me
My friends and family wouldn’t understand
What will people think?

One of the great things about this book is LeClaire shares her struggles with all of the above.  Dealing with a frustrated husband, angry friends, and sometimes finding herself at events not able to participate in conversations in order to stay true to her silence, were all part of her learning experience.

In addition to sharing her struggles, she’s also very clear about the growth she experiences.  She learned how to judge less and listen more, how to take in more fully her environment, and how to stop owning the feelings of others.  Powerful stuff.

LeClaire’s writing drew me in immediately.  Every time I sat to read a new chapter I felt instantly transported to the beach on Cape Cod and peace surrounded me.  Reading the book itself was like taking a mini retreat.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by all the “noise” in society, this book will help shed a little light on how to find relief, without spending a lot of time or money.  LeClaire now leads workshops, and the final chapter of the book offers practical tips for bringing more silence into your life, even if you’re not quite ready for an entire day.  Do you dare start with a few minutes?

This is not a book about a woman who exits her everyday life, sitting cross legged and “ohming” all day.  Even on her silent Mondays, she’s active in her life, in a non-verbal way.  Silence and peace from a busy life is possible and quite frankly necessary for a healthy satisfying life.

Listening Below the Noise is a quick, worthwhile read.  Check it out at your local library or from Amazon and then pass it on.  I don’t know anyone who couldn’t use a little silence in their life.  And that is feel-good living.

Feel Good Living Rating: 4.5 hearts

Have you read the book?  What did you think?

Did you enjoy this post? Join the community to get new articles delivered once per week.


  • Tess The Bold Life

    Hi Stacey,
    Thanks for this review. It’s exactly what I need to do at this time in my life. I love that she chose two Mondays a month. I think because many of us project negativity on Mondays I will choose the same day. I’m going to begin with only one Monday and do it from 8-5. I like to make small changes and go from there.

  • Evita

    Hi Stacey

    Oh this book sounds so good! I am so fascinated by going silent like that, not so much not to talk, but to observe more. We miss so much of life because we are always acting and reacting. I can only imagine the depth this brought to her life. Naturally, it was not always easy I am sure, but probably worth it in the end.
    Thanks for the great review!

  • Stacey Shipman

    Tess – You’re welcome. Silence took a long time for me to enjoy, now I crave it. Please keep me posted on how your silent Mondays go – yes, baby steps are important. let me know how it goes!

    Evita – Yes, to observe more…that really is key. And to compliment your communication post the other day – when we’re silent we are able to listen more!

  • Chris Edgar

    Hi Stacey — that’s interesting — the day of silence strikes me as a great way to practice being in integrity and not compromising your values — as making your life about something more than survival.

  • Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord

    That sounds really interesting. It’s one thing to do a silent meditation retreat where the “norm” is not to talk or make eye contact with anyone around you. But to live a regular life like that – even for just a couple days a month? Wow. This really intrigues me, and I may just have to put this book on my list of springtime reading.

    The beautiful thing about being human – and being ENERGY – is that we don’t always have to talk in order to connect. I find that I’m able to connect with others through thought quite easily, if we’re both open and tuned into each other. This is a magical life, and connections – and peace – can be made and created in myriad ways.

    Have a blessed Wednesday, Stacey!

  • Katie West/The Levity Coach

    Wow…no I have not heard of this book. But am definitely going to check it out. I spent a couple years in my twenties where I was going through a challenging time and during that time, talking hurt. I craved silence. I even went on group trips and was silent for the whole time. I have always been grateful for the courage I had to honor the silence I needed back then. It has helped so much….especially in my life with little ones….we take regular quiet/silent times in the car just taking time to notice the world around us.
    I find that there can be great offering of gratitude by giving silence back to the world.
    Thanks for the book idea.

  • Karl Staib – Work Happy Now

    Sounds like my type of book. I know that I should use this technique, but I probably won’t. It’s the same excuses that you wrote above. No time, etc.

    Now that I had a few seconds to think. I could also start small. Again, like you said, I could start small and work from there. Maybe every Sunday evening. That’s something to think about. Thank you Stacey.

  • Stacey Shipman

    Hi Chris – interesting way to look at it – I hadn’t thought about that. Great new picture by the way!

    Megan – It’s a quick read…well worth it. Yes, to bring silence into your world when it isn’t the “norm” is an amazing thing.

    Katie – Silence is a great healer, isn’t it? in any situation, no matter how big or small!

    Karl – starting small is a great way to do it without feeling more overwhelmed. Let me know if you do it.

Search the Site:

About Stacey:

Hi and welcome to the Brave Communicator blog where I write about communication as the path to well-being, trust, and influence.

I share insights, observations and interviews with brave communicators. I invite you to take a look around and bravely join the conversation. Learn more
Get Free Blog Updates


©2013 Stacey Shipman. All Rights Reserved.