This Is What It Sounds Like

This Is What It Sounds Like

What the Music You Love Says About You


Brought to you by Penguin.

Despite being unable to play an instrument, Susan Rogers became an extraordinarily successful record producer - and certainly one of the most successful women record producers in history - because of her ability to listen. (She was an engineer on Prince's "When Doves Cry", which inspired the title of the book.)

This is What It Sounds Like distils a lifetime's expertise as a producer and an award-winning professor with a PhD in cognitive neuroscience, to present a new theory of listening for everyday music fans. Each person has a unique identity as a listener, she explains, determined by seven influential dimensions of musical listening: authenticity, realism, novelty, melody, lyrics, rhythm and timbre.

In helping readers understand and embrace their personal musical identity, Rogers explores the different ways music appeals to our mind and body, how falling in love with a song is a lot like falling in love with a person, and what your preferred music reveals about what you need to feel whole. Told in a lively, empathetic style, with fascinating stories of encounters with musicians from Prince to Miles Davis to David Byrne, This is What it Sounds Like will change your musical life.

© Dr. Susan Rogers 2022 (P) Penguin Audio 2022


  • This Is What It Sounds Like is a revelation... extraordinary insights about music, emotion, and the brain... An instant classic, [it] should be read by anyone who has ever been moved by a piece of music-in other words, everyone
    Dr. Daniel J. Levitin, New York Times bestselling author of This Is Your Brain on Music and The Organized Mind

About the authors

Dr. Susan Rogers

Susan E Rogers, PhD. is a Professor of Music Cognition at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she received the Berklee Distinguished Faculty Award, the college's highest teaching honor. Prior to her science career, Rogers was a multi-platinum record producer, recording engineer, and mixer. She is best known for her work with Prince ("Purple Rain") as well as David Byrne, Barenaked Ladies, and many others.
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Ogi Ogas

Ogi Ogas, PhD, is a mathematical neuroscientist and the author of Journey of the Mind: How Thinking Emerged from Chaos. He was a Department of Homeland Security Fellow and a Research Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
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