Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Published by Crown
From the publisher:
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society–from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.
Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.
Perhaps most inspiring, she introduces us to successful introverts–from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Finally, she offers invaluable advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a “pretend extrovert.”
This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.
This book was all over the blogosphere in the past couple of years, which should surprise exactly no one, since many bloggers consider themselves introverts. I have always known that I’m more introverted than extroverted, but was interested to see what this book could teach me about myself and was wondering if I’d even be surprised by some of Cain’s findings and conclusions. And I was fascinated by this book – it was everything I was expecting and hoping for, and I came away from it with a better understanding of the introvert/extrovert spectrum and how I fit into that mix.
I truly believe that all introverts, and anyone who is married to, dating, friends with, or close family members with an introvert (so probably everyone) should read this book. I recognized myself in so much of what Cain talked about and it was interesting how much I recognized other close friends and family members in my life – even people I would have sworn were extroverts!
I found the sections on successful introverts very interesting and I saw myself in a lot of the people Cain spotlighted. I too am a “pretend extrovert”, especially at work, where I have to talk to strangers all day long. Small talk has never been fun for me, but I am able to fake it when I have to and I know that even though I may feel awkward inside, people have no idea that I am any less than completely comfortable with meeting new people in the workplace. I also loved what she had to say about introverts in leadership positions, because I’m in that exact situation and I found myself recognizing a lot of the strengths she mentioned in myself. Reading about how successful introverts can be in leadership positions boosted my confidence and made me even more ready to embrace my introverted self, even while in my management position at work.
There’s a lot that I could talk about in regards to Quiet but honestly, I’d rather you just read it for yourself. There’s so much to think about and discuss in this book and I so highly recommend it. This was the one book I was really hoping to get to this year, and I’m so glad I gave myself the opportunity to read it right at the start of the year. Please read this!