Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

4.4 410
by Susan Cain
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who invent and create but prefer not to pitch their own ideas; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts we owe many of the great contributions to… See more details below

Overview

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who invent and create but prefer not to pitch their own ideas; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts 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 the indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Susan Cain charts the rise of “the extrovert ideal” over the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects—how it helps to determine everything from how parishioners worship to who excels at Harvard Business School. And she draws on cutting-edge research on the biology and psychology of temperament to reveal how introverts can modulate their personalities according to circumstance, how to empower an introverted child, and how companies can harness the natural talents of introverts. This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
While American culture and business tend to be dominated by extroverts, business consultant Cain explores and champions the one-third to one-half of the population who are introverts. She defines the term broadly, including “solitude-seeking” and “contemplative,” but also “sensitive,” “humble,” and “risk-averse.” Such individuals, she claims (though with insufficient evidence), are “disproportionately represented among the ranks of the spectacularly creative.” Yet the American school and workplace make it difficult for those who draw strength from solitary musing by over-emphasizing teamwork and what she calls “the new Groupthink.” Cain gives excellent portraits of a number of introverts and shatters misconceptions. For example, she notes, introverts can negotiate as well as, or better than, alpha males and females because they can take a firm stand “without inflaming counterpart’s ego.” Cain provides tips to parents and teachers of children who are introverted or seem socially awkward and isolated. She suggests, for instance, exposing them gradually to new experiences that are otherwise overstimulating. Cain consistently holds the reader’s interest by presenting individual profiles, looking at places dominated by extroverts (Harvard Business School) and introverts (a West Coast retreat center), and reporting on the latest studies. Her diligence, research, and passion for this important topic has richly paid off. (Jan.)
Library Journal
The introvert/extrovert dichotomy is easily stereotyped in psychological literature: extroverts are buoyant and loud, introverts are shy and nerdy. Here, former corporate lawyer and negotiations consultant Cain gives a more nuanced portrait of introversion. Introverts are by nature more pensive, quiet, and solitary, but they can also act extroverted for the pursuit of their passions. Cain describes and explicates the introvert personality by citing much research (at times so much that readers may be confused about what she is explaining) and going undercover, at one point immersing herself at a Harvard Business School student center and, in a very amusing chapter, at a Tony Robbins seminar, among other case studies. Cain's conclusion is that the introversion or extroversion personality trait is not as simple as an on/off switch but a much more complex expression of a personality. VERDICT This book is a pleasure to read and will make introverts and extroverts alike think twice about the best ways to be themselves and interact with differing personality types. Recommended to all readers.—Maryse Breton, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, Montreal
Kirkus Reviews
An enlightened Wall Street survivor exhorts wallflowers everywhere to embrace their solitude-seeking souls and fully appreciate the power of the lone wolf. Could up to one-half of a nation obsessed with Jersey Shore narcissism and American Idol fame really be inhabited by reserved, sensitive types? According to Cain, yes--and we better start valuing their insight. Extroverts have their place, but things can quickly go haywire when we start confusing assertiveness with competence--the economic meltdown on Wall Street was the most stunning recent example. Had there been a few more conscientious, contemplative introverts in the boardroom (and had they made themselves heard), Cain writes, the country's fortunes would now be decidedly different. But today's prevailing susceptibility to "reward sensitivity," as embodied by alpha-dog Wall Street types, wasn't always the norm. Cain provides fascinating insight into how the United States shifted from an introvert-leaning "cult of character" to an extrovert-leaning "cult of personality" ruled by the larger-than-life Tony Robbinses of the world. Readers will learn that the tendency for some to be reserved is actually hardwired, and as every evolutionary biologist will tell you, innate characteristics are there for a reason--to help humans survive and thrive. The author also boldly tackles introverts themselves, as well as the ambivalence many often feel about being relegated to the corner. "Stick to your guns," writes fellow introvert Cain. The author's insights are so rich that she could pen two separate books: one about parenting an introverted child, and another about how to make an introvert/extrovert relationship work. An intriguing and potentially life-altering examination of the human psyche that is sure to benefit both introverts and extroverts alike.
From the Publisher
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
NPR BESTSELLER
WASHINGTON POST BESTSELLER

LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER
USA TODAY TOP 50 BESTSELLER
INDIEBOUND BESTSELLER
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BESTSELLER
Fast Company’s  #1 Best Business book of 2012
INC Magazine’s Best 2012 Books for Entrepreneurs
People Magazine’s 10 Best Books of 2012
O, The Oprah Magazine 10 Favorite Books of 2012
Christian Science Monitor’s Best Books of 2012
GoodReads Nonfiction Choice Award Winner
Audible’s #1 Non-Fiction book of 2012
Amazon’s Best Books of 2012
Barnes & Noble Best Books of 2012
Library Journal’s Best Books of 2012
Kirkus REVIEWS’ Best Books of 2012

“An important book that should embolden anyone who's ever been told, 'Speak up!'”
—People

“Cain offers a wealth of useful advice for teachers and parents of introverts…Quiet should interest anyone who cares about how people think, work, and get along, or wonders why the guy in the next cubicle acts that way. It should be required reading for introverts (or their parents) who could use a boost to their self-esteem.”
—Fortune.com

“Rich, intelligent...enlightening.”
—Wall Street Journal

“An intriguing and potentially life-altering examination of the human psyche that is sure to benefit both introverts and extroverts alike.”
—Kirkus, Starred Review

“Cain gives excellent portraits of a number of introverts and shatters misconceptions.  Cain consistently holds the reader’s interest by presenting individual profiles, looking at places dominated by extroverts (Harvard Business School) and introverts (a West Coast retreat center), and reporting on the latest studies. Her diligence, research, and passion for this important topic has richly paid off.”
—Publishers Weekly

“This book is a pleasure to read and will make introverts and extroverts alike think twice about the best ways to be themselves and interact with differing personality types.”
—Library Journal

“An intelligent and often surprising look at what makes us who we are.”
—Booklist

“Charm and charisma may be one beau ideal, but backed by first-rate research and her usual savvy, Cain makes a convincing case for the benefits of reserve.”
—Harper's Bazaar 

“Quiet is a thought-provoking and fascinating work that reminds us of the dangers of solely listening to the loudest voices.”
—Psych Central

“In this well-written, unusually thoughtful book, Cain encourages solitude seekers to see themselves anew: not as wallflowers but as powerful forces to be reckoned with.”
—Whole Living

“Cain’s Quiet revolution calls us all to rethink the way we value human contribution.”
—Revel In It Mag

“Those who value a quiet, reflective life will feel a burden lifting from their shoulders as they read Susan Cain's eloquent and well documented paean to introversion--and will no longer feel guilty or inferior for having made the better choice!”
—MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALYI, author of Flow and Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management, Claremont Graduate University
 
“Superbly researched, deeply insightful, and a fascinating read, Quiet is an indispensable resource for anyone who wants to understand the gifts of the introverted half of the population.”
—GRETCHEN RUBIN, author of The Happiness Project

“Quiet is a book of liberation from old ideas about the value of introverts. Cain’s intelligence, respect for research, and vibrant prose put Quiet in an elite class with the best books from Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Pink, and other masters of psychological non-fiction.”
—TERESA AMABILE, Professor, Harvard Business School, and coauthor, The Progress Principle

“As an introvert often called upon to behave like an extrovert, I found the information in this book revealing and helpful. Drawing on neuroscientific research and many case reports, Susan Cain explains the advantages and potentials of introversion and of being quiet in a noisy world.”
—ANDREW WEIL, author of Healthy Aging and Spontaneous Happiness
 
“Susan Cain has done a superb job of sifting through decades of complex research on introversion, extroversion, and sensitivity--this book will be a boon for the many highly sensitive people who are also introverts.”
—ELAINE ARON, author of The Highly Sensitive Person

“Quiet legitimizes and even celebrates the ‘niche’ that represents half the people in the world.”
—GUY KAWASAKI, author of Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions
 
“Susan Cain is the definer of a new and valuable paradigm. In this moving and original argument, she makes the case that we are losing immense reserves of talent and vision because of our culture's overvaluation of extroversion. A startling, important, and readable page-turner that will make quiet people see themselves in a whole new light.”
—NAOMI WOLF, author of The Beauty Myth
 
“Superb…A compelling reflection on how the Extrovert Ideal shapes our lives and why this is deeply unsettling. Based on meticulous research, it will open up a new and different conversation on how the personal is political and how we need to empower the legions of people who are disposed to be quiet, reflective, and sensitive.”
—BRIAN R. LITTLE, PH.D., Distinguished Scholar, Department of Social and Developmental Psychology, Cambridge University  
 
“Quiet elevates the conversation about introverts in our outwardly-oriented society to new heights. I think that many introverts will discover that, even though they didn't know it, they have been waiting for this book all their lives.”
—ADAM S. MCHUGH, author of Introverts in the Church
 
“Gentle is powerful... Solitude is socially productive... These important counter-intuitive ideas are among the many reasons to take Quiet to a quiet corner and absorb its brilliant, thought-provoking message.”
—ROSABETH MOSS KANTER, Harvard Business School professor, author of Confidence and SuperCorp
 
“Memo to all you glad-handing, back-slapping, brainstorming masters of the universe out there: Stop networking and talking for a minute and read this book. In Quiet, Susan Cain does an eloquent and powerful job of extolling the virtues of the listeners and the thinkers--the reflective introverts of the world who appreciate that hard problems demand careful thought and who understand that it's a good idea to know what you want to say before you open your mouth.”
—BARRY SCHWARTZ, author of Practical Wisdom and The Paradox of Choice

“A smart, lively book about the value of silence and solitude that makes you want to shout from the rooftops. Quiet is an engaging and insightful look into the hearts and minds of those who change the world instead of tweeting about it.”
—DANIEL GILBERT, professor of psychology, Harvard University, author of Stumbling on Happiness

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307352149
Publisher:
Crown/Archetype
Publication date:
01/24/2012
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
85,416
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.74(h) x 1.19(d)

Read an Excerpt

Quiet

The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
By Susan Cain

Crown

Copyright © 2012 Susan Cain
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780307352149

Today we make room for a remarkably narrow range of personality styles. We’re told that to be great is to be bold, to be happy is to be sociable. We see ourselves as a nation of extroverts—which means that we’ve lost sight of who we really are. Depending on which study you consult, one third to one half of Americans are introverts—in other words, one out of every two or three people you know. (Given that the United States is among the most extroverted of nations, the number must be at least as high in other parts of the world.) If you’re not an introvert yourself, you are surely raising, managing, married to, or coupled with one.

If these statistics surprise you, that’s probably because so many people pretend to be extroverts. Closet introverts pass undetected on playgrounds, in high school locker rooms, and in the corridors of corporate America. Some fool even themselves, until some life event—a layoff, an empty nest, an inheritance that frees them to spend time as they like— jolts them into taking stock of their true natures. You have only to raise the subject of this book with your friends and acquaintances to find that the most unlikely people consider themselves introverts.

It makes sense that so many introverts hide even from themselves. We live with a value system that I call the Extrovert Ideal—the omnipresent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight. The archetypal extrovert prefers action to contemplation, risk- taking to heed-taking, certainty to doubt. He favors quick decisions, even at the risk of being wrong. She works well in teams and socializes in groups. We like to think that we value individuality, but all too often we admire one type of individual—the kind who’s comfortable “putting himself out there.” Sure, we allow technologically gifted loners who launch companies in garages to have any personality they please, but they are the exceptions, not the rule, and our tolerance extends mainly to those who get fabulously wealthy or hold the promise of doing so.

Introversion—along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness—is now a second- class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Introverts living under the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man’s world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we’ve turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.

The Extrovert Ideal has been documented in many studies, though this research has never been grouped under a single name. Talkative people, for example, are rated as smarter, better- looking, more interesting, and more desirable as friends. Velocity of speech counts as well as volume: we rank fast talkers as more competent and likable than slow ones. The same dynamics apply in groups, where research shows that the voluble are considered smarter than the reticent—even though there’s zero correlation between the gift of gab and good ideas. Even the word introvert is stigmatized—one informal study, by psychologist Laurie Helgoe, found that introverts described their own physical appearance in vivid language ( “green- blue eyes,” “exotic,” “high cheekbones”), but when asked to describe generic introverts they drew a bland and distasteful picture (“ungainly,” “neutral colors,” “skin problems”).

But we make a grave mistake to embrace the Extrovert Ideal so unthinkingly. Some of our greatest ideas, art, and inventions—from the theory of evolution to van Gogh’s sunflowers to the personal computer— came from quiet and cerebral people who knew how to tune in to their inner worlds and the treasures to be found there.

Copyright © 2012 by Susan Cain. From the book QUIET: The Power Of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, published by Crown, a division of Random House, Inc.  Reprinted with permission.



Continues...

Excerpted from Quiet by Susan Cain Copyright © 2012 by Susan Cain. Excerpted by permission of Crown, a division of Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More

Videos

What People are saying about this

Gretchen Rubin
"A superbly researched, deeply insightful, and fascinating book that will change forever the way society views introverts." --(Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project)
Elaine Aron
"Susan Cain has done a superb job of sifting through decades of complex research... . This book will be a boon for the many highly sensitive people who are also introverts." --(Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person )
Guy Kawasaki
"Think Malcolm Gladwell for people who don't take themselves too seriously. Mark my words, this book will be a bestseller." --(Guy Kawasaki, author of Enchantment )
Naomi Wolf
"Susan Cain is the definer of a new and valuable paradigm. In this moving and original argument, she makes the case that we are losing immense reserves of talent and vision because of our culture's overvaluation of extroversion. A startling, important and readable page-turner that will make quiet people see themselves in a whole new light." --(Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth )
From the Publisher
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NPR BESTSELLER
WASHINGTON POST BESTSELLER

LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER
USA Today TOP 50 BESTSELLER
INDIEBOUND BESTSELLER
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BESTSELLER
Fast Company’s  #1 Best Business book of 2012
INC Magazine’s Best 2012 Books for Entrepreneurs
People Magazine’s 10 Best Books of 2012
O, The Oprah Magazine 10 Favorite Books of 2012
Christian Science Monitor’s Best Books of 2012
GoodReads Nonfiction Choice Award Winner
Audible’s #1 Non-Fiction book of 2012
Amazon’s Best Books of 2012
Barnes & Noble Best Books of 2012
Library Journal’s Best Books of 2012
Kirkus REVIEWS’ Best Books of 2012

"An important book that should embolden anyone who's ever been told, 'Speak up!'"
People

"Cain offers a wealth of useful advice for teachers and parents of introverts…Quiet should interest anyone who cares about how people think, work, and get along, or wonders why the guy in the next cubicle acts that way. It should be required reading for introverts (or their parents) who could use a boost to their self-esteem."
—Fortune.com

"Rich, intelligent...enlightening."
—Wall Street Journal

"An intriguing and potentially life-altering examination of the human psyche that is sure to benefit both introverts and extroverts alike."
—Kirkus, Starred Review

"Cain gives excellent portraits of a number of introverts and shatters misconceptions.  Cain consistently holds the reader’s interest by presenting individual profiles, looking at places dominated by extroverts (Harvard Business School) and introverts (a West Coast retreat center), and reporting on the latest studies. Her diligence, research, and passion for this important topic has richly paid off."
—Publishers Weekly

"This book is a pleasure to read and will make introverts and extroverts alike think twice about the best ways to be themselves and interact with differing personality types."
—Library Journal

"An intelligent and often surprising look at what makes us who we are."
Booklist

"In this well-written, unusually thoughtful book, Cain encourages solitude seekers to see themselves anew: not as wallflowers but as powerful forces to be reckoned with."
Whole Living

"Those who value a quiet, reflective life will feel a burden lifting from their shoulders as they read Susan Cain's eloquent and well documented paean to introversion—and will no longer feel guilty or inferior for having made the better choice!"
—MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALYI, author of Flow and Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management, Claremont Graduate University
 
"Superbly researched, deeply insightful, and a fascinating read, Quiet is an indispensable resource for anyone who wants to understand the gifts of the introverted half of the population."
—GRETCHEN RUBIN, author of The Happiness Project

"Quiet is a book of liberation from old ideas about the value of introverts. Cain’s intelligence, respect for research, and vibrant prose put Quiet in an elite class with the best books from Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Pink, and other masters of psychological non-fiction."
—TERESA AMABILE, Professor, Harvard Business School, and coauthor, The Progress Principle

"As an introvert often called upon to behave like an extrovert, I found the information in this book revealing and helpful. Drawing on neuroscientific research and many case reports, Susan Cain explains the advantages and potentials of introversion and of being quiet in a noisy world."
—ANDREW WEIL, author of Healthy Aging and Spontaneous Happiness
 
"Susan Cain has done a superb job of sifting through decades of complex research on introversion, extroversion, and sensitivity—this book will be a boon for the many highly sensitive people who are also introverts."
—ELAINE ARON, author of The Highly Sensitive Person

"Quiet legitimizes and even celebrates the ‘niche’ that represents half the people in the world."
—GUY KAWASAKI, author of Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions
 
"Susan Cain is the definer of a new and valuable paradigm. In this moving and original argument, she makes the case that we are losing immense reserves of talent and vision because of our culture's overvaluation of extroversion. A startling, important, and readable page-turner that will make quiet people see themselves in a whole new light."
—NAOMI WOLF, author of The Beauty Myth
 
"Superb…A compelling reflection on how the Extrovert Ideal shapes our lives and why this is deeply unsettling. Based on meticulous research, it will open up a new and different conversation on how the personal is political and how we need to empower the legions of people who are disposed to be quiet, reflective, and sensitive."
—BRIAN R. LITTLE, PH.D., Distinguished Scholar, Department of Social and Developmental Psychology, Cambridge University  
 
"Quiet elevates the conversation about introverts in our outwardly-oriented society to new heights. I think that many introverts will discover that, even though they didn't know it, they have been waiting for this book all their lives."
—ADAM S. MCHUGH, author of Introverts in the Church
 
"Gentle is powerful... Solitude is socially productive... These important counter-intuitive ideas are among the many reasons to take Quiet to a quiet corner and absorb its brilliant, thought-provoking message."
—ROSABETH MOSS KANTER, Harvard Business School professor, author of Confidence and SuperCorp
 
"Memo to all you glad-handing, back-slapping, brainstorming masters of the universe out there: Stop networking and talking for a minute and read this book. In Quiet, Susan Cain does an eloquent and powerful job of extolling the virtues of the listeners and the thinkers—the reflective introverts of the world who appreciate that hard problems demand careful thought and who understand that it's a good idea to know what you want to say before you open your mouth."
—BARRY SCHWARTZ, author of Practical Wisdom and The Paradox of Choice

A smart, lively book about the value of silence and solitude that makes you want to shout from the rooftops. Quiet is an engaging and insightful look into the hearts and minds of those who change the world instead of tweeting about it.”
DANIEL GILBERT, professor of psychology, Harvard University, author of Stumbling on Happiness

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >