In our go get 'em, grab the bull by the horns society few people take the time to notice the one third of us who are introverts and wonder what talents this quiet constituency possesses. Proud introvert Susan Cain is clearly an exception. When asked by an interviewer on our website why she wrote this book, she answered, "For the same reason that Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique in 1963. Introverts are to extroverts what women were to men at that timesecond-class citizens with gigantic amounts of untapped talent...Our bias against introversion leads to a colossal waste of talent, energy, and, ultimately, happiness." With its superb research and telling case studies, Quiet serves as a refreshing corrective to decades of ignorance and woeful neglect. Now in trade paperback and NOOK Book.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talkingby Susan Cain
The book that started the Quiet Revolution
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many/b>
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The book that started the Quiet Revolution
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.
In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also 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. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.
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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.
What People are saying about this
WASHINGTON POST BESTSELLER
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Kirkus REVIEWS’ Best Books of 2012
"An important book that should embolden anyone who's ever been told, 'Speak up!'"
"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."
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."
"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."
"An intelligent and often surprising look at what makes us who we are."
"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."
"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 introversionand 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 sensitivitythis 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 thinkersthe 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
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As an introvert myself, this book drew me in just from the title, and I can truly say this is a fascinating study of what being an introvert means. With a mixture of anecdotes and scientific research, Cain explores how introverts function, what makes us act the way we do, and why in this day and age it is such a difficult thing to be respected as someone who is different. Most of us have faced all of the things she mentions, from teachers who think that there is something wrong with children who prefer to read than play, to the minutia like making small talk that can drain some of us of all energy. She does a fantastic job of explaining why we function in this manner, and she manages to show us that we are not wrong in the way we act; we are just different. The narrative is always interesting, keeping the reader engaged all the way through the book. Although this is a serious research book, it never bores, on the contrary, it is hard to put down. There is a wonderful section on how to take care and nurture an introverted child, which can be a challenge since most of society is geared towards extroverts. Introverts need different things, and modern life refuses to provide those things, with its constant rewards for those who speak the loudest, whether they have the right answer or not. If you are an introvert, or if you know an introvert, this is a great read. I highly, highly recommend it.
I purchased the Nookbook version this morning. I finished the Introduction and I am ordering another copy (the Book book). I am going to give the extra copy to my best friend. It reads beautifully! I am planning on reading it out loud to my non-bookreading husband who has always struggled with shyness (which is related to introversion). As I read I realized I was an introvert surrounded by introverts trying to pretend I wasn't one. And worse, I realized I have always tried to force my children to be extroverts in such an extrovert centered culture. Now if I have only read the introduction and have figured all this out, imagine what you will know after reading the entire book! I also want to help raise the rating of a good book that was pulled down by a single disgruntled person and one star.
The author of “Quiet” is an admitted introvert. She did a wonderful job countering misconceptions about introversion. As an introvert myself I have always felt inferior at school and work compared to my very talkative and outgoing peers. Introverts are not people with a personality flaw. They are people who recharge their batteries by being alone while extroverts recharge theirs by socializing. Introverts are thinkers, sensitive, serious, thoughtful, and reserved people. While they appear quiet and repelling, their minds are actually racing with creative ideas and planning their next exciting project rather than wasting time with idle small talk. Some of the most famous and renown people in history were introverts.
This book amazed me. After so many years of hearing "come out of your shell, be more assertive, socialize more, ect.", it was stunning to be told I am, in fact, ok how I am. Even normal. I don't normally write reviews but I feel like this book deserved the highest praise.
For the person who gave it 1 star even though they took no time to read or research it, you should probably find better ways to spend your time. This is a website where people purchase and discuss works of literature that people worked very hard on. As this book was released yesterday, it comes as no surprise that you have no yet recieved it if you ordered it. This is a wonderful book on a subject that is very near and dear to my heart. I hoghly recommnended for ant shy adult who has felt overwhelmed by our ever increasing fast paced society.
This book is extremely insightful. I found it to answer many of the questions I have trekked to answer myself for 55+ years. I have been validated! My introverted personality trait is for real; I am not anti-social. Quite the opposite. I love people; just in smaller doses when possible. My extrovert persona is something I have used my free will to develop for the people and career I love. I still, however, am bored with small talk but no longer feel I am a defect.
Do you feel uncomfortable in large groups, preferring intimate one-on-one discussions? Would you rather be home with a good book on Friday night while others are out at clubs? If so, there’s a good chance you’re an introvert. The bad news: this world has become increasingly extroverted, especially in the west. The good news: there are more introverts out there than you may think. You are not alone, although you may feel like it sometimes. In “Quiet,” Susan Cain presents what it’s like for introverts to live in a world dominated by an extrovert culture. She focuses on research that has been done to test levels of introversion/extroversion, the differences in how these groups think and interact, and the best ways to overcome these traits that seem to hold us back (when the need arises). Overall, she encourages the world to embrace its introverted citizens, often asking how the world (schools/work places/economy) would be different if both extroversion and introversion were embraced equally. I’ve known for years that I am an introvert. I’ve come to embrace it as an adult. I don’t like public speaking, I don’t like the spotlight, I tend to blend into the crowd (very happily), and I enjoy solitude and doing things on my own such as reading and studying things that interest me. I’ve learned to love my “Geek”-side. So, this book confirmed some things for me that I already knew, but there were things about myself that I actually learned from this book. Why did I feel so uncomfortable in that situation? Why couldn’t I express my thoughts better during that conversation? This book opened my eyes to a lot of the “whys” behind my behaviors that I’ve just learned to accept and embrace. It’s also very comforting to know that there are so many others out there who feel the same way, even if they’ve become good at hiding it. “Quiet” is very well researched. Cain definitely did her homework for this one. I’m considering giving this to my friends, co-workers, and family who don’t always “get” me. Maybe it will help them understand. I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes from WaterBrook Multnomah.
Insightful analysis of how American culture went from admiring Character (attributes such as thoughtfulness and honesty) to admiring Personality ( traits of salesmanship and extroversion). I disagree with very little of what I've read, and my points of disagreement are mainly that the author occasionally pushes too hard to make a point or ties a corollation too tightly together when other factors may be present. Highly recommended for quiet people who prefer a more contemplative life than the noisy, shallow party that is American popular culture.
This is for the stupid person who wrote a review with a low rating because they had not read the book!!! So you brought the rating down with no valid information at all. If you have no actual input, don't write a review.
After reading this book, I feel I must say, Yes, I admit I am an extrovert and I like it. I have moments where I need to take a break from it all and hibernate, but in my heart, I love to be out and around people. I am surrounded by introverts on a daily basis and maybe I don't quite understand what makes them tick and what they need on a daily basis. This book not only shows what introverts need in relationships, but also at the workplace. The final chapter is a complete source for parents and teachers on how to interact with introverted children. I think the author does a great job of making valid points and using interesting research to back up and explain each point. Although this is non-fiction and has a little bit of an academic approach, it reads much easier than a textbook and is a worthy read. I would recommend this book to both introverts and extroverts. I think the extroverts need to learn how to adapt around introverts, while the introverts need to find the confidence in their own personality traits.
My therapist suggested this read, I thank her and the author. First time I sat in my therapist office I picked up another book by this author--The highly sensative child--and thought I need to read this! I'm 60 yrs old. I never mentioned this to my therapist but at our second session she asked if I thought I was an introvert, most people would say I'm extravert, yes I meant to use that spelling, I said I think I am an introvert at heart. I felt it was one of my reasons for seeking therapy, needing alone time, not liking large groups of people, having solitary interests and hobbies. She suggested QUIET. Thank you, thank you. Explaining, no validating, that who I was and was meant to be was just wearing a different pair of glasses. My fellow intoverts will know what I mean! I highly reccommend this book for everyone esp. if you are a parent. Think I' still read Highly Sensative Child. Maybe I can save someone the hundreds of dollars I spent on self help books always trying to fix the real me, now I really embrace her/me.
I loved this book. I loved it on a personal level because no one ever stops to talk about these things in a public way. I love that Cain has brought attention to introversion and managed to make the case that it isn't actually a bad thing. It's educational; especially for parents who don't understand their children. It's probably a must read for all parents who have a least one "shy" or "bookish" child. It's also a must read for anyone who ever thought they didn't fit in because they would rather read a good book then go on a pub crawl.
This book is FABULOUS! Thank you Susan Cain. Like other reviewers, I have spent most of my life feeling as though my parents, my teachers, my siblings, relatives, co-workers, etc. thought I needed "fixed". I am regarded as the trustworthy, smart, and creative one. I'm the one that is in charge of everyone's spare house key, but somehow deficient because I prefer to be alone or in small gatherings. I was constantly referrred to as shy and needing to come out of my shell as I grew up. It stigmatized me. My mother still tries to "fix" me. I am nearly 50 years old now. Reading this book made me feel like I was OK. I spent many years believing that I needed to constantly put myself in situations I dreaded because I felt pressure to be what others thought I should be. I am perfectly fine just as God made me. What really blows my mind is that i was stunned to see this book in the first place. I couldn't believe there was an entire book written about people just like me! It felt great to read about people I could identify with. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is an introvert. Before I read this book i would have felt that was a negatvie trait. Now, I say embrace it! Excellent book!
My husband is an introvert and I am not... I've learned through the years who he is and what his action's mean, but this book has helped me understand his personality even more! It has also made me reflect on my day to day life... the people I come in contact with... and rethink what someone's actions might mean.
I'm only a third of the way through the book, but this book is an eye-opener. It explains introvert and extrovert tendencies. The part of the book on how society has placed such an emphasis on being extroverted over the past 100 years due to the rise of cities, makes so much sense. Also the big business push on being extroverted along with pointing out all the flaws of that way of thinking is amazing. Everything I do in business makes so much more sense after reading this book. The book seems to cover everything introvert-related. In society, introverts are seen as the underdog a bit. This book is an advocate for the underdog, pointing out the seldom discussed weaknesses of the extrovert personality. This is a must read for anyone, introvert or extrovert. Although, I think the book may offend some extroverts, but I'm OK with that.
This book is amazing. A wonderful job of giving very concrete examples of how "loudly" the strengthes of those who are the quiet amongst us have impacted, improved, enlightened, and overall helped us-as much if not more at times then those who are the outgoing and extroverted among us. All those who are quiet, shy, withdrawn, introverted- ESPECIALLY if you were to made to feel inferior because of it- should read this book.
It's about time that someone realized that "the quiet ones" really do have something to say.
This book excited me since I saw the overview prior to the book's release. It is refreshing to have myself explained to me after years of misunderstanding from coworkers and family and even myself. It was also nice to not feel like it is a trait that needs to be "fixed", just understood and optimized. There were times I broke down in tears because it was so nice to have someone TRULY understand why I hide in the bathroom after a long meeting, or why after a seven month deployment when I'm constantly surrounded by people I would rather be alone than surrounded by family. Thank you Susan Cain for helping all of us.
Our culture does not appreciate quiet. We tend to equate social power with social prowess. The outspoken people seen are as the leaders in our culture. Susan Cain, however, seeks to dispel this notion that people with a quiet nature cannot be major influencers or leaders. She opens her book Quiet by discussing one of the most influential figures in the civil rights movement. Rosa Parks made an impact in the civil rights movement through her quietness. She chose to take a quiet stand instead of being outspoken. In doing so, she became a symbol of strength in the movement. This is the first of many examples of introverts that Cain offers to show the power of quiet in a world that likes to talk. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking is a great book. Susan Cain does a good job of presenting how our culture favors extroversion and looks down on introverts. It may seem at first that Cain is trying to say that introverts are better than extroverts, but reading through the whole work she does a wonderful job of challenging introverts to grow in certain areas. She also challenges extroverts to consider the benefits that introverts are able bring. As an introvert myself I most appreciated the second and fourth sections of the book. I was very interested to learn about myself and why I am the way I am. The second section does a good job of explaining many the biological factors of introversion and extroversion. The fourth section is very helpful because of the helpful advice for living with extroverts and raising and teaching introverted children. I would recommend this book to just about anyone. If you are an introverted, you will find this book very helpful and encouraging. If you are an extrovert, you can learn why your introverted friends are the way they are and how to best interact with them. I would highly recommend this book to anyone in a business situation, this book can be really helpful in learning how to get the most out of the introverts in your office. I would also recommend it to my friends in the ministry along with Adam S. McHugh’s book Introverts in the Church. I hope that Cain’s book will help people change their understanding of introversion. Introversion is not a weakness. There may be areas where introverts are weak, but there are always areas where introverts tend to be stronger than extroverts. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
A good friend gave this book to me, and after reading it I understand how necessary it was for someone to write it because of the sort of society we live in. I was born and raised in another culture, have always been an introvert and have always known it was OK to be an introvert. In fact, I have never been comfortable with the American habit of "wanting to be liked" at almost any cost. It seems even our foreign policy is based on wanting to be liked by rescuing everyone and "fixing" everything whether it needs to be fixed or not. Most of our politicians are extroverts, and it seems the whole country has turned into a "rah-rah" let's all DO SOMETHING, even if in the doing we are heading over the cliff---but hey, we'll do it with a great smile with great teeth and bombastic cheerleading and a lot of con-artistry. Even our work places have become like dysfunctional families with the group think and lack of privacy or time for reflection or deeper thinking, and certainly challenging anything that the group has agreed is good is a no-no.. As far back as high school I have actually preferred NOT to "fit in" and didn't care if I was "liked" as long as I was true to myself and my ideas of right and wrong. From the sidelines of quiet introversion one can often see the overall picture so much better than being in the middle of the group and feeling obligated to talk to talk even if you don't know what you're talking about. I've always been proud of my creative tendencies that need a lot of "alone" time. Even a seemingly extroverted person like Picasso said that, "Without great solitude no serious work is possible." Thank goodness my family respected my need to be alone, to recharge, think, create, and "let me be myself". So the book was interesting, but not necessary to myself personally. The friend who gave it to me probably did so because she "thought" I was less comfortable with who I am than I am, because she's a lovable extrovert and has a bit of trouble understanding a self-confident introvert who doesn't need to advertise or be validated by anyone but my own inner core. But I hope the book helps other introverts to validate themselves. Our country as a whole loses when the creative energies of introverts is hemmed in by group think.
Okay - this is embarrassing - I have only read the sample and it almost had me in tears. I live in a household where extroversion is the only way to be and I've been teased mercilessly over the years for my "sensitivity" and introversion as if it were a personality disorder. I identified immediately with just the little part I read. I have a talent that seems to require extroversion and a nature that's introverted to the core and I've never been able to reconcile myself with my gifts. I'm hoping this book will help. I am proud to be one of those people described in her book and look forward to reading more - and I hope my family will be open to reading it too!
I want to make this book required reading for becoming my boss, friend, or airplane row sharer. It definitely should have been required for all of those camp counselors who made it their 'project' to try to 'fix' the shy, quiet girl who wanted to read sometimes instead of playing team-building games. This book was tough to read sometimes because it brought back some painful memories, but it ultimately made me realize that part of me still thinks I'm that 7-year-old who needs fixing, and it's time to just become really great at being myself.
Read this book if you are an extrovert.
Hope the book will especially inspire our schools into thinking how to nurture different types of students and personalities.
The understanding I gained from this book has literally changed my view of myself and the people around me. Teachers, bosses, parents would benefit from reading this. Well written.