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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World…

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking (edition 2012)

by Susan Cain (Author)

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7,175381786 (4.03)348
Title:Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Authors:Susan Cain (Author)
Info:Crown (2012), Edition: 1, 352 pages
Collections:Read in 2013

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

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Who knew that that's why I always let the phone go to voicemail? And the whole idea about needing time out to recover from socialising - I always thought I was just a bit odd, haha.

The criticisms that are quite rightly levelled at this book about preaching some kind of binarism between extrovert and introvert are understandable, and am I'm sure that we are all a little too complex for a poorly designed set of questions to provide any sort of sensible analysis or categorisation (would still like to see the questions though...) Most people will be surely be somewhere close to 'ambivert' even if they know themselves to be introverted at heart. For me a major part of young socialisation and growing up was learning to act like an extrovert, if nothing else just to stop people trying to 'bring me out of my shell' or constantly asking what's up as I am 'being quiet'. Isn't it odd that both introverts and extroverts both seem to think they have the worst press! Perhaps not though: it's easy to overrate our own perspective and under-rate others.

It is true that the world seems set up to enable extroverts to achieve and feel comfortable but I guess that is because we are essentially a social species. However, as many people point out, there are different kinds of introvert and some come across as sociable creatures, either because they are highly motivated to do this or because they find it easier to adopt an extrovert persona from time to time. Everyone falls somewhere on the scale of introversion to extraversion and so can be "boxed" in this way but the dynamic complexities of personality create many different types of introverts and extroverts and we can all recognise the unique combination in ourselves.

It's just much less hard work to use obvious personality traits to make judgments about people and employers are often guilty of taking the easy path when selecting people for jobs. I’ve always wondered why employers don't make the effort to recognise how other traits interact with introversion and predispose some introverts to excel in overtly stereotypically extrovert jobs.

Contrary to what a lot of people posting here seem to think, is that introverts are not necessarily 'quiet and shy'. Introversion simply means that people have a preference to do things alone and become easily tired/impatient/drained/distracted by the company of other people, preferring to avoid a lot of external stimuli. That doesn't, however, mean that when they do socialise, they are necessarily awkward or shy about it. Plenty of people who score very highly on the scale of introversion come across as confident, even loud, in situations where they have to interact with others - it's just that they wouldn't usually choose to do it. Similarly, there are some very quiet extroverts who love being in company but don't necessarily want to the centre of attention.

I've always described myself as an outgoing-introvert. That may sound like an oxymoron but it works for me. I scored 14 in one of the test being bandied about at the time, and most of my answers were either emphatic yes's or definite no's. The thing is, and I'm sure plenty will recognise this in themselves; I'm perfectly self-assured if I have to give a guided tour, make a speech, teach a class in public because people are concentrating not on me but on what I'm doing. But I dread leaving do's as the focus is completely on me the person, not me the speaker, guide, teacher, actor or singer. For the same reason, I don't tell colleagues when my birthday's coming up and as for doing something insane like having a big party (my wife loves those)? Yikes! Perish the thought. Oh, and the outgoing side of me will happily and confidently converse with new people just so long as I've been introduced to them first or they've approached me. Ask me to march boldly up to a new group of people, or even ones who are just acquaintances rather than friends, and I'll most likely ignore them altogether.

I think there's a problem with the criteria Susan Cain uses. For example, I'm a major outgoing-introvert as I stated above, yet I have no problem with "multitasking", which I understand to mean being sufficiently organised to cope with more than one thing at a time. I don't quite know how this is an indication of introversion, because often this involves no human interaction at all (the idea seems to be that if you're an introvert, you must be the kind who plods a single furrow - but why?). Equally, some of the most introverted people I know relished being in (or in front of) groups of people because they could hide in the crowd or in a role they played to the crowd - but found it hard to function when, faced with just one or two people, they had to engage as themselves. ( )
2 vote antao | Apr 9, 2019 |
As an introvert much seemed rather obvious but interesting nonetheless. i was surprised to hear how much things have tilted to reward the extrovert in recent years; schooling and working in teams. ( )
  snash | Apr 5, 2019 |
I should have read this book a long time ago.


They said, Convert now, once and for all time, by an act of will, to the post-Victorian faith.


She said, “The route to success is to be the sort of person I am not.”
  smallself | Mar 25, 2019 |
Cain writes why the introverts can now stop defending ourselves. That inner focus and need to recharge don't equate to shyness or inability to relate. Introverts react more to outside stimuli and prefer a chance to perceive intentionally, which often enables them to be more perceptive and a different kind of negotiator, leader, or anything else. Quiet has plenty of well-researched wisdom, told through relevant stories. I can see why it's been such a phenomenon. ( )
  jpsnow | Mar 4, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susan Cainprimary authorall editionscalculated
Duffy, LauraCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fedor, AaronCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mazur, KatheNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prosperi, CarloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reitsma, Jan WillemTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wallin, BitteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A species in which everyone was General Patton would not succeed, any more than would a race in which everyone was Vincent van Gogh. I prefer to think that the planet needs athletes, philosophers, sex symbols, painters, scientists; it needs the warmhearted, the hardhearted, the coldhearted, and the weakhearted. It needs those who can devote their lives to studying how many droplets of water are secreted by the salivary glands of dogs under which circumstances, and it needs those who can capture the passing impression of cherry blossoms in a fourteen-syllable poem or devote twenty-five pages to the dissection of a small boy's feelings as he lies in bed in the dark waiting for his mother to kiss him good night. . . . Indeed the presence of outstanding strengths presupposes that energy needed in other areas has been channeled away from them.

- Allen Shawn
To my childhood family
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Montgomery, Alabama.
To ask whether it's nature or nurture ... is like asking whether a blizzard is caused by temperature or humidity.
"It's so easy to confuse schmoozing ability with talent. Someone seems like a good presenter, easy to get along with and those traits are rewarded. Well, why is that? They're valuable traits but we put too much of a premium on presenting and not enough on substance and critical thinking." (one venture capitalist)
We need leaders who build not their own egos but the institutions they run.
So if, deep down, you've been thinking that it's only natural for the bold and sociable to dominate the reserved and sensitive, and that the Extrovert Ideal is innate to humanity, Robert McCrae's personality map suggests a different truth: that each way of being—quiet and talkative, careful and audacious, inhibited and unrestrained—is characteristic of its own mighty civilization.
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Haiku summary
Introverts are strong
their brains are just wired different
this can be a strength

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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.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0670916765, 0141029196

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