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

by Susan Cain

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3,6792261,429 (4.04)220
Member:dpippin
Title:Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Authors:Susan Cain
Info:Crown (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Finished 2012, Psych, Self-help

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

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I did feel at times that Cain associates quietness with introversion too much, in the sense that lots of introverts are very loud and talkative people (when talking about something relevant to them, that is, she did get it right that 'small talk' is not our forte), this is something I find rather confuses people, who, even knowing I hardly ever socialize, have a hard time believing I am really an introvert because I'm not shy. Ironically enough, I'm pretty sure the reason I get asked to please lower my voice pretty frequently is that I get so lost in what I'm excited about, I forget, not because I'm loud all the time. Anyway, I rather think the amount of quotes I've pulled speak for my high opinion of this book.

http://readingz.livejournal.com/339608.html ( )
  Evalangui | Aug 22, 2014 |
Susan Cain is a disillusioned Wall Street lawyer, now author, promoting her book. Publishing is an industry dominated by liberal thinkers. Is it small wonder that a book that demonizes Wall Street and other aggressive type industries/corporations would be championed by those same liberal devotees, thereby providing the book with wildly positive reviews, making it a best seller, while appealing to those of like minds? Susan Cain interviewed many introverts and did an enormous amount of research in preparation for the book, but most of us know that statistics can pretty well be manipulated to prove anything the researcher wishes. She shows her political stripes with the mention of three particular persons in her book, quoting them or acknowledging their superiority in some way, i.e., former Vice President Al Gore, Former President Bill Clinton and present President Barack Obama. I think I can reasonably draw the conclusion that since she chose to only use representatives from the Democrats, that she falls very comfortably into the category of those in the publishing industry who rarely, or barely, tolerate views from the right. Surely, there must be someone on the right side of the government who has said or done something she appreciated as much and could have included and quoted positively, but she chose not to do so.
Cain analyzed those in relationships with introverts, parents of an introvert, those who work with introverts, those married to introverts, Asians vs Americans, essentially, those whose own personalities were in conflict with the people with whom they were interacting. She also interviewed and drew conclusions about those married to or involved with someone with the same personality proclivity, introvert to introvert, extrovert to extrovert, etc. She chose anecdotal references to prove her specific points. The audio’s reader spoke in a confident, authoritative voice, making the listener believe the explanations offered were credible, although after exploring the comments from other introverts, some of their feelings would belie her results. It felt like even as she was apologizing and attempting to present extroverts and introverts equally, she seemed to be indicting extroverts as bullies and extolling introverts as compromisers contributing to the world more meaningfully. Extroverts were risk taking and warlike while introverts were peace-loving and docile. As she wrote, introverts were interested in substance and extroverts were interested in style. I am not sure that is a positive statement for both sides of the spectrum. It feels like a left-handed compliment. In my opinion, according to her theories, the introverts are the thinkers and everyone else is simply a noisemaker.
The book was not what I expected. I thought it would be more about the achievements of both introverts and extroverts rather than an explanation of how one betters the other, most of the time. I thought it would be about the appreciation of silence, at times, of living in a world without the silent scream of the social media scene, in which everyone is capable of excessively sharing! Basically, Cain, who is a person who prefers individuality and privacy, explored the workings of our world today which is governed by group think, open workspace and online sharing of all aspects of our lives. She cited many influential people, from all walks of life, past and present, as examples of introvert and extrovert behavior. Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, Tony Robbins, Dale Carnegie, Alfred Adler, Malcolm Gladwell, Pastor Rick Warren, Steve Wozniak, Warren Buffett, Ted Turner are only some of those mentioned.
Does she have the proper credentials to write a book offering and supporting theories that can’t really be proven? I had the feeling that she chose a premise before putting pen to paper, and then, she set about to prove it. Admittedly, she declares herself an introvert, so she might have put a thumb on the scale on her own behalf, since I thought that introverts came off far more positively, in the book, than extroverts, who were accused of being only the stimulus for innovations, while the introverts were the ones who thought more deliberately and made wiser, more thoughtful, and more often, correct decisions to carry out those innovations.
From the comments I read from other readers, who declared themselves introverts, I was not alone in my wariness about the book. Most people are all over the spectrum, with few being a pure introvert, extrovert or ambivert. The author declares that she is using the everyday spelling of extrovert, rather than the scientific, extravert, but then proceeds to present the book in a very cerebral way. Some of the studies she cites seem to be conclusive, but I feel certain there are others that declare the exact opposite and are also conclusive, but are not included. She infers that the old brain spurs us on, often to act foolishly, and it resides in the Limbic system and governs the extrovert. The new brain is in the Cortex and it is responsible for our sensible decisions; it governs the introvert. She talks about the amygdala and the frontal lobe and the cerebellum. These terms are not on the tips of most people’s tongues. She declares that there may be a genetic connection between dopamine and serotonin with dopamine leading to risk taking and serotonin to risk avoidance. Some of her theories seemed to simply be her own conjectures, some felt like they were made up out of whole cloth.
The book offers pat explanations about the difference between extroverts, introverts and everything in between. I felt that her conclusions were basically “one size might fit all”. Because the audio’s reader was excellent, the book was tolerable. Otherwise, I would have closed it and left it unread which is something I rarely do. However, the reader used just the right amount of expression and tone to make it a manageable experience and keep me involved until the end. ( )
  thewanderingjew | Aug 19, 2014 |
Well researched and written, Quiet is a book about the one-third to half of the population who’s introverted. Introversion and extroversion are two ends of a personality spectrum. Introverts tend to be quiet and introspective, and they need time to “recharge” after social situations. Extroverts, on the other hand, are gregarious and outgoing, and social interaction energizes them.

Quiet does a good job of debunking the myth that introversion means “anti-social.” Drawing upon research studies, personal experiences, and interviews, Cain shows how introverts benefit from social connections as much as extroverts, but prefer to interact with smaller groups of people and talk about weightier matters. It’s the quality, not the quantity, of the relationships that count.

Quiet is divided into four sections. The first is about extroversion being the current ideal in America and how many of our systems are set up to benefit and promote extroversion. For instance, the rise of the open floor plan office and the prominence of group work in schools.

The second section deals with the science behind the personality spectrum, how introverts and extroverts process dopamine differently, why both characteristics likely evolved, ect. I was particularly interested in how introverts are more sensitive to stimuli – what feels just right for an extrovert is an information overload for an introvert.

Section three is the shortest and looks at how introversion and extroversion vary between cultures, namely America and East Asia.

The last section is advice for living as an introvert and those living with introverts. The last chapter contains specific advice for parents and teachers of introverted children.

Throughout Quiet, Cain stresses that one type is not more beneficial than the other and that both have qualities that make them valuable. What is really needed is a greater cultural balance between the two, and for both types to be able to communicate with and understand the other.

I didn’t find any of the information mind blowing – I’d figured out that I was an introvert years ago, and I’ve already learned how to become what Cain calls a “pseudo-extrovert” when I need to be. However, Quiet was consistently informative and interesting, and I was glad that I’d read it. I would recommend it to any introvert interested in learning more about their personality or to someone who’s a parent or spouse of an introvert and wants to understand their loved one better. ( )
  pwaites | Aug 18, 2014 |
I just finished the audiobook and it is brilliant. I've read a lot about introversion and the information uncovered in her research revealed topics I had not considered. The sections about high social monitoring was insightful personally as it helped me understand behaviors in my life. The free trait theory also explained why I manifest certain traits related to tasks I love that do not manifest at all in similar tasks with different goals. It does provide some insight about the extrovert species that should help introverts and extroverts understand one another. I could have done without the little climate change mini-sermon (ignore Gore and we'll "drown") but similar tangents were few and short and didn't distract from the core topic. Her articulation of the impact of Tony Robbins, Dale Carnegie, and the culture of personality shaping of the American extrovert culture was enlightening. The brief mention of the extrovert focused culture on religion with megachurches and trends towards overstimulated worship was interesting and she did a hand off to Adam McHugh and his work on introversion in religion. I highly recommend it especially if you have just recently discovered your introverted characteristics. ( )
  RhodesDavis | Aug 11, 2014 |
Susan Cain is officially one of my heroes. A self-described "shy introvert" who has managed to excel in both a profession (law) and a country (the US) that covet the "Extrovert Ideal," Cain has written a book that is part Introvert Empowerment, part self-help guide, and part psychological history. What's not to love about that?
For the introverts, this book will have you saying "ah-HA!" every few pages. For extroverts, it will serve as a valuable guide to understanding "those weird, quiet people" in your life. And for everyone in between, it will encourage further awareness of the beauty that is cerebral diversity. ( )
  TRWhittier | Aug 4, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susan Cainprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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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Epigraph
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
Dedication
To my childhood family
First words
Introduction
The North and South of Temperament
Montgomery, Alabama. December 1, 1955. Early evening. A public bus pulls to a stop and a sensibly dressed woman in her forties gets on. She carries herself erectly, despite having spent the day bent over an ironing board in a dingy basement tailor shop at the Montgomery Fair department store. Her feet are swollen, her shoulders ache. She sits in the first row of the Colored section and watches quietly as the bus fills with riders. Until the driver orders her to give her seat to a white person.
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To ask whether it's nature or nurture ... is like asking whether a blizzard is caused by temperature or humidity.
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Book description
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.
Haiku summary
Introverts are strong
their brains are just wired different
this can be a strength
(sullijo)

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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--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.… (more)

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Two editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0670916765, 0141029196

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