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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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3,9212341,313 (4.05)231
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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Showing 1-5 of 238 (next | show all)
Not the most entertaining read (for some reason I expected a Malcolm Gladwell style) but very informative, insightful and powerfully written. ( )
  rockinghorsedreams | Nov 13, 2014 |
I heard a number of interviews with Susan Cain and watched her TED Talk a couple of years ago. I liked what she had to say so much that I pre-ordered her book, something I rarely do,

...and then I left it on the shelf until this month.

I don't know why I waited so long to read this book, but I'm glad I finally picked it up. It's much broader in scope than I expected. Sure, it's all about introversion (and extroversion), but Cain looks at this temperament from all different angles---how it affects relationships, our experiences in school and at work, cultural expectations, career paths, and even how a cultural preference for extroversion affects our religious lives.

I loved that Cain explored all of this from a place of research, touching upon her own experience throughout but not basing her conclusions on her personal experience. I also loved that she maintained a sense of neutrality. It's not a book about how awesome introverts are and how sucky extroverts are; it's a book about the strengths and weaknesses inherent in people all over the introversion/extroversion spectrum and how to make the most of what's ours naturally.

This book has given me insight into how I parent, the troubles I have with choosing a career, the discomfort I sometimes feel at church (the book talks about extroversion-preference in evangelical Christian churches, but I've seen similar things in my Unitarian Universalist congregations), why I seek out leadership positions in areas in which I'm passionate and then get scared and burned out, why my daughter feels more comfortable playing softball than playing soccer, and even why I spent hours making up awesome mix CDs for labor and birth with my first and then didn't want to have anything to do with them while I was actually in labor. (I joke that I'm like a cat in the sense that I prefer to give birth alone in a dark cupboard. That's an exaggeration, but not by much.)

I'm already using Cain's suggestions as I figure out where to place my energy and how to spend my time outside of the full-time job of parenting and homeschooling. I can see many other places where this new perspective on introversion will help me in the future.

Now I'm working on getting my spouse to read Quiet. He's closer to the "extrovert" side of the spectrum than I am, but I think Cain's book would be helpful to him, too, both in understanding himself and in understanding me and our introverted kids. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Nov 6, 2014 |
Couldn't be a better book for introverts and the people who love them. ( )
1 vote adriennefriend | Nov 3, 2014 |
Although the book offered some insight on being an introvert and at times I could recognize myself from the description, the overall feeling after finishing it is irritation. First, I know the book is not about extroverts, but the very narrow description it gives on them, makes me doubt there are any extroverts in this world. At least I don't know anyone who's so energetic and unable to be alone for so long that they cannot sit down and read a book or do research unless they create an introverted "social self" (sorry, I read this in Finnish so I don't know the correct term in English).

As I consider myself as an introvert with an extroverted social self (or several selves) that I keep up so well that no one believes I'm an introvert, I was delighted on the section describing this. However, I would have liked a discussion on the contradictions it creates for social life: there was an example that introverted single person should wear this "mask" in order to get him/herself out there looking for a potential date. But: what if the person feels like this mask hides his/hers true self and cannot, after initial rituals, reveal it? Doesn't the distance between the introvert and the surroundings grow? In the end, the author marks that the social self can make a person physically ill, but there's no real discussion on this anywhere. What also irritates me, is that later in the book, the "social self" is called "fake self" although most (all?) of the examples given described how people had benefited from these selves and didn't consider them to be a problem.

There were also several contradictions in the book. For example, once the book referred to research indicating how not expressing negative feelings was related to negative view on world. Later, on discussion with Emily and his spouse's dinner parties, other research was brought up, telling Emily's spouse that there would be no harm in suffocating his anger. Maybe anger is not negative feeling? Or do extroverts need to endanger their mental well-being for not upsetting the sensitive introverts?

I have to admit though that by irritating me the book was probably more thought-provoking than it would have been without these "negative" feelings. It still should have digged a lot deeper and keep in mind that if the aim was for extroverts to better understand introverts, the extroverts should first recognize themselves in the book. ( )
  Lady_Lazarus | Oct 5, 2014 |
A lot of this made me nod and blush and think about how I react to people and how I behave and makes a lot of sense to me. She also gives a lot of examples about how introverts are not valued by society but should be and that they should be accepted and helped as kids to find how to use their voice but respected for their skills.

If you want to understand introverts you could do worse than this book. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Oct 1, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

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.
Quotations
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)

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0670916765, 0141029196

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