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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

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4,3902501,142 (4.04)247
Gorgeous book. I didn't realize I was an introvert. But it's very clear, after reading this, that I am.
My only complaint is that Cain is a little biased (in a sense) towards introverts...which I enjoyed emotionally but intellectually found a little less satisfying. It creates a tilt in the book that left me with a number of questions about extroverts. I found myself, though, really wondering if this lens (introvert/extrovert) could be a useful filter for analyzing the leadership strengths and weaknesses. ( )
  JerryColonna | Apr 5, 2012 |
Showing 1-25 of 257 (next | show all)
Interesting, but I feel like the other repeated herself quite a bit.

As an introvert through and through, I feel this book offers me a great deal of justification for everything I was told was "wrong" about me when I was younger (only my mother really appreciated how introspective I was as a child). As for the present, I kinda just want to smack people on the head with this (my boyfriend mostly) and yell "READ THIS!!! UNDERSTAND ME!!!" ( )
  benuathanasia | Jun 19, 2015 |
Enjoyable read, includes a lot of research and insight. ( )
  chellerystick | Jun 16, 2015 |
If you're an introvert, you'll love this book. If you're an extrovert who wants to understand an introverted person in your life, read this. I grew up very self-conscious about the fact that I was introverted. I felt like there was something inherently wrong with me because I didn't love socializing in large groups. A lot of classroom group dynamics translate to the workplace, which this book discusses. Thankfully, I've come to appreciate the way I am--for many of the reasons this book mentions--and found my niche in the world. I love how Susan Cain goes into detail about the traits many of us introverts have--high sensitivity, etc. This book is extremely validating and informative. ( )
1 vote KimHooperWrites | Jun 13, 2015 |
I enjoyed reading the theories of high-reactive children becoming introverts (risk averse), and low reactive children becoming extroverts (risk seeking). The information lines up with my childhood experiences of being extremely averse to applause and crowd noise. This book is reminding me of my current read, "The Tell:..." which also has a couple of chapters outlining the same theory. ( )
  baconwithmyadidas | May 12, 2015 |
I just have to learn that I really don't like the journalistic style. I've been wanting to read this book for a long time but found it very disappointing. Lots of research, lots of case histories with irrelevant details about dress and looks, quite slim on any new insights.

Although I'm an introvert and agree that we live in a culture where that is not valued, the book felt slanted to me. When personality is viewed through just one lens, its richness suffers. ( )
  bobbieharv | Apr 14, 2015 |
America is a country of extroverts. This culture that celebrates the loud, sociable, and chatty has all but labelled the quiet preferences of the introvert as a mental illness. Certainly it's a personality deficit of some kind at least? But the author of this book relates something startling: statistics indicate that between 30-50% of people are actually introverts. This isn't a flaw or a disease, rather, it is a measurable - and unchangeable - element of character.

And really, it's not all bad! This book carefully looks at the unique benefits and strengths of introverts. It is aimed at helping introverts take ownership of their preferences and stop the guilt! There are tips for getting through obligatory extroverted activities (eg group work and public speaking) while structuring one's life to build in moments of rest and recuperation. A thoughtful and brilliant examination of this underestimated personality type. ( )
  Juva | Apr 11, 2015 |
This is a well written and researched book that explains in lay terms why some of us are introvert and others extrovert, and what that means to each in daily life.
There are several case studies and plenty of cross referenced research from others, including [a:Elaine Aron|12115919|Elaine Aron|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-632230dc9882b4352d753eedf9396530.png], who's book The Power of Sensitivity is a must read if you enjoy 'Quiet'.
( )
  ajsendall | Apr 5, 2015 |
This is a well written and researched book that explains in lay terms why some of us are introvert and others extrovert, and what that means to each in daily life.
There are several case studies and plenty of cross referenced research from others, including [a:Elaine Aron|12115919|Elaine Aron|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-632230dc9882b4352d753eedf9396530.png], who's book The Power of Sensitivity is a must read if you enjoy 'Quiet'.
( )
  ajsendall | Apr 5, 2015 |
Read as part of a non-fiction book club at the library. Great details about why introverts are the way they are and scientific studies about them. ( )
  benismydog | Mar 28, 2015 |
Eh. As usual with this sort of thing, Cain is a lot better as dismantling popularly-held views than she is at creating new ones.

She's right on about the over-valuation of extroversion (for example in schools and job situations) but really wishy-washy once she starts trying to create a taxonomy of introversion and putting people into boxes. I also don't buy the essentialism on display here; I don't agree that people trying to define themselves by these labels is at all helpful. I suppose I believe in introversion, but not introverts. ( )
1 vote sometimeunderwater | Mar 20, 2015 |
Notes from
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

The US army has a name for similar phenomenon. “The bus to Abilene “. It’s about a family sitting on a porch in Texas on a hot summer day, and somebody says “I am bored “. Why don’t we go to Abilene. When they got to Abilene, somebody says “you know, I didn’t really wanted to go to the next person says , I didn’t wanted to come either and so on. Whenever you are in an army group and somebody says we are all getting on the bus to Abilene here.
The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How.
What is the secret of talent? How do we unlock it? In this...

indeed, excessive stimulation seems to impede learning. A recent study found out that people learn better after a quite stroll through the woods than after a noisy walk down the city street.

The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting With Nature

Marc G. Berman1,2,
John Jonides1 and
Stephen Kaplan1,3

+ Author Affiliations

1Department of Psychology

2Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering

3Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Michigan

Marc G. Berman, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, 530 Church St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109–1043, e-mail: bermanm@umich.edu.


We compare the restorative effects on cognitive functioning of interactions with natural versus urban environments. Attention restoration theory (ART) provides an analysis of the kinds of environments that lead to improvements in directed-attention abilities. Nature, which is filled with intriguing stimuli, modestly grabs attention in a bottom-up fashion, allowing top-down directed-attention abilities a chance to replenish. Unlike natural environments, urban environments are filled with stimulation that captures attention dramatically and additionally requires directed attention (e.g., to avoid being hit by a car), making them less restorative. We present two experiments that show that walking in nature or viewing pictures of nature can improve directed-attention abilities as measured with a backwards digit-span task and the Attention Network Task, thus validating attention restoration theory.

Another study found out that the simple act of being interrupted is one of the biggest barriers to productivity. Even multi-tasking turns out to be a myth. Scientists now know that the brain is incapable of paying attention to two things at the same time. What looks like multi-tasking is really switching back and forth between multiple tasks, which reduces productivity and increases mistake by up to 50 percent.
The Myth of Multitasking: How "Doing It All" Gets Nothing Done
In a compelling business fable, The Myth of Multitasking...

Montogomery, Alabama. December 1, 1995. Early evening. A public bus pulls to stop and a sensibly dressed woman in her forties gets on. Her name was Rosa Parks and when she refused to give up her seat for a white passenger, it ignited a spark that ultimately led to the civil rights movement.
Rosa Parks: A Life
Fifty years after she made history by refusing to give up her seat on a bus, Rosa Parks at last gets the major..

High reactive kids (Introverts) may be more likely to develop into artists and writers and scientists and thinkers because their aversion to novelty causes them to spend time inside the familiar – and intellectually fertile – environment of their own heads.
The orchid hypothesis by David Dobbs stated that many children are like dandelions, able to thrive in just about any environment. But others, including the high reactive types that kagan studied, are more like orchids: they wilt easily, but under the right conditions can grow strong and magnificent.

In monkeys as well as humans, a gene known as the serotonin transporter gene ( SERT ) gene , or 5-HTTLPR, helps to regulate the processing of serotonin , a neurotransmitter that affects mood. A particular variation or allele , of this gene, sometimes referred to as the short arm , is thought to be associated with high reactivity and introversion, as well as a heightened risk of depression in human who have had difficult lives.
When baby monkeys with a similar allele were subjected to stress – in one experiment they were taken from their mothers and raised as orphans – they processed serotonin less efficiently (a risk factor for depression and anxiety) than monkeys with the long allele which endured similar privations.
But young monkeys with the same risky genetic profile who were raised by nurturing mothers did as well as or better than their long allele brethren – even those raised in similarly secure environments – at key social task , like finding play mates , building alliances , and handling conflicts. They often became leaders of their troops. they also processed serotonin more efficiently.

Studies on humans have found that adolescent girls with the short allele of the SERT gene are 20 percent more likely to be depressed than long-allele girls when exposed to stressful family environments, but 25 percent less likely to be depressed when raised in stable homes. Similarly short allele adults have shown to be more anxious in evenings than others on as stressful days, but less anxiety on calm days.

High reactive children raised in supportive environment are even more resistant to common cold and other respiratory tract illness, but get sick more easily if there raised in stressful conditions. The short allele gene is also associated with higher performance on a wide range of cognitive task.

Schwartz’s research suggests something important: we can stretch our personalities, but only up to a point. Our inborn temperaments influence us, regardless of the lives we lead. A sizable part of who we re is so ordained by our genes, by our brains, by our nervous system s. and yet the elasticity that Schwartz found in some high reactive teens also suggest the converse: we have free will and can use it to shape our personalities. They are not contradictory.
Free will can take us far, but cannot carry us beyond our genetic limits. Bill gates can never be Bill Clinton, no matter how he polishes his social skills, and Bill Clinton can never be Bill gates, no matter how much time he spends with the computer.

Introverts are more likely to blush. Extroverts perform at a louder back ground noise than the introverts.
Roosevelt declares there is nothing to fear but fear itself.
The highly sensitive tend to be philosophical or spiritual in their orientation, rather than materialistic or hedonistic. They dislike small talk. They often describe themselves as creative or intuitive. They dream vividly and can often recall their dreams the next day. They feel exceptionally strong emotions. They process information from the environment unusually deeply. They tend to notice subtleties other miss – another person’s shift in mood, say or a light bulb burning a touch too brightly.

For introverts, shy and fearful of stammering there is a simple remedy. Before making any speech or stressful situation, in your mind keep on saying A E U O I A E.. Repeatedly. Then you will notice you can speak and articulate more freely.
Introverts should ask themselves, will this job allow me to spend time on in- character activities like, for example, reading, strategizing, writing and researching? Will I have a private workplace or be subject to constant demands of an open office plan? If the job does not give me enough restorative niches will I have enough free time on the weekends to grant them to myself.
Extroverts needs restorative niches too. Does the job involve talking, travelling, and meeting new people ?

Studies show that one third to one half of all of us is introverts. We all write our life stories as if we were novelists with beginnings, conflicts, turning points and endings. And the way we characterize our past setbacks profoundly influences how satisfied we are with our current lives. Unhappy people tend to see them as contaminants which ruined an otherwise good thing, while generative adults see them as a blessing in disguise. Those who live fully realized lives – giving back to their families , societies, and ultimately themselves – tend to find meaning in their obstacles

Introverts cn act as extrovert’s upto a certin point and need to come back to the restorative niche to recharge. One other thing that we can act or fake out of character as long as we feel that we are doing this for a worthy cause
The New White Flight
In Silicon Valley, two high schools with outstanding academic reputations are losing white students as Asian...
  pj100pl | Mar 1, 2015 |
This is an ambitious work, and a mostly successful one, thanks to its readability and Cain's careful research. Her work has several goals: to try to explain the manifestations and possible causes of introverted behavior, based on insights from psychology and biology; to promote qualities like seriousness, introspection and sensitivity that may not conform to the "Extravert Ideal" but are nonetheless necessary in business, science, art and many other fields; and to provide tips for introverts (and parents of introverts) on how to stretch and expand their abilities to deal with situations that aren't naturally comfortable. I hadn't read much on this topic before, so I found most of the material useful and interesting. The one section I didn't find appealing was her chapter on Asian culture, which to me skirts dangerously close to stereotype. The chapter's title is "Soft Power," but it seems misleading, as the introverted practices for the Asian-American kids profiled mostly stem from their choosing to study, study, study instead of socialize, and from personal experience I know this is not the best way to prepare for a successful life after college. Aside from that chapter, I enjoyed the book very much and it is much fodder for thought. ( )
1 vote bostonian71 | Feb 6, 2015 |
I wish I had had this book ten year ago. ( )
  DaftKnits | Jan 24, 2015 |
I think the title is what sells this book to the reader more than the actual content. I thought it started strong and promised more than it actually delivered. It seemed equal parts self-help and graduate research article. Though I'd hoped to be more impressed by its insights, I do think this is an important book if only because it argues successfully that there is nothing inherently wrong with being either an extrovert or an introvert. Its lesson seemed to be that we need to be sensitive to the needs of both of these types whether they are our children, students, friends, co-workers, etc. I also appreciated her comments on committee work, open floor plans and brainstorming - possibly the most hated things in any office environment, especially by introverts. Hopefully this book will influence more people to listen to the "quiet" people. ( )
  sixslug | Jan 18, 2015 |
At least one third of the people we know are introverts, and that includes myself. In this book, the author explores the differences between introverts and extroverts. Both are equally beneficial traits in society, but introverts are often undervalued.

This book is well-researched, and written in a very readable and engaging style.This book would be very helpful to anyone who is an introvert, and to those who are extroverts but wish to gain more understanding of the the introverts in their lives, such as spouses, children, friends, or coworkers.

The author also mentions many famous people who were/are introverts, and how that personality trait helped them to go to do great things, people such as Warren Buffet, Marie Curie, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

I really enjoyed this book and found the subject to be fascinating; I saw so much of "me" in it. I've always been shy and introverted, but it was not until just a few years ago that I started accepting that it is was ok that I am that way, that there is nothing wrong with it, but I am very glad the author wrote this book, and it feels great to have my feelings about myself validated.

I'm not good at small talk, and I prefer non-verbal forms of communication much of the time (such as email), and I would much rather stay home and read a book on a weekend night than go to a party; all things that are perfectly NORMAL if you are an introvert, and I don't feel that I have to change to please anyone else. ( )
  mom2acat | Dec 31, 2014 |
This book has changed my life for ever and that too for good. I was always an introvert and thought that there was something really wrong with me for a long time. Why did I not want to party after a busy work schedule? Wasn't it anti-social? Why I valued deeper relationships than one night stands? After reading this book, I have become aware and conscious of the powers I have. Those powers that I was not even aware of: "The power of an introvert in a world that cannot stop talking".

Introverts have God given gifts such as: attentive listening, less risk taking, perseverance, conscientiousness, faithfulness, empathy, and creativity (there are many more).

If you are an introvert, read this book. You will learn a lot about yourself (things that you may not have even imagined) and this will change your life completely. I guarantee!

If you are an extrovert, you too will learn a lot about yourself and about your introvert friends.

Thank You, Susan, for writing such a wonderful book. Add me to your list of quiet revolutionaries. ( )
2 vote prasenjeet | Dec 8, 2014 |
I really, really tried to read the book from start to an end, reading all lengthy non-important descriptions of people, events etc. I failed, honestly. I read about a half and after that things really get boring. New information for me - 10%, author's stream of consciousness - 80%, something to glue it together - 10%. Not recommended.
Yours, BookGeek.ruhref> ( )
  otikhonova | Dec 8, 2014 |
This is very good book for all of us to read and rethink the labels that we put on other people, on ourselves and our family members and the way we as a society often value verbal ability over reflective thinking. It is a book that will help true introverts who may have been uncomfortable with their quietness, feel better about some of the issues or questions that may have plagued them during their lives.

As our book club discussed the relevance to schools, social organizations and successes of individuals such as Rosa Parks and Gandhi we were all taken with how many quiet single individuals over time have change so many important things. I am going to listen to this book on audio next as some of the discussion participants felt it enhanced their ability to enjoy the flow of the book. I rate the book a 4. ( )
  WeeziesBooks | Dec 6, 2014 |
This book is a very well-researched collection of works on the two personality types - Introversion and Extroversion, though it covers a lot of ground on the introverted side of the population. The book does not say 'extroverts are all bad', but it does point out the many 'goods' of being introverted.

Ms Cain also helps bust some of the myths of being extroverted like talkers are smarter than quiet ones and quick talkers are more capable and appealing. She shows scientific articles and expert opinion throughout the book regarding these.

The point of introverts not being anti-social, but just being differently social was definitely thought-provoking. The discussion about temperament being the foundation and personality being the building was intriguing as well. The book points many positive qualities of introverts and how they use those to make their mark in the world. "Solitude can be a catalyst to innovation."

The author confirms that no one is fully 'intro-' or 'extro-'. I'm myself inclined towards being an extrovert, but I love my early morning times when I'm alone and I read. My morning walk is my 'lone-time' as well.

The 10th chapter talks about how to speak and listen when your spouse / significant other is of the opposite trait. There are some good guidance especially when your partner is an introvert. Giving them more quality (and alone) time is the key to maintaining a successful relationship with an introverted personality.

All-in-all, I really enjoyed reading this book and knowing more about the 'quiet ones' and apparently there's a lot happening in the mind of an introvert, though the lips are mostly sealed. ( )
1 vote nmarun | Dec 5, 2014 |
An uplifting book for people who sees themselves as not fitting living on the fringes, introverts. Turns out they end up being successful adults. This book expands on why that is. ( )
  charlie68 | Dec 2, 2014 |
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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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0670916765, 0141029196

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