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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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3,385None1,591 (4.04)198
JerryColonna's review
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 |
All member reviews
Showing 1-25 of 209 (next | show all)
In this book, Cain gives an overview of introversion: history, cultural connotations, and hints for how to best deal with introverts in the workplace, the classroom, and in interpersonal relationships. It offers plenty of food for thought without being self-helpy; indeed, it felt a little like a pat on the back in spots (and perhaps because I am an introvert, I was not entirely comfortable with that!). It's well-organized and engaging; even listening to it as an audiobook I never found my mind wandering. If you have any interest in the topic of personality types, or if you are an introvert (or live, work with, or socialize with any introverts), I would recommend this book. ( )
  foggidawn | Apr 4, 2014 |
A must read for anybody involved in education or HR. ( )
  davevanl | Mar 15, 2014 |
The main message I got out of this was that it is perfectly OK to be introverted, in fact you can almost say you should be proud to be one (if you belong to that group). Susan gives advice on raising introverted children, communicating with the opposite type and in romantic relationships, tips for teachers, and tips for corporate culture and how to better accomodate introverts and thus increase productivity. Some useful stuff in here too about how to be more extroverted, and why people are extroverted at some times and not at others.

There is a stigma to the word introvert and the ideal of the extrovert can be seen everywhere. What Susan points out is that many you would believe are part of this ideal are actually "pretending," and are in fact not extroverts. I believe this is an important work to tear down the connotations of being introverted, which for some is seen almost as a disease or something to be overcome. For those who believe such a thing, they need to read this book and I bet their assumptions and outlook will change for the better! ( )
  lcalvin83 | Mar 6, 2014 |
This book was an explanation of all the problems (and triumphs!) of my life. I'm not going to lie, but I was kind of expecting more concrete advice on how to "harness the power of introversion" to be successful. Instead of that kind of self-help book feel, "Quiet" gives a wonderful cultural overview of introversion and why it seems to be in conflict with American social norms. You should definitely read this if you are introverted, or if you are not introverted but a loved one is. ( )
  LongSigh | Mar 4, 2014 |
So, Susan Cain's book puts introverts in exactly the place where they might squirm the most. That is, in the spotlight. Luckily, I found out by taking the quiz at the start of the book that I am neither intro nor extro, but rather what is called an 'ambivert'. Therefore, I could cherry pick my way through Cain's book ascribing the positive benefits of both introversion and extroversion to my own case. No wonder I gave the book five stars!

More seriously, among the many ideas and explanations of personality and character traits in this book, there were two propositions that I found most interesting. First, that in recent years the cult of personality has taken over from the appreciation of character. This, I believe to be true, and a notable change for the worse during the course of my own lifetime. Second, that there is a distinct difference between socializing (which many extroverts like to do) and relating (which introverts favor). Perhaps this is the reason you can so often leave parties feeling vaguely dissatisfied - there was too much socializing and too little relating.

I think Cain's book does an excellent job of helping you look at life from a different viewpoint. What's more, the examples she uses to document her extrovert/introvert propositions are well-chosen and lively, if not downright funny.

A good read, I would say, for extroverts, introverts and ambiverts alike
1 vote Miribooks | Feb 25, 2014 |
Great. Immensely helpful in understanding myself. ( )
  Adewoye | Feb 20, 2014 |
This is a very interesting, engaging book with insights into the minds and brains of introverts (and extroverts) as well as practical tips for being an introvert in an extroverted culture. As an introvert who has had to learn extroverted skills, and who also lives and works in a church culture that oftentimes elevates the extroverted person, I found her advice to be pertinent and thought provoking.
However, towards the end of the book her stories (of which there are many) of different peoples' experiences with introversion/extroversion became a bit too much. The book could have been about 30 pages shorter, with the information in the last few chapters presented a bit more succinctly, and I don't think anything would have been lost.

Overall, though, I think this is a book I will reference in the future and recommend to those either struggling to live with their own introversion or trying to understand someone else's. ( )
  NGood | Feb 19, 2014 |
De kracht van introvert zijn in een wereld die niet ophoudt met kletsen.
  jbo365 | Feb 16, 2014 |
Very interesting implications for education. The modern American school is definitely not a nurturing place for the introvert child. ( )
  Turrean | Feb 15, 2014 |
I'm glad this book exists in the world. It would be nice if it had existed back when I was about 14, and if I had someone to place it into my hands. But then, if such a person had existed in my life, I wouldn't have needed the book.

Reading this book makes me wish now for a condensed young adult version, for the odd introverted adolescent who won't count reading as a particular hobby, perhaps with school as a focus, and advice for choosing a career. ( )
  LynleyS | Feb 8, 2014 |
I've read several other books on the topic, so there was little new information here for me. The part that I could possibly as having some value for others would be her suggestions for educating/raising an "introverted" child. I'm not a parent, so I don't know if this information is covered in more depth in other sources, but I could see this as being valuable for some. ( )
  zoomball | Feb 8, 2014 |
In Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Susan Cain explores introversion in some depth, looking at psychology, brain studies, and anecdotal examples of people she has worked with to illuminate the ways in which introverts have their own power and strengths that just happen to differ from the Western ideal of extroversion.

Nothing in the book was especially surprising or a brand new idea to me, but there were many interesting tidbits and I found it affirming and inspiring. I have previously thought of the term "quiet leader" for myself and it was encouraging to read so many examples of people who are just that. As just one example of the many things I could relate to in the book, Cain has many references to introverted individuals who do not speak up in groups until they are quite confident and clear in what they want to say, which reflects my experience exactly. I appreciate her emphasis that introverts and extroverts have different ways of relating to the world and that introverts have an important perspective to provide: a deep-thinking, risk-averse, careful approach to problems and activities.

I found her exploration of how the Western ideal of extroversion developed quite fascinating, as I had never really thought about this ideal so concretely before. I also appreciated and found interesting her comparison to other cultures, especially Asian, that have an introvert ideal.

She has various helpful tips for introverts on how to function effectively in the world, including a whole chapter on children. A couple things I found useful were: when introverts are working on a core personal project, they are able to act like extroverts as needed, because the end goal holds enough meaning for them that behaving outside their comfort zone is tolerable; and that introverts need to be sure to make time in their lives for "restorative niches" - times when they allow themselves to act as an introvert in their comfort zone, thus restoring their inner strength.

I think that introvert and extrovert are useful categories for understanding people's behavior, but I am not convinced that they are actually completely valid distinctions. Much of what she discussed is very similar to the concept of a "highly sensitive person", developed by Elaine Aron, which is based on a biological difference in sensory processing. According to Aron, only 70% of highly sensitive people are also introverts, but I am not really clear on where the distinctions lie between the two. I would enjoy seeing a deeper exploration of the overlap and differences between introvert and highly sensitive person. Overall, however, I do find that thinking of myself as an introvert, into addition to an HSP, does help me understand myself even better, so it seems useful for that if nothing else.

I definitely recommend Quiet whether or not you consider yourself an introvert. I think it is important for extroverts to read this book as well so that they can understand a large percentage of the population better. ( )
  sbsolter | Feb 6, 2014 |
Interesting study of introverts and their place in the world. The book is well researched and passionately related. The many practical examples of results of studies made this much more than just a scholarly telling of findings. ( )
1 vote CheryleFisher | Jan 23, 2014 |
I don’t read much nonfiction. When I do, it usually pertains to geeks, internet culture, fandom, writing, and introversion. Being an introvert myself, I decided to read "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking" by Susan Cain. It cites a lot of studies and other research, but remains understandable and enjoyable to read. "Quiet" talks about the habits and tendencies of introverts, how they express themselves, and how they try to get by in a world that much more accommodating and rewarding towards extroverts. While "Quiet" does favor the introverts, it doesn’t fail to point out the advantages that extroverts have and the usefulness of their abilities in certain situations. "Quiet" is in favor of balance between extroverts and introverts, and hopes that each will try to help and understand one another. By necessity the book has to speak in generalities, and acknowledges that there are exceptions to every rule, especially here when every person is different. I highly recommend reading this book, both for introvert and extroverts. If you are an introvert, it helps to know that you may be different, but there’s nothing wrong with you. Extroverts may want to read this as well, if only to learn how your introverted peers operate and how to avoid overwhelming them. ( )
  Starsister12 | Jan 20, 2014 |
It was an interesting book which brought up a lot of good points about how USA gears education to extroverts. However, at times her points were overstated. I got about 1/2 way and then found I had trouble finishing the book. ( )
  KamGeb | Jan 18, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I loved this book. After reading Quiet by Susan Cain, I no longer feel bad about being an introvert. I also understand myself so much better. Reading this book was a relief. ( )
1 vote Blacklin | Jan 14, 2014 |
non-fiction, psychology
  Jess.k | Jan 3, 2014 |
A useful introduction to introverted personalities, but one can't fully identify with its political stance. Extraverts may need to be a bit more like introverts, but the same applies to the other side, introverts need to be able to tolerate the rambunctious quality of the world at large; "the mature man seeks to adapt to the world, while the immature man seeks to adapt the world to himself." -A paraphrase of Shaw. ( )
  Inst | Dec 7, 2013 |
I wasn't quite sure where to categorize this one. Once I think about it some more, I think it'll be helpful. It's more of a "how to fit in with extroverts without losing yourself" rather than "how to deal with the quiet ones" kind of book. The author is an introvert herself, and some of the book is how she learned to cope by using her strengths (like listening skills and not rushing into decisions) rather than making herself over completely. ( )
  KarenM61 | Nov 28, 2013 |
I wasn't quite sure where to categorize this one. Once I think about it some more, I think it'll be helpful. It's more of a "how to fit in with extroverts without losing yourself" rather than "how to deal with the quiet ones" kind of book. The author is an introvert herself, and some of the book is how she learned to cope by using her strengths (like listening skills and not rushing into decisions) rather than making herself over completely. ( )
  KarenM61 | Nov 28, 2013 |
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking should be required reading for every expectant parent, business owner, and significant other. I've never come away from a book feeling as good as after reading Quiet. The revelation that I'm not the only one who feels this way felt like a huge weight had been lifted from me. I'm not alone. Whoddathunkit?

I laughed while reading the bit about Professor Brian Little hiding out in a bathroom stall. I've done this one too many times to avoid the dreaded stand-up-and-tell-us-about-yourself awkward class introductions. It's nice to be in such good company.

The cobbler/general story was pretty powerful stuff. Just because someone isn't a smooth talker doesn't mean that they are any less capable. Society is quick to deem anything different than the Extrovert Ideal as bad. This criticism is especially detrimental in a mismatched parent-child fit, which can lead to a lifetime of issues. Quiet helps to enlighten us on the benefits of introverts and how to nurture rather than chastise. I hope that awareness further develops, so that teaching methods change to make the classroom environment ideal for both extroverts and introverts alike.

Most importantly, don't be so quick to judge. Appreciate the quiet strength of an introvert. That bookwork that you're bullying just might be the next Darwin, Einstein, or Gandhi. ( )
1 vote imadork | Nov 18, 2013 |
This is an incredible book (from the reviews I gather a lot of other people feel that way too). The thing I found most interesting about it, however, wasn't really related directly to introversion. This book was the first place I came across the term 'high-reactive'. I'd heard about 'intensity' before, but never an actual physiological basis for it, which is what 'high-reactive' seems to refer to (i.e. hyper-activity of the amygdala). Now I know there's a scientifically valid 'reason' for being sensorily over-stimulated, lol! I already knew I was an introvert but this is a whole new, and fascinating, discovery. I'm definitely going to look into Kagan's work on it now.

One of my favorite things about the high-reactivity theory was how Cain related it to our perception of low-reactive people as 'cool'. For a long time I've been trying to figure out exactly what makes something 'cool' (it isn't a term I use, so I wanted to understand what other people meant by it). This is the best explanation I've come across.

With regards to the way the book deals with introversion itself, I find it interesting that in spite of trying to address as many facets of this complex area of psychology as possible, the idea of the 'fiery introvert' never comes up. Repeatedly Cain describes introverts as 'slow', 'gentle', 'softly-spoken', etc. These might be common characteristics of introversion, but while I'm almost a textbook-case introvert in all other respects (especially in that social interaction and stimulation drains my energy while solitude recharges it) this is one thing which I can't relate to. If introverts are often high-reactive, it makes sense IMO that high-reactive introverts will also be fast thinkers/acters and generally 'run' at a higher pace and emotional intensity than low-reactive people, which could well preclude any such traits as slowness and softly-spokenness. Just a thought. ( )
3 vote dorotheabaker | Nov 14, 2013 |
Fascinating book. Many insights that I never would've considered before. Three stars because it was essentially a very interesting lengthy article that was stretched into a book. ( )
  Scarchin | Nov 12, 2013 |
Best part is separating extroversion vs introversion from shyness from fear of public speaking. ( )
  Anraku | Nov 10, 2013 |
This was a fascinating look at how our American society is skewed to favor outgoing talkative people. It is hard for a quiet person to sell their ideas or even be heard, not to mention, introverts are often labeled antisocial, unintelligent or not engaged. The data in this book was really interesting, especially the part about how schools and parents don't accept introverted behavior, or the challenges of different styles in a relationship. But, I thought that the author tried too hard to explain how wonderful introverts are and how our world would be so much worse if we didn't have introverts like Lewis Carroll, Einstein or Gandhi. Yes, our world would definitely sorely miss the contributions of those great people, but neither introverts nor extroverts are inherently superior. We need both styles in our workplaces, schools, and communities. Let's make sure that everyone can be heard. ( )
  jmoncton | Nov 2, 2013 |
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An edition of this book was 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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