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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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4,1892461,195 (4.05)245
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 250 (next | show all)
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 |
Everyone should read this book. ( )
1 vote arrwa | Sep 29, 2014 |
I would love to see this as a documentary. The book itself gets a little long. But it's comprehensive, that's for sure. Like a Beethoven symphony, it covers all the possible ideas.

Now for those people who think this book will help with their introversion, well... the best thing the author does is tell you that your introversion is normal. You are not doing something wrong, you just have a different way of thinking. There are strengths and faults to introversion, just as there are strengths and faults to extroversion. The problem is that some time after WWII, society got in its head that a forceful personality was more desirable than someone who got things done with integrity and character. That's not to say it has no good advice -- it does. And it wraps up with a great summary. Plus the anecdotes it uses are spot-on, plus the data points are valuable and easy to understand.

I wish this book was read by extroverts, especially bosses and managers, so that they can better understand their employees and why they might not be thriving in an environment full of open spaces and pods and wasteful small talk. ( )
1 vote theWallflower | Sep 19, 2014 |
Throughout history introverts have been treated as a lesser-than class. Introversion was seen as something to be overcome, not embraced. Susan dispels this worldview by showing how the world needs introverts. She plumbs the depths of what makes someone an introvert or an extrovert and discusses variations in these classifications. A wonderful read full of insight on what to do if you're an introvert and need to survive in an extrovert career, or if you're an introvert raising an extroverted child or vice versa. ( )
  catturtle | Aug 26, 2014 |
This book, although interesting, greatly irritated me. The Author was very one sided when it came to her arguments, usually using a quick blurb saying "extroverts are cool too". Every point she makes is strictly speaking to the introvert and not a person who exhibits both traits (which seems to me, the majority of the population).The idea of personality being either extrovert or introvert is a failure, just as someone isn't completely left or right brain dominant. The Author could have built more upon the benefits of introversion itself instead of creating arguments and statistics on whom wins in the race of life.

I'll admit, this was an audio book for me which could have played a part in my aversion to the Author. Sometimes when you listen to a book and the voice actor gets under your skin, this can be a death sign for the book itself. I've heard many people adore this book, so I won't say don't read it... It just wasn't my cup of tea. ( )
1 vote yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
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 |
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2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0670916765, 0141029196

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