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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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4,4332571,106 (4.04)252
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. ( )
1 vote JerryColonna | Apr 5, 2012 |
Showing 1-25 of 264 (next | show all)
I didn't love this book as much as I'd hoped, but I still really liked much of it. As an introvert, there were many parts of this book I found insightful and comforting. Cain discusses the extrovert ideal, the idea that prevails in our culture that people should be talkative, high-energy, and constantly displaying themselves to the world. I wish I had read this section earlier in my life, but even more, I wish that a number of my grade school and high school teachers had read it. The book provided insights as to why I often find meetings, group activities, and crowds to be completely overwhelming, and more importantly helped me understand that this is not a character flaw.

One complaint I have about this book is that it didn't seem that well rounded. There were a number of scientific studies cited to support the power of introverts, but somehow they weren't all that convincing. I'm sure there are just as many studies that support opposing ideas. However, it is good to know that there are studies that promote the strenghts of introverts.

I liked one of the lines at the end of the book, "love is essential, gregariousness is not." A good thing to keep in mind when I find myself longing for more social energy. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
This defense of introversion has caught a lot of attention because so many people can relate to the experiences that Susan Cain describes in her book. She explains possible causes of introversion, including research by neuroscientists. She describes the strengths and contributions of introversion. The last part of the book provides very helpful guidance for parents of introverted children. The book is very readable and interesting. ( )
1 vote proflinton | Aug 4, 2015 |
This was a thought provoking book which challenges the cultural norm of extroversion being regarded as the best trait for good leadership. The author illustrates her arguments with examples of real people who show signs of introversion but have achieved great things. ( )
  alisonday69 | Aug 2, 2015 |
Well-researched and approaches the topic of introverts from many angles. I liked most of it a lot. As a classic introvert ("please, oh please may I just work intensely for hours/days on end from my living room in my pajamas?"), there were many points in this book that explained me to . . . well, to me.

The parts I liked less were those that gave lots of instruction about how to fix yourself if you are an introvert who has to operate in an extrovert environment and about raising introverted children. But the author is a "life coach" after all so I suppose it was necessary for her to give instruction.

One unanswered question: are there any shy extroverts out there in the world? ( )
  Phyllis.Mann | Jul 13, 2015 |
I liked the book. Reassuring. The concepts are repeated throughout the book. It gave me a better understanding of myself. Maybe I'll read it again some day when I again start feeling like I'm lacking in something for being quiet. :) ( )
  MugenHere | Jul 12, 2015 |
This book is very interesting. It can help you to understand and appreciate the value and challenges of introverted (and extroverted) personality tendencies in yourself and others.
This book is well written and full of interviews, scientific studies, anecdotes, and advice.
I recommend this book. ( )
  Haidji | Jul 8, 2015 |
I thought this could have been shorter, and a little less extrovert-bashing in the beginning. Cain is passionate about introversion and it's place in a largely extroverted nation, therefore needed to thoroughly research and describe it, so the length is justified. I've always had a hard time describing my strengths on resumes etc because I always feel that my deep dark secret, a total lack of extroversion, will negate everything good I've ever done. It took reading this book to change my self-talk about that, and to realize that what I perceive as negatives are truly strengths. ( )
1 vote weeta | Jul 5, 2015 |
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!!!" ( )
1 vote benuathanasia | Jun 19, 2015 |
Enjoyable read, includes a lot of research and insight. ( )
1 vote 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. ( )
2 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. ( )
1 vote 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. ( )
1 vote 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. ( )
1 vote 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'.
( )
1 vote 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'.
( )
1 vote 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. ( )
1 vote 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. ( )
2 vote bostonian71 | Feb 6, 2015 |
I wish I had had this book ten year ago. ( )
1 vote 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. ( )
1 vote 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. ( )
1 vote 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. ( )
3 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. ( )
1 vote WeeziesBooks | Dec 6, 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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