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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

by Susan Cain

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,772457610 (4.02)386
This book demonstrates how introverted people are misunderstood and undervalued in modern culture, charting the rise of extrovert ideology while sharing anecdotal examples of how to use introvert talents to adapt to various situations. At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society, from van Gogh's sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer. Filled with indelible stories of real people, this book shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie's birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, the author charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the differences between extroverts and introverts. She introduces us to successful introverts, from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Finally, she offers advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a "pretend extrovert." This book has the ability to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.… (more)
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» See also 386 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 454 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I loved this book. As an introvert myself, this helped explain so many things: why I am the way I am, why I feel bad about that, why I've struggled to be more outgoing in my life, why others do so naturally. Reading this has allowed me to give myself a break and acknowledge that there is nothing wrong with the way that I am. I simply prefer things quieter than extroverts. I feel strongly that everybody who is or knows an introvert should read this book. I could go into a lot of detail about why, but instead let me share with you some quotes that I wrote down taken directly from Susan Cain's text:

• We're told that to be great is to be bold, to be happy is to be sociable. We see ourselves as a nation of extroverts—which means that we've lost sight of who we really are.

• Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we've turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.

• Depending on which study you consult, one third to one half of Americans are introverts—in other words, one out of every two or three people you know.

• We live with a value system that I call the Extrovert Ideal—the omnipresent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight.

• The archetypal extrovert prefers action to contemplation, risk-taking to heed-taking, certainty to doubt. He favors quick decisions, even at the risk of being wrong... (and) works well in teams and socializes in groups.

• Introversion—along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness—is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology.

• Introversion is different from shyness. Shyness is the fear of social judgement. Introversion is about how do you respond to social stimulation?

• Extroverts thrive under a lot of social stimulation. Introverts thrive when they are quieter and alone. But our schools and workplaces are designed for extroverts and their need for lots of stimulation.

• Introverts focus on the meaning they make of the events swirling around them; extroverts plunge into the events themselves.

• Introverts recharge their batteries by being alone; extroverts need to recharge when they don't socialize enough.

• Introverts feel "just right" with less stimulation, as when they sip wine with a close friend, solve a crossword puzzle, or read a book. Extroverts enjoy the extra bang that comes from activities like meeting new people, skiing slippery slopes, and cranking up the stereo. ( )
  invisiblelizard | Jun 27, 2022 |
This book has been so enlightening. I know understand why I do the things that I do, and also why I have felt it so tiring and stressful to operate in the extroverts world. There is another way, and this book has helped me see it.

Highly recommended ( )
  restimson | Jun 22, 2022 |
The basic premise of this book, that it is okay to be a quiet, thoughtful person even though our current sociocultural climate celebrates the bold, flashy type of go-getter, is comforting and hopeful. The content, however, was too full of her own personal journey and self-involved reflections which made it seem wimpy and, worse, poorly researched. Her pro-introvert bias took needless jabs at the other end of the spectrum, which further made the book unbalanced and self-appreciating. I couldn't finish it. I didn't have to, because all the point she makes, she makes within the first two or three chapters and spends the rest of the book reiterating. I want this book to be better. ( )
  MaryJeanPhillips | Jun 22, 2022 |
Very biased. Focused on generalisations.
Determined to widen the divide, instead of bridging it.

Do yourself a favour and do not waste your time on this one.

VERDICT : WOULD NOT RECOMMEND ( )
  QuirkyCat_13 | Jun 20, 2022 |
I thought this would be a snorefest but there's some interesting stuff in here... interesting and pretty fucking depressing if you're an introvert with NO quiet talent

After reading this book I told my granddad that we've had it his way all week (very very loud) and today we're going to -

that's when he put his hand over his mouth and gave me a silent breakfast. Can't thank this book enough.
  brutalstirfry | May 6, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 454 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susan Cainprimary authorall editionscalculated
Duffy, LauraCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fedor, AaronCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mazur, KatheNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prosperi, CarloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reitsma, Jan WillemTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wallin, BitteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
A species in which everyone was General Patton would not succeed, any more than would a race in which everyone was Vincent van Gogh. I prefer to think that the planet needs athletes, philosophers, sex symbols, painters, scientists; it needs the warmhearted, the hardhearted, the coldhearted, and the weakhearted. It needs those who can devote their lives to studying how many droplets of water are secreted by the salivary glands of dogs under which circumstances, and it needs those who can capture the passing impression of cherry blossoms in a fourteen-syllable poem or devote twenty-five pages to the dissection of a small boy's feelings as he lies in bed in the dark waiting for his mother to kiss him good night. . . . Indeed the presence of outstanding strengths presupposes that energy needed in other areas has been channeled away from them.

- Allen Shawn
Dedication
To my childhood family
First words
[Introduction]
Montgomery, Alabama. December 1, 1955.
[Author's Note] I have been working on this book officially since 2005, and unofficially for my entire adult life.
The date: 1902. The place: Harmony Church, Missouri, a tiny, dot-on-the-map town located on a floodplain a hundred miles from Kansas City.
[Conclusion] Whether you're an introvert yourself or an extrovert who loves or works with one, I hope you'll benefit personally from the insights in this book.
[A Note on the Dedication] My grandfather was a soft-spoken man with sympathetic blue eyes, and a passion for books and ideas.
Quotations
To ask whether it's nature or nurture ... is like asking whether a blizzard is caused by temperature or humidity.
"It's so easy to confuse schmoozing ability with talent. Someone seems like a good presenter, easy to get along with and those traits are rewarded. Well, why is that? They're valuable traits but we put too much of a premium on presenting and not enough on substance and critical thinking." (one venture capitalist)
We need leaders who build not their own egos but the institutions they run.
So if, deep down, you've been thinking that it's only natural for the bold and sociable to dominate the reserved and sensitive, and that the Extrovert Ideal is innate to humanity, Robert McCrae's personality map suggests a different truth: that each way of being—quiet and talkative, careful and audacious, inhibited and unrestrained—is characteristic of its own mighty civilization.
If there is one insight you take away from this book, though, I hope it's a newfound sense of entitlement to be yourself.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

This book demonstrates how introverted people are misunderstood and undervalued in modern culture, charting the rise of extrovert ideology while sharing anecdotal examples of how to use introvert talents to adapt to various situations. At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society, from van Gogh's sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer. Filled with indelible stories of real people, this book shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie's birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, the author charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the differences between extroverts and introverts. She introduces us to successful introverts, from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Finally, she offers advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a "pretend extrovert." This book has the ability to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.

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Haiku summary
Introverts are strong
their brains are just wired different
this can be a strength
(sullijo)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0670916765, 0141029196

 

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