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Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet 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, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the 20th 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 surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.
Perhaps most inspiring, 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 invaluable 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 extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Joshua Kim on 06-10-12
Clamorous Praise for "Quiet"
Quiet will definitely be included in my list for the top nonfiction books of 2012. This is strong praise indeed, given that we are barely in May. The book is that good that I find it inconceivable that 10 other better nonfiction books will be published this year.
The strength of Quiet surprised me, as I went into reading the book a strong skeptic about the whole concept of personality types. I'm a sociologist, and I believe my bones that structure and situations determine behaviors as much as personality. I've also been unimpressed by either the reliability or validity of tests that purport to predict or explain behavior, such as the MBTI. Nor can I confidently report where I fall on the introvert / extrovert scale, and would have a hard time making this judgment about either my spouse or my children.
If you, like me, are skeptical of personality types then you are ideally suited to approach Quiet. Every page of Quiet contained for me some revelation that caused me to re-think and re-evaluate how I approach my relationships and my work, and how I interpret the actions of colleagues and family.
Cain's thesis is individuals vary on how we respond and react to stimuli. For some of us, external stimulus is energy giving and restorative. Other people may enjoy external stimulus, but interactions with other people subtract from the pool of psychic energy and can be depleting. Those people that we call "introverts" are those that expend energy in interactions, "extroverts" gain energy.
What Cain points out is that our schools and our workplaces have been moving to a state where only the skills and behaviors of extroverts are valued. We want our kids to be assertive and confident. We get worried if our children are reserved, dreamy and quiet. At work we all operate in teams. We look to our colleagues to speak up and to proactively contribute to our discussions and team projects. The vision of the open office, designed to ease collaboration and break down barriers to communication, has captured the imagination of many managers. (I know. I work in just such an open office plan).
Cain believes, and cites lots of evidence to support her ideas, that our efforts to construct our schools and workplaces around only extroverts are counterproductive to our organizations and damaging to individuals. Families, schools and workplaces can be better off with a mix of personality types and styles. We need to design classrooms and workplaces that honor the needs of our colleagues for quiet focus and intensive solo pursuits.
Quiet is one of those books that is so beautifully written and so persuasively argued that one wants to convince everyone else to read along and discuss its conclusions. Sometimes I fantasize about having the sort of wealth that would allow me to hand out books to everyone I come across. Quiet tops my list of books to share so far in 2012.
47 of 49 people found this review helpful
By Theodore on 03-12-12
Thought provoking and Uplifting.... A++++++++!!!!!
Every since I learnt what an introvert was I knew I was one but used to wonder how I thrived as well as I did in social situations at times. Susan Cain not only shed light on this concept but on so many things in this title. With an excellent combination of thought provoking narrative, uplifting message and downright honest truth I would suggest "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain to anyone.
I almost gave Kathe Mazur 4 stars for her narration instead of 5 stars but in true introvert fashion, I sat down and reanalyzed her performance in my mind and in the end found myself giving her 5 stars. I found that the reason I was going to give her 4 stars wasn't because she didn't do a downright AMAZING job it was because I thought the story and overall book itself deserved to be rated higher than the narration itself. That itself wouldn't be enough of a reason not to give the performance the 5 stars it deserved so choose to give her just that. She paced herself excellently, engaged you in the listening experience and gave you enough time to think and truly feel the story itself. I was very pleased and found myself engrossed by her narration.
The story itself is so well done I would propose anyone to listen this title if they want to in any way understand introversion (if they don't already and even if you do there is so much more that can be learned from this title). Susan Cain's case studies leaves you (provided you are an introvert) feeling so... understood which in the world of an introvert can be a rare occurrence. I grew up in a household filled with extroverts or persons far more of extroverted than myself and this title does a good job of explaining what I had experienced as well as provide some tips on how to essentially survive. I have learned so much from what this title has said I am completely bowled over! I wish I could give this aspect of the rating 10 stars instead of just 5!
This can be one of those books that get you to change your very mindset. As an extrovert I would assume it would help you to appreciate and value introverts more and also be a bit more aware of how to deal with the introverts in your life. As an introvert personally the book served to simply inspire me and make me feel downright proud to be an introvert with quirks and all! Truly an amazing book!
142 of 151 people found this review helpful