Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking

Our lives are driven by a fact that most of us can't name and don't understand. It defines who our friends and lovers are, which careers we choose, and whether we blush when we're embarrassed.
That fact is whether we're an introvert or an extrovert.

The introvert/extrovert divide is the most fundamental dimension of personality. And at least a third of us are on the introverted side. Some of the world's most talented people are introverts. Without them we wouldn't have the Apple computer, the theory of relativity and Van Gogh's sunflowers.

Yet extroverts have taken over. Shyness, sensitivity and seriousness are often seen as being negative. Introverts feel reproached for being the way they are.

In Quiet, Susan Cain shows how the brain chemistry of introverts and extroverts differs, and how society misunderstands and undervalues introverts. She gives introverts the tools to better understand themselves and take full advantage of their strengths.

Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with real stories, Quiet will permanently change how we see introverts - and how you see yourself.

About the Author

Susan Cain is a writer whose work on introversion and shyness has appeared in the New York Times, Time, O Magazine, and PsychologyToday.com. She has taught negotiation skills at corporations, law firms, and universities and practiced corporate law for seven years. Recently she was selected to speak at the TED2012 conference in Long Beach, California. An honors graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School, Susan lives in the Hudson River Valley with her husband and two sons.

Author Website
TED Talk

Reviews

The Washington Times
The NY Times


2 comments:

  1. Our responses to Quiet were certainly mixed. A number of members had difficulty “getting into” the book and a few just couldn’t finish it. All found it repetitive to some extent.
    Usually we begin with the positive comments about a book, but in order to have those emerge, it seemed to be necessary to discuss our frustrations. Aside from the repetition, the two greatest concerns were the narrowness of the sample and the “How To” chapters. The more disturbing of the two was the almost-exclusive use of Harvard Business School students and staff for research. Is the Harvard Business School really a microcosm of the world? Do people attracted to the world of business at one of the most prestigious schools in the world really reflect the cultures of the sciences? The arts? The trades? We thought not. Also, Quiet is not a self-help book, but the author ranged dangerously close to that genre when dealing with relationships in Part Four: How to Love, How to Work. This, perhaps, needs to be a separate book.
    On the other hand, the ideas in Quiet struck chords in many of our lives. First, in an informal poll, members self-identified as introverts except for one. She now sees people differently and behaves differently toward them. The introverts felt themselves validated in a way that hadn’t happened before in their lives. Mothers recounted stories of their introverted children’s’ lives in schools that meshed with Susan Cain’s basic premise: that our culture values the extrovert.
    The concept of the transition from valuing character to charisma was fascinating and plausible to most; however, what have we learned? Are introverts famous for what they do and extroverts famous for what they say? What is the central message? Are we all expected to work toward becoming ambiverts? Is awareness enough? Will awareness lead to a transition in what we value? We need both – can we achieve a culture where both are appreciated?

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