Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Published Crown 2012
Genre: Nonfiction Psychology
Format: Hardback from the library
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.
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 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 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.
I am very interested in psychology, like so incredibly fascinated with it. I’m not majoring in it, or have any type of formal education at ALL in it, but I still love reading about it. It’s one of my favorite interests. Especially personality psychology.
I am an extrovert, but I can get very close to being an introvert. What inspired me to read this book was actually Susan Cain’s TED talk, which is one of my favorites:
Anyway, I am very interested in this topic and this book did not disappoint at all. Even if you are not familiar with the concept of an extrovert or introvert, that is all explained very well in the introduction. After that, it is a really easy nonfiction book to read and follow. Generally, every chapter begins with an example from history or a real life experience, which really makes this book very interesting. We hear about Gandhi, Rosa Parks, and Eleanor Roosevelt – all famous introvert leaders. The main point of this book is to show how introverts are undermined by society and how to appreciate the introverts around us more. For an introvert, it’s a bit of a self help book. For extroverts, it’s a bit of a wake up call. However, there really is never extrovert bashing just to make the point for introvert. Sure, some of the flaws are pointed out in extroverts, but those are never used entirely to make the point for the introvert.
I loved how this book was written into different sections – about introvert and extrovert relations in family, love, and work. There are also quite a bit of biological references to what makes us an introvert or extrovert and how people can even fake these traits to become more like the other type. All of this is backed up with really good evidence from various studies, all described in detail that really make sense. I really liked some of the references she made and they really helped to pull out the main point in the book. The amount of examples really made this book so much easier to read and not very intense for readers who aren’t familiar with psychology at all. In fact, I gave this book to my friend to read a paragraph I really liked and she ended up keeping it with her for the rest of the day.
One of the main concepts that I really enjoyed was the Extrovert Ideal, a study of how extroverts rule American society and culture and how this compares to other countries around the world. This was probably the best thing I took from the book. I really enjoyed this entire book and would suggest it to anyone interested to this topic, or hoping to get a new look on psychology!