Quiet
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also 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. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

Quiet Details

TitleQuiet
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 24th, 2012
PublisherCrown Publishing Group/Random House, Inc.
ISBN-139780307352149
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Psychology, Self Help, Science

Quiet Review

  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    “There's zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” I read this book for the same reason most people read this book: I am an introvert. I have always been an introvert, and it's a fundamental, sometimes limiting, part of who I am. I've learned to deal with it better over the years - learned to clasp my shaking hands together during presentations, force myself to breathe normally and keep my voice steady, even force myself to make the first move in social situatio “There's zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” I read this book for the same reason most people read this book: I am an introvert. I have always been an introvert, and it's a fundamental, sometimes limiting, part of who I am. I've learned to deal with it better over the years - learned to clasp my shaking hands together during presentations, force myself to breathe normally and keep my voice steady, even force myself to make the first move in social situations. Unless you are also an introvert, you probably won't understand the efforts I have to go to (and the psychological strain this puts on me) just to behave in a way that is considered socially acceptable and is desired by employers.It's actually caused me upset and distress for many reasons. Firstly because I find it hard to cope in the many situations where bright, outgoing personalities thrive. Secondly because it's just considered a negative trait. Look at magazines, look at books like How to Win Friends and Influence People, look at job applications asking for "people persons". I remember reading teen magazines in high school and seeing stupid articles about how to attract boys - confident, dazzling personalities are a necessity! - and feeling a very real blow to my self-esteem.But I have accepted it as an unfortunate fact of reality for years - the simple conclusion that being introverted is a bad thing. Not a terrible thing, and definitely not an impossible thing to cope with - technology billionaires are often introverts after all - but something limiting (like a lower intelligence) that I must constantly battle against to make it through this world.Until I read this book.Susan Cain uses facts, statistics and her own case studies to show that introverts are greatly successful and powerful, not in spite of their introversion, but because of it. She compares different types of businesses and teamwork to show how extroverts and introverts each excel in different types of business environments. For example, extroverts often lead businesses better when there is little input from other team members; whereas introverts thrive in situations that rely on the input of a team because they are more likely to listen to the other members and implement their ideas.From Harvard Business School students to Ivy League professors to Rosa Parks, Cain looks at the different types of influence introverts and extroverts have. She does not place favour on one or the other, but instead portrays a view of the world in which both have an extremely important part to play - it just so happens that the extroverts tend to be "louder" about it. It's an important, engaging book that pulled along even a lover of fiction and fantasy like me. And, though comforting, it is still a respectable study that achieves more than just making introverts feel a little better about themselves. The findings speak for themselves and not only serve to please a shy little weirdo like me, but also make a lot of sense.An important read for introverts and extroverts alike.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr
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  • Hanne
    January 1, 1970
    I always thought I was just weird...I can be alone in my car for a 1h drive and not want to have the radio or music on. On sundays I often join the walking club for a long 25km walk, but I prefer to do it alone (and oh, all the pity looks you get!). The idea of surprise parties makes me sick to my stomach, and any event where a thousand people are together is possibly even worse. I dislike small talk, but I probably hate even more how nervous I get when I have to do it. I can feel sad for a brui I always thought I was just weird...I can be alone in my car for a 1h drive and not want to have the radio or music on. On sundays I often join the walking club for a long 25km walk, but I prefer to do it alone (and oh, all the pity looks you get!). The idea of surprise parties makes me sick to my stomach, and any event where a thousand people are together is possibly even worse. I dislike small talk, but I probably hate even more how nervous I get when I have to do it. I can feel sad for a bruised tomato no-one wants to buy (hey, he tried his best too, not his fault someone dropped him!), and while everyone else goes to the modern, light apothecary across the street with the super nice people always happy to help, I go to the dark and older one who never has clients (how else will he survive?)Turns out I'm not that weird. I'm just a full blood introvert. And yet, I'm not what you think. I'm not particularly shy, I'm not the grey bird that never says a word and everyone forgets she's around. I'm very opinionated and quite stubborn, and when amongst friends I know well, I can be the loudest person in the room. But still I'm introvert. After being with friends or colleagues, I need recharging time. I need to be alone. I (almost) always think before I talk. I enjoy getting to the bottom of things, I enjoy detective work. And I can go on and on.While reading this book, on occasion I was nodding so hard I thought my head might fall off.There were very little eye-opening surprises in this book, and even a few things I didn't agree with or I would have hoped for her to explore more. Even a few occasions I thought she was idealizing introverts. This book was not perfect, but somehow i feel that it was important for me to read it.Overall, it was quite liberating. I'm not that weird! About a third of us on this planet (and on a website as Goodreads probably a LOT more) are more or less like me - not completely like me, I'm still unique (I insist!)But that might not be an issue. Though some of you might recognize some of my examples above, I've never met someone before that can feel bad for a bruised tomato. So maybe i'm still little weird, and my own unique self. Hoorah
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  • Stephanie *Extremely Stable Genius*
    January 1, 1970
    March 6th was Super Tuesday and I live in that Oh-so-much-talked-about-battle-ground-state of Ohio. I work the elections as a Ballot Judge, which means I hand out the ballots to the voters and give them instructions. I get to talk and talk, for 13 hours straight *sigh*. I try to make it entertaining for the voters, myself and the others I work with because of its repetition, but by 7:30 pm when the polls close I don’t think the language I was using was English.My spiel went something like this…… March 6th was Super Tuesday and I live in that Oh-so-much-talked-about-battle-ground-state of Ohio. I work the elections as a Ballot Judge, which means I hand out the ballots to the voters and give them instructions. I get to talk and talk, for 13 hours straight *sigh*. I try to make it entertaining for the voters, myself and the others I work with because of its repetition, but by 7:30 pm when the polls close I don’t think the language I was using was English.My spiel went something like this…….Me: “Hi. What ballot can I get for you today?”Voter: “Uh…….what do you mean?”Me: “Today we have, Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or Green (I have never given out the last two)”.Voter: “What’s a Green party?”Me: “I’m not sure, but there is next to nothing on their ballot.”Voter: “I’m and independent (code for embarrassed Republican) can’t I have both a Democratic AND Republican ballot?”Me: “No, you must declare one and you will be that party until the next primary. Ohio is a closed primary state.”Voter: “Uh….then give me a *whispers* a Democrat one.”Me: *loudly* “Democratic it is! Take all this to a table and vote, when you are done bring everything back to Rosemary in the red sweater by that machine. Make sure to tear off the stub on the bottom of the ballot…….the one that is marked “do not detach” when you come up to the machine. If you don’t, you will make Rosemary angry (a very sweet and very old woman) and you won’t like her when she’s angry. She will cover you in I Voted stickers.”This resulted in lots of chuckles, but I did it 301 times. I was drained. I slept for 12 hours that night. Twelve. Grant it, I got up at stupid O ‘clock to get to the polls by 6 am and maybe had 4 hours of sleep, but I was just a shell my former self. I am an introvert. Introverts and extroverts are most easily determined by how their energy is drained and how it is refreshed. Extroverts are drained when they have spent too much time alone, and the opposite is true for introverts. So for me, my life force was gone.In the United States our culture is biased towards the extrovert. We are about the loudness, the out there, the utter insanity if you will. In school “poor Johnny is so quiet, he needs to come out of his shell.” I want to scream “Leave him alone…..he’s FINE, he likes his shell!” School rooms now do this Pod thing where they pull four desks together and make these poor kids work as a team. WTF? No way would have that “concept” worked for me and it’s not working for introverted kids.“There’s no I in team” and that is a damn dirty shame.I haven’t worked in an office setting in years, so when I read in this book that office places are arranging offices areas with an open concept, everybody face to face with no walls. Workers going about their day, shooting the shit, getting ideas……brainstorming (which doesn't work). Who in the hell thought that one up? What a nightmare. What if I only tolerate a certain co-worker……now I have to stare at his annoying face all day, every day? How is anything ever accomplished? Companies are beginning to realize this mistake and are changing things up. Google (I think it was them) designed their offices with food, bathrooms and the like all in the center, like a town center, with offices around the edges. It is designed for casual meetings where ideas everyone figured out in their quiet offices are shared and expanded.Introverts are a third to half of the population. Many of these don’t even know they are introverted, because of the push to be extroverted has made them fool themselves into thinking they were extroverts.Another interesting thing I learned from this book is that extroverts are motivated by rewards. They work toward things, and take risks if need be to get to the goal of getting that reward. Extroverts are soooo happy when they get the reward.Introverts are motivated by fear. So they do things more cautiously, careful not to mess things up in the process of getting to a goal. That sounds like me. It’s doesn't sound cool that I am afraid to F things up, but I am.This book is interesting, whether you are an I or an E. Because if you’re not an introvert, odds are you know and love one.Also posted at Shelfinflicted
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    In a twist that will surprise precisely no one, this book spends a fair amount of time cheering for introverts. What were the odds, right? I assume if you're picking this book up you're on board with that to a certain extent, and likely something of an introvert yourself. This book is certainly for you-or for the perplexed extrovert or "pseudo-extrovert" that might be confused by your supposedly mysterious ways. It's a sort of shield, a blockade, a set of reinforced walls that Cain feels it is n In a twist that will surprise precisely no one, this book spends a fair amount of time cheering for introverts. What were the odds, right? I assume if you're picking this book up you're on board with that to a certain extent, and likely something of an introvert yourself. This book is certainly for you-or for the perplexed extrovert or "pseudo-extrovert" that might be confused by your supposedly mysterious ways. It's a sort of shield, a blockade, a set of reinforced walls that Cain feels it is necessary to throw up around introverts (particularly American introverts) to protect them from the "Extrovered Ideal," of American socialization. The tone of the beginning of the book is thus rather defiant, like Cain is screaming back at everyone she has ever felt pressured by to go to a happy hour or to a dinner party when she had much rather just read a book instead. There's some of this kick-back throughout the book, with plenty of cathartic/sympathetic/rather relatable war stories from introverts just tryin' to make it in an extrovert's world. It is particularly meant to speak to introverts in the high flying business, legal, and/or educational world, where a premium is put on socializing, teamwork, constant connection and multitasking (I am speaking here particularly of the rarefied worlds of Big Law, Wall Street Finance, and Ivy League academia). It's a very career and work focused book, with a surprisingly frequent focus on the bottom line about what traits introverts are more likely to have and how these should be recognized at the top tables in all fields. Her argument, based on one scientific study after another throughout the chapters (deployed like so much artillery), is that introverts tend to think more deeply about problems and persist for longer in trying to solve them. Introverts are supposedly more likely to care about the feelings of others, to make excellent compromising leaders, and to be excellent negotiators (Cain's particular area of expertise) based on their ability to seem soft and actually be tough at the same time. She scorns the merely "shy" as extroverts in disguise who share extroverts' traits and want the spotlight but who are just too scared to get it (she would never say this outright, but it is clear that she believes they don't deserve the secret introvert password and is determined to keep out the riffraff). She argues that the extroverts in powerful positions she has seen are more likely to take unjustified risks, to get hopped up on testosterone and the thrill of the chase, to listen to the loudest person in the room, and to walk all over introverts.She readily admits the nuances in these sweeping generalizations. She also admits the worth of extroverts and how introverts greatly enjoy and need their company, both professionally and personally. In addition, she also talks about some legitimate times when introverts may devote time and energy to being extroverted (if they care about something enough- "Free Trait Theory"). Finally, and in the part that I most appreciated, Cain talks a bit about the "Situational" theory of personality- that is, that people's personalities can be completely different in different situations, times and around different people. Therefore, there are very few "pure" introverts or "pure" extroverts. She also admits that the way that these generalized "traits" play out may look very different and may, after all, not be very predictive in any direct way. (Many extroverts may have excellent impulse control, or introverts who care deeply about a cause may act frequently and completely out of character in order to fight for what they believe in.)However, the space devoted to these arguments is much, much smaller than the space devoted to proving, endlessly, how awesome introverts are and why the professional world should value them and stop trying to tell them that they have to be like extroverts because I'm okay and you're okay and it takes all kinds and a village to make the world go round.And honestly? This is a message that's happening to hit me at the right time, when I'm involved in a workplace with a whole lot of extroverts surrounding me. I did find it useful in my particular mindset where I am actively waging a struggle to define my own style in a new profession, since introversion is a part of my identity. I also thought that some of the studies she cited DO make a lot of sense and should be more widely looked at (like the ones that talk about why it's a good idea to ask people to provide feedback and brainstorm online rather than in big meetings or why introverts with closed door offices are more productive or some of the advice to parents about how to cherish their introverted child). I also think that it's nice to have someone sounding the alert that someone speaking quietly is not wrong by default- turn on cable news for thirty seconds and you'll be reminded why that is important.And yet, despite the evident time put into this book, and despite my bias towards it, I couldn't shake the feeling of cynical questioning of what felt like a great deal of pop psychology and arguments made based on feelings, anecdotes and newspaper clippings collected into a narrative. It felt like a file you might keep to make yourself feel better and to express an important part of your identity, rather than a research paper and I'm sure it was aiming at something closer to that crossed with an advice column. There's such a lot of speculation in here, and lots of scientific studies without citations or countervailing evidence brought into play. (For example, it certainly didn't help that the minute after I read one of the more fluffy scientific studies in here about how we Americans as a culture are more drawn to people that display significantly more traditionally dominant body language in pictures I saw it in an issue of Marie Claire in a box near the back of the magazine reconfigured to be about women being attracted to men and how you've gotta look aggressive and Manly to get us ladiezz don't you know?) It just seems like a book written for a specific audience that you can rely on to make that leap to "just know" what you mean because they've got an emotional bank of misunderstood years and moments to draw on. In short, it appeals to an "emotional truth" built on hundreds of pages of stories and studies that may or may not add up to anything at all. On the one hand, it's maybe okay to create a space for a "community" of sorts to feel and process some of that- on the other hand, it will drag down the overall quality of that work into something closer to a melancholy history crossed with a dinner party argument. Therefore, despite its strengths, and despite the personal enjoyment and help that I have taken from the book at this particular time, I can't rate it as more than an above average read. An intellectualized comfort read for introverted professionals, really, if such a specialized category really exists. I can't rate it higher when I feel like one good scholarly journal review would take the whole theory down, especially when it feels like an argument for corporations to pay introverts more a lot of the time. Nonetheless, a lot of interesting questions asked, a lot of self-reflection inspired. Recommended for my fellow introverts if you're at a place where you feel like something like I described above might be helpful to you at this time. Otherwise, I'd say you could skip it or just watch her TED talk instead.
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  • Manny
    January 1, 1970
    [Original review, Dec 29 2016]This book, which I had had recommended to me by many friends both on Goodreads and in real life, says plenty of useful and worthwhile things. Using the words not quite in the sense common among academic psychologists, Susan Cain distinguishes between "extroverts", whom she characterizes as loud, thick-skinned people who prioritise social interaction, assertiveness and gregariousness, and "introverts", quiet, thin-skinned people who prioritise sensitivity, harmony an [Original review, Dec 29 2016]This book, which I had had recommended to me by many friends both on Goodreads and in real life, says plenty of useful and worthwhile things. Using the words not quite in the sense common among academic psychologists, Susan Cain distinguishes between "extroverts", whom she characterizes as loud, thick-skinned people who prioritise social interaction, assertiveness and gregariousness, and "introverts", quiet, thin-skinned people who prioritise sensitivity, harmony and understanding. She points out that a third to a half of all people are introverts; though many of them have learned how to masquerade successfully as extroverts, since American society encourages extrovert behavior to the point where many introverts feel there is something wrong with them. Why do they prefer to sit and read a book when they could be out making useful business contacts? Cain give reasons to believe that the difference between introversion and extroversion may well be related to underlying brain physiology, and hence beyond the individual's control. But more importantly, she argues that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being introverted. Society needs sensitive, risk-shy introverts just as much as it needs brash, risk-tolerant extroverts. In fact, it may need them more.I find most of the above plausible, though I don't know enough about neurophysiology to be able to say how solid those parts are. What disquiets me most is that the book needed to be written in the first place. It seems to me to say more about modern American society than it does about the differences between introverts and extroverts. As Cain says, many societies - she particularly singles out Asian societies - do not place the same premium on extroverted behavior. If you're an Asian teen, it's regarded as normal to spend your time studying rather than partying. The same is true, though to a lesser extent, of many European societies. Cain's approach is gentle and indirect, but she certainly succeeds in showing how grotesquely skewed the US has become. When a member of an evangelical church says he is only interested in recruiting extroverted people and adds that he's sure Jesus was extroverted, I can't help feeling that something has gone horribly wrong. Even more memorably and presciently (the book was published in 2012), Cain asks at one point how America could have got the idea that the ideal personality type is that of a successful real estate salesman.How indeed?___________________[Update, May 31 2018]A remarkable passage I just read in Gwendolyn Seidman's widely cited paper "Self-presentation and belonging on Facebook: How personality influences social media use and motivations" (2012):Extraversion is related to several belongingness-related constructs. Extraverts have more friends, higher quality friendships (Asendorpf & Wilpers, 1998) and more satisfying romantic relationships than introverts (White, Hendrick, & Hendrick, 2004). Thus, it is unsurprising that extraversion is associated with greater Facebook use (Gosling, Augustine, Vazire, Holtzman, & Gaddis, 2011; Wilson, Fornasier, & White, 2010) and more friends (Amichai-Hamburger & Vinitzky, 2010; Moore & McElroy, 2012; Ryan & Xenos, 2011).
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  • Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
    January 1, 1970
    Very interesting non-fiction about introverts.Definitely could relate with a lot that was said and loved learning more about the advantages of it and how to deal with being an introvert!
  • Grumpus
    January 1, 1970
    What an affirmation! While listening to this book, I was constantly reminded of Al Franken’s Saturday Night Live character, Stuart Smalley, and his mantra, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” Well, those who understand me do. Full disclosure, according to the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, I’m an ISFJ.There were so many points of affirmation for me—things I intuitively knew. Things I’ve tried to share with others mostly to no avail. This book supplies all the dat What an affirmation! While listening to this book, I was constantly reminded of Al Franken’s Saturday Night Live character, Stuart Smalley, and his mantra, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” Well, those who understand me do. Full disclosure, according to the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, I’m an ISFJ.There were so many points of affirmation for me—things I intuitively knew. Things I’ve tried to share with others mostly to no avail. This book supplies all the data I need to support my case. Unfortunately, I don’t think the people who need to read/listen this book (extroverts) will.The book is not an “introverts are superior” diatribe but rather an explanation of how we can leverage personality types most effectively. There is no right or best personality type but like life in general, we need to understand each other for more harmonious relationships. Whether these relationships are family, work, or social, applications of understanding are documented throughout the book.There was one example in the book that hit particularly close to home. Although SAT or IQ scores do not support it, people who talk more are perceived as leaders. And, which personality type talks more? Extroverts. Now, assume that both extroverts and introverts have an equal amount of good ideas. Who is going to get their way more? Extroverts. This could be dangerous because they’re going to get their way more meaning that many of their bad ideas are also going to be implemented.Oh, another thing I intuitively knew but now have support for is brainstorming sessions. Studies show the larger the number of people involved in a session, the less effective they are. A 9-member group is less effective than a 6-member group which is less than effective than a 4-member group which is less effective than a 2-member group. The suggestion is to conduct brainstorming sessions electronically. Collect comments and then share them anonymously and build from there. One of the reasons is that most introverts are better writers than speakers.Other examples from the business world give tips for how both introverted and extroverted leaders can best work with their subordinates of each type. Take advantage of each of their strengths. Such as how studies show that introverts “inspect” and extroverts “react”. Neither adjective should be taken as derogatory but instead as strengths. Allow introverts time to examine and solve. Studies show they are more persistent trying to solve unsolvable problems. The famous introvert, Albert Einstein said, “It is not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” My hero.A final word on the narration—fantastic. If you have the opportunity to listen rather than read this book, I would strongly recommend going with the audio format. Kathe Mazur does a perfect narration in a “Quiet”, calm, soothing voice. Very appropriate “in a noisy world that can’t stop talking”.
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  • Dan Schwent
    January 1, 1970
    Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking is about being an introvert in today's society.Confession time: I'm a tremendous introvert. I know you're all thinking something along the lines of "What? A guy who reads constantly and writes over a hundred book reviews a year is an introvert?" Shocking but true. I could easily go days without human contact. At parties, I'm the guy hanging out near the food or snooping through the host's books or medicine cabinet. I could go into Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking is about being an introvert in today's society.Confession time: I'm a tremendous introvert. I know you're all thinking something along the lines of "What? A guy who reads constantly and writes over a hundred book reviews a year is an introvert?" Shocking but true. I could easily go days without human contact. At parties, I'm the guy hanging out near the food or snooping through the host's books or medicine cabinet. I could go into more detail but since I have a feeling most Goodreaders are also introverts, I'll skip it.Basically, the book is a flashing neon sign that says it's okay to be an introvert. Susan Cain chronicles her own struggles as an introvert, as well as showing how America went from being about character to about personality, right around the time movies and TV started getting popular. It covers introverts in all areas, like corporate America, and how introverts are treated in other societies. There's a lengthy section on raising introvert kids, which a lot of parents could use instead of shoving their kids into the shark-infested extrovert waters.Honestly, I could have used this book as a teenager, when people were constantly badgering me to go out more. Scientific discoveries and works of art are rarely made by people who are constantly talking. Cain covers topics like being an introvert in the business world, where people who talk the loudest get their way more often than not, something I see every day in cubeland.Actually, the book gave me insight into the behavior of some of my family. Until he retired, my dad was crabbier than Red Foreman all the time. I used to think he was just an angry asshole but now I think he was an introvert with nowhere to unwind. Now that he's retired, I see how much alike we are. He's actually pretty friendly as long as the visits don't go too long. Susan Cain's writing style is engaging. I felt the repeated examples may have padded the book a bit. While I felt validated by reading it, sometimes it felt like a book a kid named Matthew, who happened to be missing a finger, wrote about how nine-fingered Matthews are the best at everything. I liked it but most of what Cain says seemed pretty obvious. There are no mind-blowing revelations for introverts within. I do recommend extroverts read it, however. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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  • Lola
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first time in my life I'm saying this: I'm so proud to be an introvert :)
  • Brigid ✩
    January 1, 1970
    You can also read this review on Flying Kick-a-pow! ReviewsThis is a bit different from what I typically read and review. I don't often read non-fiction, but when my mom got this out of the library and I read the inside flap, I knew I would have to give it a shot. It sounded like something I could relate to and possibly benefit from … and it was. As soon as I started it, I was totally engrossed. And as I made my way through the entire thing, I felt like I was learning more and more about myself. You can also read this review on Flying Kick-a-pow! ReviewsThis is a bit different from what I typically read and review. I don't often read non-fiction, but when my mom got this out of the library and I read the inside flap, I knew I would have to give it a shot. It sounded like something I could relate to and possibly benefit from … and it was. As soon as I started it, I was totally engrossed. And as I made my way through the entire thing, I felt like I was learning more and more about myself.My whole life I've been an introvert. I keep to myself more than the people around me do. I tend to prefer reading/writing to partying. I'm very self-conscious about speaking; when I talk in front of a bunch of unfamiliar people, I stumble over my words and blush and feel like a moron … hence, I usually opt not to speak at all unless someone forces me to and/or speaks to me first.I've grown used to labels like "shy" and "quiet," to the rude questions like "Can you talk?", "Do you speak English?", and "Have you been in this class the whole year?" The confrontations and notes from teachers/professors are expected by now. "You need to speak up more in class," "Don't be shy!" etc. Just thinking about it right now makes me want to punch a wall. People act as if it's some magical switch I can turn on and off. They think I don't talk much because I'm incompetent, because I'm lazy, because I'm a bitch, because I think I'm better than everyone else. People who know me well can see I'm none of those things (at least, I hope I'm not), but for a lot of people it seems to be a challenge to understand that. It's not that I blame them, because I think it's hard to comprehend what it's like to be an introvert if you haven't experienced it yourself. But still, it's frustrating.What makes being an introvert so hard is that––especially in the US––we are held up to what Susan Cain calls the "Extrovert Ideal." That is, we are told our whole lives that the "ideal" person is an extrovert––outgoing, confident, well-spoken, etc. Extroverted people are thought of as being more important, more authoritative, and more attractive. If you are a shy, you are more likely to be seen as weak, a pushover, a bad leader, an awkward/unattractive person. We're constantly told that in order to succeed, we need to stand up for ourselves, push others out of the way, be the loudest, take the most risks. If you're a shy/introverted person, you are constantly told that you need to change––that if you continue to be quiet, you're never going to get anywhere in life. You won't get a good job, you won't succeed, no one will want to date you ... you name it. Needless to say, I hate being shy. I'm tired of always being told that I need to speak up more, that I just have to be more confident. It's like, do you think I want to be this way? Do you think I enjoy not being able to say what I want to say, that I feel totally idiotic every time I open my mouth, that I don't even want people to look at me because I'm so self-conscious? Trust me, if I could, I would be more confident. If I could just shut off all the thoughts in my head, I would gladly speak up more often. But I've always felt like my brain just wasn't wired that way. People act as if it's as easy as just speaking up, that the leap from being introverted to being extraverted is as easy as, "You know what? I'm just not going to be shy today! Yay!"And … yeah. It's not like that at all. It's like, when I'm surrounded by people I don't (or only barely) know, I just go on lockdown. My mind doesn't generate things to say. My mouth refuses to open. I just completely freeze up. And it's not that I don't want to participate in the conversation. I wish talking was easy for me. I do want to contribute. Yet, there's this voice in my head telling me to not say anything, and to just sit back and observe.So, obviously, this is a very frustrating trait to have. It holds me back in a lot of social situations. I have trouble making friends (although I do have friends, so don't worry). I've managed to live for two decades without ever having a boyfriend. My grades have suffered. So on and so forth.I've struggled with this my whole life, I constantly beat myself up about it … I've always wondered what the hell was wrong with me. Why couldn't I just magically gain some confidence? Why couldn't I just suck it up and be a more social person? I've spent my whole life trying to find something to blame, some reason why I've always been like this. Is it because I'm part of a large family, and therefore I've always felt like I should just keep my problems to myself? Is it because I grew up in such an academically competitive town where there was too much pressure to be the star student? Of course, there must be various contributing factors. But according to Cain's book, it may be due more to nature than to nurture than we may think.Cain discusses several studies that relate introversion/extroversion to sensitivity. And apparently, people with more active amygdalae––a part of the brain that plays a significant role in processing memory and emotional reactions––are far more likely to be introverts. People fall roughly into two groups: "high reactive" and "low reactive." If you are a more high reactive individual, you are more likely to:- React more strongly to stimuli––new sounds, meeting new people, seeing disturbing images, etc.- Be more empathetic towards other people- Be very observational, notice small details- React more emotionally to artwork/music/books/etc.- Be more prone to emotional problems like anxiety/depression- Be very sensitive about what other people think of you, and therefore become timid in social situations where you don't know many peopleThis isn't to say, of course, that more low reactive people don't experience these things, it's just that it tends to happen on a lower scale for them because their amygdalae are not as sensitive. Also, high reactive does not automatically equal introverted and low reactive doesn't automatically equal extroverted, but research suggests a strong correlation between the two traits. But what's most important to realize about levels of reactivity is that they can't be controlled. Cain discusses one study in which infants were tested for how reactive they were to stimuli––and a majority of high-reactive infants grew up to be introverts, while the low-reactive infants tended to grow up to be extroverts. It's studies such as these that suggest we don't choose introversion or extroversion; they are built into our DNA. One can easily fake one or the other. That is, you can be an introvert and still speak a lot and socialize frequently––it's just that, as an introvert, you will be more drained by social interaction. Because introverts are often more high-reactive individuals and therefore react more strongly to stimuli, a room of new faces is much more exhausting to process than it would be for someone who is more low-reactive. I could go on and on about this, but of course––if you want to learn more, I highly suggest reading this book. There's a lot of fascinating information about the subject.Quiet seriously changed the way I think about myself. I still dislike being shy and introverted for many reasons. But after reading this, I also know that I might not have the same creative and observant traits that I have now, if I were extroverted instead. And more importantly, I know that it isn't my fault for being this way––and that millions of people face the same struggle that I do. I don't know if I can say that I really accept who I am, at least not yet. But at least I feel like I understand it a lot better.Over all, I think this book is well-written and well-researched, and Cain narrates it with heart and humor––drawing from her own experience as an introvert alongside her studies of the subject. I thought Quiet was brilliant, and I recommend it to introverts and extroverts alike. ~ Flying Kick-a-pow! Reviews ~
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  • jessica
    January 1, 1970
    ive seen this book pop up on my feed quite a bit recently and, even though i read it years ago, i cant believe i never posted a review for it! better late than never. lol. a quick google search will show that anywhere between 25-40% of the worlds population are introverts and i feel so proud to be considered part of such an outstanding group. this book didnt necessarily teach me anything i didnt already know about myself, but it was very neat to see how i can turn my introvertedness into a stren ive seen this book pop up on my feed quite a bit recently and, even though i read it years ago, i cant believe i never posted a review for it! better late than never. lol. a quick google search will show that anywhere between 25-40% of the worlds population are introverts and i feel so proud to be considered part of such an outstanding group. this book didnt necessarily teach me anything i didnt already know about myself, but it was very neat to see how i can turn my introvertedness into a strength, especially when so many consider a more reserved nature to be a sign of weakness. and because i could relate to literally everything in this book, i have constantly returned to it from time to time over the years, revisiting marked pages, highlights, and notes i made when i first read it.i found this is to be a very informative, eye-opening and thoroughly researched book. its a definite must read for all of my fellow introverts!!↠ 4 stars
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  • Yvonne
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you, Susan Cain, for writing this remarkable book! As an introvert who has always been regarded as not only quiet, but also timid and weak, this book is very refreshing. It puts into words what many introverts know intuitively; strength does not have to be loud, in your face, or aggressive. Strength and conviction can present themselves quietly without sacrificing effectiveness. Through impressive research, Ms. Cain clearly demonstrates the importance of both personality types and the valu Thank you, Susan Cain, for writing this remarkable book! As an introvert who has always been regarded as not only quiet, but also timid and weak, this book is very refreshing. It puts into words what many introverts know intuitively; strength does not have to be loud, in your face, or aggressive. Strength and conviction can present themselves quietly without sacrificing effectiveness. Through impressive research, Ms. Cain clearly demonstrates the importance of both personality types and the value of introversion. I only wish that I could have read this book when I was younger so that I would have been more confident and accepting of my own nature. After reading it now, I do feel that I can better articulate the importance of my role in society and take pride in the contributions that introverts have made throughout history.
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  • Felicia
    January 1, 1970
    As you can see, i've been mixing up my reading lately, THIS ISN'T ROMANCE YAY!Quiet is a fascinating book about the prejudice that our society faces against introverts, and why it's unfounded, and how, as an introvert, you can overcome that, as well as just KNOW yourself better. I never really classified myself as such before, but reading this, I understand why, if I'm exhausted, all I want to be is alone, and how I'm extroverted only when I can control my environment and how that's a THING! If As you can see, i've been mixing up my reading lately, THIS ISN'T ROMANCE YAY!Quiet is a fascinating book about the prejudice that our society faces against introverts, and why it's unfounded, and how, as an introvert, you can overcome that, as well as just KNOW yourself better. I never really classified myself as such before, but reading this, I understand why, if I'm exhausted, all I want to be is alone, and how I'm extroverted only when I can control my environment and how that's a THING! If you're shy or are unsure, this is a great read. I think you'll discover something about yourself, that's why I've recommended to a lot of people lately!
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  • Julie Christine
    January 1, 1970
    Once upon a time there was a woman who dreaded the staff meeting roundtable, when each person had to share what was good or bad or on their professional plate that week or in their personal life. All five, nine, fifteen pairs of eyes would be upon her as she forced her voice to carry down the table, knocking off as few words as she could to express, “Everything’s great!” before turning her flushed face to the colleague beside her. This same woman could take the stage before an audience in the hu Once upon a time there was a woman who dreaded the staff meeting roundtable, when each person had to share what was good or bad or on their professional plate that week or in their personal life. All five, nine, fifteen pairs of eyes would be upon her as she forced her voice to carry down the table, knocking off as few words as she could to express, “Everything’s great!” before turning her flushed face to the colleague beside her. This same woman could take the stage before an audience in the hundreds at a conference and deliver a speech with poise, loving every moment she was in the spotlight. She’d spin around her shopping cart to avoid meeting an acquaintance in the produce department at the grocery store, then host a wine dinner that night for twenty strangers, her joy bubbling as much as the Champagne she poured, explaining to the assembled crowd the difference between méthode traditionelle and transfer method of production. She could spend hours waiting tables at a busy restaurant, engaging in happy grace and good humor with dozens of customers, but the thought of a Friday night party at a friend’s, hanging out in a kitchen drinking beer with a few people from work? She’d feign a sudden flu or a last-minute family obligation to avoid hours of mindless chatter.That I am an introvert is not news to me. I can’t recall when I first took the Myers-Briggs personality type test, but I should have INFJ tattooed on my forehead, for the results never waver. And at some point, I got the message that being an introvert doesn't mean I'm shy, for I am not; it doesn't mean I'm not a risk-taker, for I am, or that I don’t form deep personal attachments, for I have many. What it does mean, among many things, is that socializing wears me out. I abhor chitchat, loud people, group projects and “going out.” It means I love to lose myself in solitary endeavors. It means I love process, not reward. It means I’d rather just sit and listen. And when I have something to say, please be patient. I’m not a fast talker, I pause a lot, searching for just the right word. And even then you’ll probably have to strain to hear me. Unless I’ve thoroughly rehearsed my responses, I’ll never deliver my thoughts with articulate confidence. There are parts of Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking that made me laugh, even as tears stung my eyes. Knowing that I prefer to be alone—that I have little tolerance for casual social situations—never released me from feeling that I needed to overcome my social awkwardness and impatience, my thin skin and tendency to fret about the future and things beyond my control. I thought these were faults, not characteristics of a personality type shared by millions, most of us existing in contemplative, considerate silence. Through research, anecdotal interviews and personal experiences, Cain explores the ways introverted personalities manifest themselves in the workplace and personal relationships. The section on “highly-sensitive” people struck home. 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 love music, nature, art, physical beauty. They feel exceptionally strong emotions—sometimes acute bouts of joy, but also sorrow, melancholy, and fear. They are highly empathetic…with thinner boundaries separating them from other people’s emotions and from the tragedies and cruelties of the world Yes, please. Reading this, I realized one of the reasons I tend to shut myself off and away is because I am overwhelmed by my own helplessness to change the world. I take things so personally and feel them so deeply that I become frozen in place, not knowing how to translate feeling into action. When Cain discusses her professional epiphany, I had another laugh/cry moment. Hers was realizing that she was never cut out to be a corporate lawyer; mine, a university and corporate administrator. There are many aspects of our professions in which we excelled, rising quickly through the ranks. But neither of us is cut out for committee work, for schmoozing and glad-handing, for blowing our own horn—all required in legal circles, ivory towers and boardrooms. I loved the one-on-one time I spent counseling students, building relationships with individual faculty, developing administrative processes and procedures, doing research and yes, presenting at conferences and leading workshops, for which I rehearsed and prepared weeks in advance. But I knew I’d never rise to the ranks of the one in charge; I simply wasn’t built for the social demands and networking required of a Director. So, for fifteen years I left job after job just at the pinnacle of power and success—always the Bridesmaid, never the Bride. I never really knew why, except that something was inherently wrong with me. At last, I accept nothing is wrong with me; denying myself the opportunity to advance was recognition that moving up meant moving into roles for which I was constitutionally not suited. Now I am a writer. And a happy little clam. I work to create niches of social balance to avoid complete isolation—I belong to a book club, a writer’s group, I volunteer, meet friends for coffee. Social media is a great release for me, because I only talk when I want to, I have all the time in the world to construct my thoughts (which I can edit later!) and no one is looking at me as I speak. Quiet has given me permission not to regard my limited in-person social circle as evidence of a failure of personality, but as respect given to my true nature: “Love is essential: gregariousness is optional.” In some ways, working through the theories and examples in this book is exhausting and dispiriting—if I’d had a better understanding of how I function best, would I have made different choices? Yet, the most important choices I’ve made—excelling at and loving parts of my profession that I’m built for and not being swayed by extrinsic rewards to pursue paths for which I am not; the dogged determination that puts me in front of a keyboard every day with few indications that I will be able to make a living doing what I love—I’ve stuck to my temperament. My life’s path hasn’t been without its stumbles, but even without knowing quite what makes me tick, I've been true to my nature. This is Cain’s consistent and loudest message, delivered with the gentle power of an introvert. A Manifesto for Introverts (from Quiet)1. There’s a word for “people who are in their heads too much”: Thinkers.2. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation.3. The next generation of quiet kids can and must be raised to know their own strengths.4. Sometimes it helps to be a pretend extrovert. There will always be time to be quiet later.5. But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is key to finding work you love and work that matters.6. One genuine new relationship is worth a fistful of business cards.7. It’s OK to cross the street to avoid making small talk.8. “Quiet leadership” is not an oxymoron.9. Love is essential; gregariousness is optional.10. “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Mahatma Ghandi
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  • Diane
    January 1, 1970
    This book blew my mind. I loved it so much that I wish I could give a copy to all of my friends and relatives.Susan Cain does an excellent job of explaining the different strengths between introverts and extroverts, and the history of how America came to idealize extroverts. I agree that as a society we tend to value the gregarious go-getters, the loud talkers, the forceful presenters. But Cain's book reminds us that societies need introverts, too — the thinkers, the listeners, the people who lo This book blew my mind. I loved it so much that I wish I could give a copy to all of my friends and relatives.Susan Cain does an excellent job of explaining the different strengths between introverts and extroverts, and the history of how America came to idealize extroverts. I agree that as a society we tend to value the gregarious go-getters, the loud talkers, the forceful presenters. But Cain's book reminds us that societies need introverts, too — the thinkers, the listeners, the people who look before leaping. The long, long, long list of introverts in history includes: Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, George Orwell, Marcel Proust, J. K. Rowling, Lewis Carroll, W. B. Yeats, Warren Buffet, Steve Wozniak, Charles Schultz, Al Gore, Rosa Parks, Gandhi...As an introvert, I found the book comforting and inspiring. But extroverts who are in relationships with introverts or who are parents of an introvert would also do well to read this book. The author has good tips for how to handle introverts, especially children."Love is essential. Gregariousness is optional ... Use your natural powers -- of persistence, concentration, insight and sensitivity -- to do work you love and work that matters. Solve problems, make art, think deeply. Figure out what you are meant to contribute to the world and make sure you contribute it."Update April 2015I read this book about two years ago, and I think it has been the most influential book I've read in years. Cain's book profoundly changed how I viewed myself, others, and our various roles in society. I have recommended this book to numerous friends, and some of them commented on how grateful they were to have read it. I will add managers and supervisors to the list of people who I think should read this book, because it helps to explain some workplace and group dynamics. While the writing isn't perfect (I remember Cain meanders a bit), I'm leaving my rating at 5 stars because of how powerful and inspirational this book has been.
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain is a 2012 Crown publication. I’ve seen Susan Cain’s ‘Ted Talks’, video and knew I would have to read her book, it was just a matter of fitting it into my schedule. As an extreme introvert, this book definitely feels like a form of validation. See? There is nothing wrong with me. There are other people out there just like me, who avoid social situations at all cost, would rather take a good beating than speak publicly Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain is a 2012 Crown publication. I’ve seen Susan Cain’s ‘Ted Talks’, video and knew I would have to read her book, it was just a matter of fitting it into my schedule. As an extreme introvert, this book definitely feels like a form of validation. See? There is nothing wrong with me. There are other people out there just like me, who avoid social situations at all cost, would rather take a good beating than speak publicly, who feel drained after social occasions, and who must have alone time. There are people who, like myself, tried to fake an extrovert personality, but were miserable because it. In a world that is increasingly group oriented, that recognizes the loud, outspoken, forceful personality over the quiet, soft spoken, unassuming temperament, this book is a Godsend. But, while the book explains the tendencies of the introvert and offers some theories on how people develop this type of temperament, and how to cope and compromise in order to fulfill your job duties and family obligations without suffering an overabundance of anxiety or develop depression or a dependence on medication, this book is also a must read for extroverts!Yes, that’s right… extroverts should read this book too, so they can understand that colleague, sibling, or spouse, or child who is quiet, craves alone time, avoids social situations, and would rather not waste time on small talk. How can employers create a workplace setting that brings out the best of both temperaments? Many people work better and are far more productive when working alone, and have much to contribute, but are often drowned out by the constant cacophony surrounding them. While I agree with nearly everything the author writes, most of the scientific studies and analogies were only moderately interesting and highly debatable. I don’t know if I agreed with all those findings, and this particular section of the books was just a little bit dull. Not everything mentioned here will pertain to every single person who identifies as an introvert. Taking the informal quiz, I answered nearly every question with ‘Yes’, but there were several traits that I do not own, so this is not a ‘one size fits all’ course, and doesn’t try to be, but I think the author covered a tremendous amount of relevant material any introvert can use and relate to. I would not consider this book a ‘self-help’ book, but the author included a few tips and exercises one can use to ease social anxiety and learn to work in groups and speak publicly. There is also a section for parents who may worry about an introverted child, and how to encourage that child, not change them. Overall, I am so happy to see the problems introverts face in an extroverted world, addressed and brought to the forefront. 4 stars
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  • Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    Most of this, to be honest, is self-explanatory, but the rest is a fairly comprehensive exploration of how extroversion became a public ideal back in the 1920's, replacing the power of character with personality and the social stigma that has ever since been placed upon people who don't seem vibrant and ebullient. It shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone that 1/3 to 1/2 of all people are introverts, but because we live in a society that places a premium on everything non-introverted, most of Most of this, to be honest, is self-explanatory, but the rest is a fairly comprehensive exploration of how extroversion became a public ideal back in the 1920's, replacing the power of character with personality and the social stigma that has ever since been placed upon people who don't seem vibrant and ebullient. It shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone that 1/3 to 1/2 of all people are introverts, but because we live in a society that places a premium on everything non-introverted, most of us have to fake it to make it, and with that comes exhaustion and misunderstanding, whether with our bosses, our intimates, or with ourselves and our own natures.This book tells us to relax. Be ourselves. Value what you value and understand that some people aren't naturally conflict avoidant, that they like to express anger, surround themselves with a bunch of shallow social jostlers, and that we oughtn't judge our extroverted peers when they jump into decision-making strategies that sink ships and endanger the lives of everyone around them just because they couldn't be bothered to think things through before opening their damn mouths.And please don't judge all the sheep that are impressed by the aggressive blowhards and follow on their every word because they're just so damn charismatic, either.It's okay to think and spend some time alone from others. Really. It might just be the salvation of the world if enough of us just throw off the yoke of social expectations or the stigma of shyness and just get prepared, build up all our talents and reserves in peace, and strike when the time is perfect. We're not unobservant, after all. We just have little patience for bullshit.And even if society has taught us to lie our asses off whenever we're expected to be gregarious and social in all those damn shallow ways that others tell us are the only way to make it in this world, don't despair. The High Social Monitoring we do is a coping mechanism that we've had to develop PRECISELY because we're considered social pariahs. Oh, and GoodReads is a hotbed for a grass-roots introvert revolution. I don't think anyone here will have any real difficulty cultivating contacts and building their networking, because, after all, we're all discussing things that are very important to us and we're diving deep into the material, wallowing in our talents and our passions, and when we rise, And Oh! We will Rise!We will rise like the phoenix from the ashes of social scorn and we will scour the world of all those who would ever deny us our right to sit in silence to read our favorite book or sit in silence to write a chapter in our next brilliant novel.We Will Overcome!(Aside: Some interpretations of this book are mine only and should not be associated with the author.)
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  • Heidi The Reader
    January 1, 1970
    Quiet entered my life at a particularly low moment. Allow me to set the scene: I had been on vacation for a week and a half. We were in Colorado, visiting my husband's family, some of whom I had met before, others whom I had not. I knew I wasn't going to be entirely comfortable being around people the whole trip- I'm a huge introvert and I'm self aware enough to know that I need downtime, and quite a bit of it, to feel as if I'm functioning normally. But I didn't realize that my husband, who is Quiet entered my life at a particularly low moment. Allow me to set the scene: I had been on vacation for a week and a half. We were in Colorado, visiting my husband's family, some of whom I had met before, others whom I had not. I knew I wasn't going to be entirely comfortable being around people the whole trip- I'm a huge introvert and I'm self aware enough to know that I need downtime, and quite a bit of it, to feel as if I'm functioning normally. But I didn't realize that my husband, who is just as introverted as I am and who I was counting on to help me through all of the introductions, dinners, conversations, etc, was going to immerse himself in Pokemon Go a majority of the time and essentially leave me to my own devices. As Susan Cain would say, he found a "restorative niche" for himself in a digital world. It was hard on me as I didn't have that escape.So, here we are, visiting a friend's home and my daughter, who strangely enough is a huge extrovert (the exact opposite of her parents), is struggling. She's tired, out-of-sorts, and throwing a sulk every ten minutes. I'm meeting yet more people, trying to hold trite conversations, and steer my child, all the while just wanting to retreat into a cave and not talk to anyone for a very long time. Honestly, I felt that way before we reached the party, but things seemed to get much, much worse the moment we arrived. It had been building over the course of the vacation, but that day, my internal clamor reached a boiling point. My husband was oblivious to my growing discomfort as he's catching Pokemon, again. (I don't mean to sound bitter here, but I suppose that I am.) I had forced myself for ten days to be social, keep the smile on my face, keep everything flowing smoothly. To my horror, I realize that I am about to have a panic attack in the middle of this crowd of people, more than half of whom I don't even know. I grab my keys and leave.I drive a couple blocks away, castigating myself for not being able to handle it and just pissed because, once again, like many times in my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, I feel like I'm failing at life because I'm not a social butterfly. I can't stand to be around strangers for extended periods of time. I've always been this way- overly sensitive to others, noise, motion, events. I really dislike groups, parties, places where I have to circulate with a bunch of people who don't know me or care about anything that I have to say. The tears fell down my cheeks as I opened up my tablet and began reading this book. And I discovered that about half of all people are just like me. Thank you, Susan Cain. Your book gave me the courage to drive back to my friend's house and face the rest of the evening. I am not a pariah. I am an introvert and perhaps I can do a better job figuring out when I've reached my socializing limits before I meltdown.Many of the positive attributes of introverts which Susan describes, I totally have, I've just never considered them as worth the trade-off of the extroverted personality. I notice small details, have a great memory for conversations and events, long past the time when others forget such things. I think carefully about problems and people, devoting time to taking apart small nuances of books and movies, that other people don't even consider, which makes me a good reviewer of media- perfect for my job as a librarian. Susan nailed my general feeling about myself in the introduction: "Introverts living under the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man's world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they 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." pg 34 ebook. Yes!My role at the reference desk calls for an extroverted personality but I muddle through it, because I care about the job and helping others. Usually, I come home from work, totally worn out and in need of quiet time to unwind. Susan helped me understand that sometimes "faking it" is worth it, if it for a cause that means something to you and that others do the exact same thing that I do. Pull out the mask for the job, but then allow yourself the freedom to be who you really are at home: "According to Free Trait Theory, we are born and culturally endowed with certain personality traits- introversion, for example- but we can and do act out of character in the service of "core personal projects." In other words, introverts are capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of work they consider important, people they love, or anything they value highly." pg 391 ebook.My favorite parts of the book were about sensitivity and social situations. Take this passage: "...maybe we didn't choose ... social accessories at random. Maybe we've adopted dark glasses, relaxed body language, and alcohol as signifiers precisely because they camouflage signs of a nervous system on overdrive. Sunglasses prevent others from seeing our eyes dilate with surprise or fear; we know from Kagan's work that a relaxed torso is a hallmark of low reactivity; and alcohol removes our inhibitions and lowers our arousal levels. When you go to a football game and someone offers you a beer, says the personality psychologist Brian Little, "they're really saying hi, have a glass of extroversion." pg 277 ebook. I may use that in my life. "Please hand me that glass of extroversion."I also really enjoyed learning the differences in thinking: "Introverts and extroverts also direct their attention differently: if you leave them to their own devices, the introverts tend to sit around wondering about things, imagining things, recalling events from their past, and making plans for the future. The extroverts are more likely to focus on what's happening around them. It's as if extroverts are seeing "what is" while their introverted peers are asking "what if." pg 323 ebook. Yeah, I do that too.I can't recommend this book highly enough. It saved an evening for me, but more importantly, it changed the way that I view myself. There is power in knowing that you're not alone. Again, thank you, Susan Cain. Some read-alikes: The Introvert's Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World by Sophia Dembling (for introversion) or Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson (for more instances of social anxiety).
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  • Megan Baxter
    January 1, 1970
    There's a real pleasure in recognition. Hearing about yourself, finding out you're not alone, it can be a huge relief and release. And so, as a long-time (although fairly gregarious) introvert, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Not much of it was truly surprising, but still, it's nice to read a book that validates the way I tend to operate anyway. Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decisio There's a real pleasure in recognition. Hearing about yourself, finding out you're not alone, it can be a huge relief and release. And so, as a long-time (although fairly gregarious) introvert, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Not much of it was truly surprising, but still, it's nice to read a book that validates the way I tend to operate anyway. Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
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  • Elyse Walters
    January 1, 1970
    Update: Solid 5 stars..( Jan. 3rd 2016)...I had a reason for a 4.9 rating years ago..I still believe what I wrote ... however..this book is a lifetime favorite book!!!I had a conversation about it just yesterday.I can get very charged up about this book.When I've purged giving books away.. I've always 'kept' this one for myself ( yet I've bought extra copies a few times and have given it as a gift). I feel everyone benefits from this book..'everyone' ... and the process of reading it is a fabulo Update: Solid 5 stars..( Jan. 3rd 2016)...I had a reason for a 4.9 rating years ago..I still believe what I wrote ... however..this book is a lifetime favorite book!!!I had a conversation about it just yesterday.I can get very charged up about this book.When I've purged giving books away.. I've always 'kept' this one for myself ( yet I've bought extra copies a few times and have given it as a gift). I feel everyone benefits from this book..'everyone' ... and the process of reading it is a fabulous journey too! Rating: 4.9. Why not a solid 5 star rating? At 'times' I felt the author (an introvert herself), painted a slanted side of the extrovert. [these were just 'small' between-the-line-gut-feelings I felt 'sensitive to']....However:This book is 'excellent'. Its interesting as can be -informative-important- and enjoyable. ...A fast read even 'with' sitting at a table taking notes. (I took 8 long pages of notes)-- it was pure 'joy'....(engaging with this topic). Much to think about, to remember, to discuss. Our book club will talk about this book together Oct. 20th (can't wait). All teachers and parents would benefit from reading this book. *Everyone* would benefit reading this book!I'd suggest this book to EVERYONE!!!
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  • Glenn Sumi
    January 1, 1970
    This book spoke directly to my soul, to the core of my being.If you’re on this site and reading this, you probably enjoy time alone to read, think and recharge your batteries. It’s not that you’re anti-social, you just prefer having meaningful conversations with one or two people rather than being stuck in a room with a loud group talking about... nothing. Susan Cain’s book will validate you and make you feel you’re not a freak. You don’t need “to come out of your shell.” In fact, there are more This book spoke directly to my soul, to the core of my being.If you’re on this site and reading this, you probably enjoy time alone to read, think and recharge your batteries. It’s not that you’re anti-social, you just prefer having meaningful conversations with one or two people rather than being stuck in a room with a loud group talking about... nothing. Susan Cain’s book will validate you and make you feel you’re not a freak. You don’t need “to come out of your shell.” In fact, there are more of us out there than you’d think. “Introverts” – even the word has negative connotations – make up somewhere between ⅓ and ½ of the population. Cain, who trained as a lawyer but discovered the corporate world wasn’t for her, provides a fascinating look at how current society champions the extrovert ideal. People who speak quickly and loudly (even if they’re not saying much) get praised and promoted. Team-work is encouraged, and there’s no “I” in team, now is there? But introverts, those quiet people who are trying to focus while people are blabbing all around them, have a lot to contribute. Yet they're often ignored.Early sections of the book are devoted to closely examining this extrovert ideal, in a hellishly hilarious Tony Robbins motivation seminar; in the running of a super church; and in studying how Dale Carnegie altered the social landscape with his gung-ho bible How To Win Friends And Influence People.Cain looks at the science of temperament, showing how differences are evident from childbirth – an extended bit about “high and low reactive people” is fascinating. She also shows that introverts might actually be physiologically more “thin-skinned” than extroverts, and how introversion and conscience are connected.Understanding personality types isn’t just theoretical. It has practical applications. Cain suggests how the extroverts in the business world may have caused the 2008 Wall Street crash. And her look at other cultures – Asia, for instance – demonstrates that the extrovert ideal isn’t a universal phenomenon. I found the sections on how introverts learn how to become “fake” extroverts absolutely mind-blowing. There are stories of wildly successful professors and even sales people you’d never classify as introverts but are. I understand this. I think any introvert living in this society has learned, by necessity, how to be more gregarious – through confident voice, posture, attitude – even though it’s not necessarily in his or her nature. I’ve delivered public talks, sat (and talked) on many panels, go to gala openings and for several years had to chat weekly on national TV, always extremely well-prepared (de rigueur for introverts)... but I never really felt or feel completely at ease in these environments. I have to decompress afterwards with close friends. Or go home and read a book.One of the most valuable lessons Cain teaches us is to follow our instincts, especially concerning work and love. To go against our natures could be fatal.Cain also offers up inspiring examples of introverts throughout history: from Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt to Steve Wozniak and Mahatma Gandhi. Each one is instructive and remarkable. The book gets bogged down near the end by illustrations of how introverts and extroverts can get along. And at times there’s a bit of over-compensating rah-rahing for the underdog. But it’s not introvert = good, extrovert = bad, and after all, most of us aren’t exclusively in one camp or the other. (Plus: is an extrovert really going to read something called Quiet?) This is a remarkable book, and essential reading for teachers, employers and parents. And for all of you thoughtful friends and readers on Goodreads.
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  • Matthias
    January 1, 1970
    Part I: Prelude to the reviewPart II: The review________________________________Part IPrelude: An introvert walks into a bookstoreI read a review on this book today and decided I had to buy it right away. I consider myself somewhat of an introvert, even though not everyone around me agrees on that, because you know, I talk to people and can be pleasant at the same time. Convincing people there's more to the introvert-extrovert distinction than that hasn't always proven easy.I was hoping this boo Part I: Prelude to the reviewPart II: The review________________________________Part IPrelude: An introvert walks into a bookstoreI read a review on this book today and decided I had to buy it right away. I consider myself somewhat of an introvert, even though not everyone around me agrees on that, because you know, I talk to people and can be pleasant at the same time. Convincing people there's more to the introvert-extrovert distinction than that hasn't always proven easy.I was hoping this book would prove my point, at the very least for me.I went to the Waterstones branch in Brussels, which is a ten minute walk from where I work. I had to be back in thirty minutes, giving me ten minutes at the store itself to look for the book. Yes, when I said "right away" earlier, I meant right away. Not half a day could wait.I go in the store and proceed up to the first floor to check out the non-fiction segments. I do not find the book. I put my head and neck in every possible angle, scanning the shelves from every possible perspective, to no avail. Surely, I must be looking in the wrong shelf. Maybe it's downstairs, because they have a table of bestselling non-fiction there as well, so maybe it's there. Yes! I make my way back down and I look and I find nothing. I've been in the store for at least 7 minutes now, so running out of options, I approach two people working for the store, rudely interrupting their conversation which I was trying to avoid intruding upon earlier.They inform me that the book should be there on the shelf, the one I had checked earlier. I pretend I didn't check it earlier and thank them for their kind and helpful information. I go back to the shelf with renewed confidence I would find it this time. Angles. Perspectives. Cold sweat. Alas. I return to the employees, sadly noting that my interruption seemingly meant the end to their conversation, and inquired again. The lady says it's a completely white cover (as opposed to the cover I was subconsciously looking for because of the example I had seen on Goodreads) and mentally kick myself when she escorts me to the shelf to point it out. But, to her consternation and to my relief, it isn't there. Did I check downstairs? I cautiously respond in the affirmative. She will check the computer, she's certain there are copies available. And... Computer says Yes! Victory! It's in the store, but probably still in the storage room. She asks me to wait while she goes to fetch it. I'm already running out of time (I had ran out of time four minutes prior, to be exact), but quietly thank her for her enthusiasm in helping me. She returns five minutes later, visibly having gone through physical efforts to help me out. The copy she hands me is damaged, dirty and it has a sticker on it which I know won't be removed without further damage. In short: the kind of book I avoid buying in all circumstances. I smile, I thank her, and buy the book. Now I'm here, late at work, and with a brand-new dirty damaged book beside me.Yes, this book is proving I'm introverted alright. Yay me. Or maybe I'm confusing lack of being assertive with introversion. Whatever the case, this book will teach. It has already begun doing so, in any case. ________________________________Part IIReview of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop TalkingWe're amazing and we know it and we don't clap our hands.Before I started reading this book, I was hoping it would do two things: 1. tell me what I wanted to hear 2. tell me what I needed to hear.It gets three stars because it told me what I wanted to hear. This book is the voice of those who are disinclined to use theirs: the introverts. It puts the introverts under a shower of compliments, in the kind of spotlight we're comfortable in: a generous ode that we can absorb from the comfort of our own cozy corner in our own cozy homes, telling us we have a value in this society.This may seem like a ridiculous reason to give stars to a book, but I think it's a good thing that someone gave attention to a group of people who are not used to, and not always comfortable with, getting so much positive feedback. I can imagine it being a helpful outstretched hand to those introverts who have felt misunderstood, out of place or underappreciated. A hand which shows that what they have been struggling with wasn't just inside their mind. It's a fact that society, being largely built on communication and intense interaction, can seem unfit for those who prefer the thinking-mode and absence of interaction most of the time. So on a personal level, this book definitely can have its value. I say "can" and am basing my rating on this potential, though for me personally it wasn't such an eye-opener. I think on some level I've always been very secure about my introversion, despite some practical problems as described in the prelude. In a way I find it funny to think about myself operating like that. I surprise myself in these moments, because before those moments I have this sensible and ideal scenario playing out in my mind and after those moments I'm this rational guy being perfectly capable of seeing how ridiculous I was. But that doesn't prevent me from being ridiculous in the moment.Another reason why this book didn't always work for me on the personal level is because it went too far with the compliments. Consider the following excerpt:"If you're an introvert, find your flow by using your gifts. You have the power of persistence, the tenacity to solve complex problems, and the clear-sightedness to avoid pitfalls that trip others up. You enjoy relative freedom from the temptations of superficial prizes like money and status. Indeed, your biggest challenge may be to fully harness your strenghts. You may be so busy trying to appear like a zestful, reward-sensitive extrovert that you undervalue your own talents, or feel underestimated by those around you. But when you're focused on a project that you care about, you'll probably find that your energy is boundless.So stay true to your own nature."At that point I had a little introverted vomit.It's not an all-together bad book, but segments like these really bring it down for me. Segments like the above read like a cheap horoscope-zodiac segment at the end of some teenage magazine. There's only so much of the "what I want to hear" that I can take before I start wondering if there's any truth to it.On a societal level, I don't think this book is as important as it has been made out to be. Introverts indeed consist of a big part of society and thus have helped form it. I'm of the belief that society can't progress by itself. Nothing can be "expected" from society. Society shouldn't cater to any particular group, it's the particular groups that have to find or fight for their place and evolve themselves, in turn engendering progress in society. I think introverts have done a very fine job of this before this book came around, and some anecdotes in this book are proof of that. Introverts have thrived in our world, and will continue to do so. Should education systems be reformed to cater to us? Should work environments do the same? I'm not convinced. Proposals like that make the introvert look like an easily damaged little flower, crushed under the weight of these rigid systems, while I think it's exactly these rigid systems that allow introverts to identify themselves as such. So if the point of this book was patting the introvert on the shoulder to say "You're amazing", it does that well. But to go from there to "You need a society that takes better care of you" is a leap I had difficulties in going along with.There are some practical pointers for introverts, showing how, when or if we should change our behavior to function well in society or, more importantly, in personal relationships with friends, family and partners. The "need to hear"-portion of the book, so to speak. I think most of the solutions offered have been found instinctively by introverts around the world, but I found it nice to hear there's actually a word for "restorative niches". Remembering my long bathroom brakes when I worked in an open office space has become a little less awkward. Getting more familiar with these concepts definitely makes it a lot easier to give this further thought and find ways forward in my sphere of relations. An important problem I have with the book is its premise: "the introvert/extrovert divide is the most fundamental dimension of personality".Susan Cain makes it sound like a truism. Maybe it is true, yes. But I have to say "maybe" because I don't feel a premise this crucial has been sufficiently backed up.The author tries to do so, referring to experiments and studies where 28% of a group consisting of people possessing an amygdala that is 11% larger than average were 62% more inclined to respond in such and such a way to such and such incentives. The academic back-up felt like a whole lot of cherrypicking. But all those cherries put together did give the impression that they're the only fruit available, giving the idea that the extrovert/introvert divide is indeed inescapable.This leads me to anoher problem: the divide between introverts and extroverts created by the narration itself. It's true, the author sometimes goes out of her way to compliment extroverts as well, mentioning some of their strengths, but that's just the thing: she has to go out of her way to do it. It shows all the more clearly that the natural discourse, through offhand claims and implicit associations, presents the extroverts as ... "the others". And if you picture them as the others, naturally all compliments given to introverts can be read as affronts to the extroverts. I can easily imagine some of the examples and assertions leaving a sour taste of any extrovert's mouth reading this book. (at least when these mouths aren't too busy blabbering about the weather ;-) )Should I hold all this against this book specifically? Truth is I have a problem with most non-fiction books (especially self-help) for this reason: they are written to make a point. A very specific point that they keep getting back to, ad nauseam. The more you hit a nail on the head, the less there's left to see of its point. At least for me. Chesterton says it a lot better:“People wonder why the novel is the most popular form of literature; people wonder why it is read more than books of science or books of metaphysics. The reason is very simple; it is merely that the novel is more true than they are.”― G.K. ChestertonI felt this was true in this case as well. I showed "Quiet" more patience because the topic is something I really care about and gave a lot of thought to, but in the end it's Chesterton's way of thinking that prevailed in my experience of this book.That said, the three stars are definitely deserved for all the good this book has done for the introverts, in recognizing that other introverts are going through the same thing and in valueing themselves. I just wished it would have described a little less of what we wanted to hear, and would have done much more of what we needed to hear. But maybe we don't "need" to hear all that much, anyway. We're amazing and we know it and we don't clap our hands.
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  • carol.
    January 1, 1970
    Shhh, I'm taking some quiet time.Kidding! I'll be honest. I avoided this book the first time it appeared, when the buzz had it popping up all over. But my introversion has been more than a bit disrespected lately and I was feeling a need for some affirmation. Alas, I'm not sure I found much helpful here.Part One is 'The Extrovert Ideal,' and looks at how the change from the 18th century ideal of personality to 20th century cult of personality emphasized extroversion as a valuable workplace trait Shhh, I'm taking some quiet time.Kidding! I'll be honest. I avoided this book the first time it appeared, when the buzz had it popping up all over. But my introversion has been more than a bit disrespected lately and I was feeling a need for some affirmation. Alas, I'm not sure I found much helpful here.Part One is 'The Extrovert Ideal,' and looks at how the change from the 18th century ideal of personality to 20th century cult of personality emphasized extroversion as a valuable workplace trait. I liked the concept of the two, as the cultural evolution from one to the other makes a great deal of sense, but I'm not sure how accurate that may be. I feel like Americans--and perhaps everyone--has always been responsive to extroverted, charismatic people. Actually, that highlights an error in Cain's thinking, that she frequently conflates traits. To give her credit, she admits from the beginning that there is no uniform definition of 'introversion.' At page 11, she finally defines her terms, but she unfortunately tends to define them in terms of examples:"Still, today's psychologist tend to agree on several important points: for example, that introverts and extroverts differ in the level of outside stimulation that they need to function well. 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.... Many psychologists would also agree that introverts and extroverts work differently. Extroverts tend to tackle assignments quickly. They make fast (sometimes rash) decisions, and are comfortable multitasking and risk-taking... Introverts often work more slowly and deliberately. They like to focus on one task at a time and can have mighty powers of concentration. They're relatively immune to the lures of wealth and fame."It's some slippery stuff, because she ends up conflating a number of characteristics, and that's where it can get really fuzzy. This lack of specificity also means relying on anecdotes of how introversion is a helpful trait. Later in the book, she does bring in studies about 'reactivity,' a genetic-based trait that she prefers to call, 'sensitivity.' I've seen the term before, in The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, and a lot of it comes from research on reactiveness/responsiveness to stimulation and how that is then interpreted. To be sure, it's interesting stuff, but it doesn't necessarily apply to all introverts, as she points out, "about 70% of sensitive people are [introverts]" (page 145). After backtracking to explain the evolutionary basis for selection of sensitivity, she then attempts to tie sensitivity and conscientiousness together. It's a thin, tenuous line to get from introverted to evolutionary sensitivity to conscientiousness and then imply that that's the kind of person you want in your company. As singular issues, each of these is well-presented. She usually cites one researcher and gives an example of a famous person who changed the world with this trait (Eleanor Roosevelt represented the introverted, sensitive and conscientious person). But it feels like both sloppy logic and false aggrandizement. As an introvert, I no more want to be 'special' for these qualities that presumably go with my genetic and personality tendencies than I want to be disrespected.For no particularly good reason, except the fact that it described me better than I've ever been described before, I'm actually a fan of the Jungian-based personality assessment. I think I particularly responded to the Jungian analysis because rather than the two-axis basis, there's other traits that also affect how we interact with the world. I actually think there's quite a continuum between introversion and extroversion, and that these tendencies can be modified by learning, as Cain rightly points out in Section Two.So, about Quiet. I don't think it really added anything to my understanding on introversion and extroversion. In fact, I think it fell into a more extroverted (as she would say) analysis of having to prove the worth of the trait and using famous figures to support her examples only added to that perception. Quiet didn't give me the acknowledgement I was looking for, really, just a lot of cheerleading that I'm (still) a good person for being an introvert. Hopefully, for those new to discovering their introversion, this might encourage them to both understand and respect their approach. Just don't look for many tips.Read this book if:1) You suspect/know you are an introvert but feel badly about it2) You are an extrovert who doesn't get why introverts don't just get out more.For a more rigorous analysis, check out Kelly's review:https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
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  • Madeleine
    January 1, 1970
    Like the friend whose brutal honesty is never immediately welcome but reveals its necessary truths the more you bitterly and obsessively try to prove her wrong (in your head, of course, always in your head because no one else understands, damnit), this book made me confront things about myself that I always kind of knew but glossed over with conciliatory explanations. I am, according to the battery of Myers-Briggs tests that Dr. Internet has administered to me (and that offer the same result no Like the friend whose brutal honesty is never immediately welcome but reveals its necessary truths the more you bitterly and obsessively try to prove her wrong (in your head, of course, always in your head because no one else understands, damnit), this book made me confront things about myself that I always kind of knew but glossed over with conciliatory explanations. I am, according to the battery of Myers-Briggs tests that Dr. Internet has administered to me (and that offer the same result no matter how cleverly I think I've outsmarted the aforementioned countless variations of personality assessments), of the INFP persuasion, just like Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath were presumed to be, along with many other notable people who haven't killed themselves (like Tim Burton, Billy Shakes and Albert Camus). All sources stress that it's one of the rarer personality types, which at least begins to explain why I feel so interminably weird compared to other people all the time. But I think my introversion also comes with a tinge of self-loathing, for as much as I dislike the idea of being around crowds of people to the extent that I always took those commercials advertising a pill to treat social anxiety as a personal attack on my personality, my stuttering, socially awkward self who identifies with the fictional characters and real ideas populating book after book better than the world beyond my front door is also maddeningly, desperately eager to be the center of attention. Not that I always know what to do with that attention once I get it, as it's fun for about five minutes before the urge to dive for solitary cover re-assumes control. And I think I tend to resent well-adjusted introverts a little for their totally-alien-to-me experience of being comfortable in their own skins.Which brings us to my biggest problem with this book: The author was entirely too present in this study on introverts. I know, I know: My reviews have gotten to be so totally about me that I feel like a hypocritical dick lobbing such a complaint at this presumably well-meaning book. When I read This is Your Brain on Music, I got so pissed off at the reviewers who complained similarly about how Levitin frequently drew on his own experiences because, c'mon, personal experience counts for something while lending a sense of credibility to the research conducted and the conclusions made: The difference, I think, is that Levitin used himself to bring a high-minded concept down to understandable terms for those of us lacking scientific minds whereas Cain sometimes seemed like she just wanted to talk about herself. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but that would have made a better blog than a book. By falling back on her own brand of introversion, it felt like she was both negating the argument that the personality type expresses itself in an inexhaustibly many ways and also even alienating other expressions of introversion to a degree.Actually, I wasn't always crazy about the kind of people Cain used as examples of introverts who were able to overcome their crippling shyness or need to be alone (because shyness isn't always an introvert-specific trait, as this book did teach me) to function -- nay, thrive -- in the vast, sometimes overwhelming world beyond their rich inner landscapes. I mean, for a book subtitled "The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking," it would make sense to use Harvard Business School students, Ivy League professors, academic whiz kids on the cusp of high school and everything after, neuroscientists and Wall Street investors (to name a few) to illustrate the victories that can arise from harnessing one's naturally unassuming, slow-to-action instincts and applying them to real-world scenarios. And that was reassuring and motivating and helpful, sure, but what would have been a little more helpful is seeing how an everyday introvert with a quiet job and a simple existence confronts life's obstacles when confrontation does not come easy. (And, yes, there is a whole section on the ordinary workplace and how open floor plans and the elimination of boundaries and this emphasis on group work and collective brainstorming that are all so in vogue really aren't all that conducive to brilliance and happiness and cohesion and all that. But that was more of an academically detached observation than a personal reality.)I really didn't hate this book. Really. I didn't love it but it did force some personal insight on me that I've probably been needing to hear. Like how facing down one's own unique hell, like public speaking (which, hi, have I mentioned that I stutter?), isn't, like, fatal and is worth overcoming. And that just because the Western ideal favors extroverted characteristics doesn't mean it's better -- and that, in fact, a lot of how I approach the world (I'd rather not talk unless I have something worthwhile to say; I don't want to assert myself at the risk of disrespecting the greater whole) is mirrored in the traditionally Eastern approach. That the person speaking the most or first or loudest is rarely offering the best ideas, as a facade of overconfidence often hides an array of interior doubts. That knowing to pick one's battles and proceeding with a quiet assurance is a strength in its own right. The penultimate chapter was nothing but an exploration of how extro- and introverts complement each other and how the two seemingly at-odds personality types can look inward to identify their outwardly differing approaches to the world. As most people are not like me, it did offer some perspective shifts that I found to be genuinely helpful wisdom in terms of how my perception of myself and others doesn't always align with what they either see or know to be true. For one glorious moment, it even seemed like Cain was talking directly to me in addressing the way that the real-life introverted wife of an extroverted man tended to emotionally distance herself from an argument, as she thought she was keeping herself in check while he thought she was shutting him out, which is a difference in interpretation that never even crossed my conflicted mind. I had perused the table of contents before reading even a word of this book and actually groaned when I saw that the final chapter explores "how to cultivate quiet kids in a world that can't hear them," which I figured would read like a laundry list of all the ways my parents failed me. And, I mean, it did, of course, but after recovering from bursting into tears almost immediately at the beginning of the chapter (because, man, was it ever hitting too close to home), I realized that it was only ostensibly advice for nurturing introverted children so they can happily grow into their places in an ill-fitting world: It was really, truly a comforting pat on the back that reached into the past to assure my inner child (the part of it that isn't a perverted little teenage boy, anyway) that she was never as alone and misunderstood as she felt. And if this book had more of those moments, I might have actually wound up loving it.
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  • Sean Gibson
    January 1, 1970
    The only thing less surprising than the fact that a book that extols the virtues of nerds who read books has generally favorable reviews on a site populated with nerds who read books (myself included) is that broccoli tastes as bad as it smells.While it’s certainly possible to cherry pick data and case studies in a way to support virtually any contention (give me an internet connection and a couple of hours and I could put together a pretty solid case, backed up by compelling proof, that the Ill The only thing less surprising than the fact that a book that extols the virtues of nerds who read books has generally favorable reviews on a site populated with nerds who read books (myself included) is that broccoli tastes as bad as it smells.While it’s certainly possible to cherry pick data and case studies in a way to support virtually any contention (give me an internet connection and a couple of hours and I could put together a pretty solid case, backed up by compelling proof, that the Illuminati embedded subliminal messages in the Gummi Bears theme song in order to make left-handed men over the age of 60 spank themselves anytime someone called them Sally), Cain makes a cogent argument that the Western world’s prioritization of what we generally perceive as extroverted tendencies has not only disadvantaged a large segment of the population (perhaps as much as half), but that we can, with some relatively easy adjustments, not only make life easier for those people, but enable them to contribute to society in an even more meaningful and powerful way. I don’t live squarely on the introverted side of the spectrum, but I’m certainly much closer to that end than the other, and many of Cain’s points—particularly about the stress and strain of operating in a workplace that doesn’t often allow sufficient time for deep thinking or solo reflection—hit home. I felt her points even more acutely, however, as the parent of a burgeoning introvert, and Cain offers up a number of helpful suggestions for helping young children adjust, adapt, and thrive in environments such as school and team sports that seem tailor-made for extroverts. I wish all CEOs and business leaders, people who design office layouts, educators, coaches, parents, and broccoli sniffers would read this book. Even if Cain occasionally goes a little too far in extolling the virtues of introversion, her logic is sound, and she persuasively makes the case for rethinking how we go about work, education, creative activity, socializing, and life in general. (Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go stuff some padding into my underwear so that when someone calls me Sally in 20 years and 9 days, I don’t bruise my tender, bubble-shaped junk compartment.)
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  • Suzanne
    January 1, 1970
    “Introversion – along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness and shyness – is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Introverts living under the Extrovert ideal are like women in a man’s world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are.” I came across the author of this outstanding book when we studied for our Library studies last year. We were to present on the topic “What are you passionate about”, and my friend p “Introversion – along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness and shyness – is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Introverts living under the Extrovert ideal are like women in a man’s world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are.” I came across the author of this outstanding book when we studied for our Library studies last year. We were to present on the topic “What are you passionate about”, and my friend presented on this topic by firstly going to the author's Ted Talk. This talk is in a nutshell an excellent summary of this book. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0KYU... I recommend this as ‘required watching’ before delving into this book, which is serious and requires vast concentration to take away with you the gamut of information that took the author five years to research and present to us.Essentially, Susan Cain worked successfully in what would be an extremely extrovert profession for ten years, before realising this is not the fight she need not be fighting. Imagine being a Wall Street lawyer! Susan states, in a quote I love in relation to reflecting on the lives of her friends and classmates who she envied (in her own quiet way I imagine). “My college classmates who’d grown up to be writers or psychologists. Today I’m pursuing my own version of both those roles.” I’d say she has found her perfect mix. This book is full of information from many professionals and psychologists leading in their field of expertise. I can wholeheartedly understand this book taking five years of research and writing. On introverts as leaders “Because of their inclination to listen to others and lack of interest in domineering social situations, introverts are more likely to hear and implement suggestions… Extroverts, on the other hand, can be so intent on putting their own stamp on events that they risk losing others’ good ideas along the way...” A fascinating concept is that of high reactivity and low reactivity, beginning at birth. Amygdala is the scientific term. Babies that react wildly from early days of life with dilated eyes, higher cortisol levels (stress hormone), flailing arms and legs etc, shows that they are more likely to ‘feel’ to new stimuli. From visiting a fun park to the first day of school, experiencing the ocean for the first time, of course the list could go on and on. Loud noises, a large group environment. There is a reason for reacting to these situations! The research is not this simple, but this is my take home layman’s explanation. It explains “sensitivity to novelty in general, not just to people.” Studies have gone into such depth that high reactivity and sensitivity has been related to such specifics as blue eyes, allergies and hay fever. Very interesting! Food for thought for this reader. It could be said that I am proof of this. This would be relatable to many: “Her favorite part of the day was the quiet ten minutes when she walked to the bus along the tree-lined streets of her neighborhood.“ This is so important to many people. I will put my hand up for my children’s sports drop off straight after work to get the return journey to drive home solo to have 20 minutes of my audio book, aka peace. It is fascinating that this book has taught me so much about myself. The down side of this is the intense self observance I have been carrying out while reading the book. I guess it’s a good thing but I am tired! I have not stopped observing myself and others. I tear up when I see kindness, listen to an emotional speech, when someone says something particularly nice, hear sad news, or just witness sincere acts or words. I’m not simply ‘soft’. I am fascinated by all of this. “...about sensitive people is that sometimes they’re highly empathetic. It’s as if they have thinner boundaries separating them from other people’s emotions and the tragedies and cruelties of the world.” It is also a common trait to be ultra observant of others thoughts, feelings and actions.This book has validated certain behaviours of mine. I won't go into details but I am understanding intricacies of my behaviours. Avoidances, not wanting to engage in social media.. nor wanting to be out there like so many others do. I cannot stand the Facebook gloating, the pushing of the 'perfect life' stuff. I really do think so many people do not understand this side of things, but I dare say those will not read this book. American culture is drilled into deeply here, this is not the interesting issue for me personally, but I can see this is an excellent cultural acknowledgment or opinion of the American way of life. Obviously written from an introvert’s prospective, but this is not too uneven. Extroverts would not feel unheard reading this book, either. This book would appeal greatly to those who feel they are quiet reflectives or those who live with and/or parent children with sensitive and high reactive children. Softly spoken ideas are offered to be taken on board if desired. Do we need to vigorously brainstorm and discuss at all times? Or would those who are more quiet be missed out on all together? This has its downside as ideas may be unheard, or lost all together. Also at the younger side of the spectrum, cluster our youngsters in groups together in the classroom, and some of our young people will not cope with this and the assumed way of learning for all will not suit all. Hopefully teachers all around the world can draw these children out and allow them to contribute in their own way. Much in the same way as open planned offices may not be conducive to all adults, either. A lot to ponder on. This really is a great book, one the author I hope would be proud of.
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  • Nenia ⭐ Literary Garbage Can ⭐ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestQuestion: How do you know if someone is an introvert?Answer: They're going to fucking tell you.Right now, it's very popular to be an introvert. There are various introvert webcomics, TED talks about why introversion is so great, and numerous people who will tell you that they are an introvert and subject you to discussion and analysis of what this means with the same enthusiasm of someone who reads horoscopes. People confess to introversion Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestQuestion: How do you know if someone is an introvert?Answer: They're going to fucking tell you.Right now, it's very popular to be an introvert. There are various introvert webcomics, TED talks about why introversion is so great, and numerous people who will tell you that they are an introvert and subject you to discussion and analysis of what this means with the same enthusiasm of someone who reads horoscopes. People confess to introversion with the same kind of humble bragginess as self-obsessed artists who roll their eyes when you compliment their art and say it was "just a sketch."It's true that being quiet or shy (note: these are not the same thing) used to be considered a bad thing. I grew up at the height of "party culture," when all things club or frat were popular. Jersey Shore was on TV, skirts were short, hair was frosted, and everything was superficial and light. If you couldn't fizz and glitter like a sparkler in everyday conversation, you were weird and everyone hated you. I was weird, and people were not fans of me. I wore all black, read Anne Rice, and listened to Evanescence and The Cure while pondering why all of my classmates were idiots. My scorn probably didn't help, but there was absolutely no way at the time I could have fit it, or been happy doing so.Skimming through the reviews, I noticed I was one of the few self-professed introverts who despised this book. I thought that was interesting, but it's not completely unforeseen. I actually self-describe as a "social introvert" or "false extrovert." People who meet me for the first time think I'm very extroverted. I can be very loud and chatty, and organize a lot of social events in my office or with friends. But I'm also very uncomfortable in certain social situations and as much as I enjoy being out, I'm sometimes secretly delighted when plans are canceled and enjoy spending time by myself.It's been a while since my psychology days, but there is a chemical basis for introversion and extroversion. One of these lies in the sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous systems. People who are introverted have a lower threshold for being overstimulated, and when they reach that threshold, feel drained and must rest. People who are extroverted, on the other hand, have a lower threshold and need to seek out stimulation in order to get the bar up. If they don't get stimulation, they feel sluggish and depressed. I thought the neurotransmitter in question was dopamine, but a quick Google makes it look like the neurotransmitter in question is actually acetylcholine. #TILI have taken issue with a lot of these pop psychology books. I wasn't a fan of THE SBUTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F*CK, which seemed like the self-help version of snake oil, and recently also read SNAKES IN SUITS, which was like a Lifetime movie wearing science like it was a pretty dress. This one had a bit more science, but Susan Cain definitely spent way too much time cherry picking her arguments and the end result was me having a bad taste in my mouth and wanting to roll my eyes.I guess I have a few take-away points here. 1. Introverts and extroverts serve different functions in society. Neither is an intrinsically good or bad trait, and they are not binary. Like many human characteristics, these exist on a spectrum.2. We live in a social society, and acting antisocial to coddle your introversion makes you look, well, antisocial (confrontational, against society) instead of asocial, which is just wanting to be left alone.3. It's probably true that a lot of introverts were responsible for inventions because they spent a lot of time alone, but this is not the only type of genius or the only form genius takes. As I said in point #1, humans exist on a spectrum, and there are many different shapes of brilliant minds out there.4. People enjoy belonging to groups. That's why horoscopes are so popular, and why people post their Meyers-Briggs results on their dating websites. We live in an in-group vs. outgroup society - yes, you too, introverts, jeez - and enjoy feeling as though we belong. Introverts like calling themselves introverts because it makes them feel a bond with other introverts (seriously, just read the comments sections of any of the positive reviews for this book), which promotes bursts of probably dopamine.5. The author seems to be claiming that extroverts have the natural advantage and are mean to introverts but then spends a big part of the book shitting all over them. Hypocrite. At the end of the day, you should take books like these with a grain of salt. They're definitely more self-help geared than scientific, in my opinion,and a lot of the arguments and conclusions feel cherry-picked. Introverts may enjoy reading it while vigorously patting themselves on the back, but we as a society are moving in a direction where this is starting to feel kind of redundant and narcissistic.1 star
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  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    A must read for everyone, not just introverts. Susan Cain, former Wall Street lawyer and self-described introvert, investigates how introversion has become dangerously scorned in the current American "Culture of Personality." I had not fully realized how drastically our cultural values have shifted--and how much American society pushes us to conform--until reading Cain's book. To prove her point, Cain visits American bastions of extroversion promotion, including Harvard Business School, Saddleba A must read for everyone, not just introverts. Susan Cain, former Wall Street lawyer and self-described introvert, investigates how introversion has become dangerously scorned in the current American "Culture of Personality." I had not fully realized how drastically our cultural values have shifted--and how much American society pushes us to conform--until reading Cain's book. To prove her point, Cain visits American bastions of extroversion promotion, including Harvard Business School, Saddleback Church, Dale Carnegie, Wall Street, and Tony Robbins conferences. She talks with pioneering psychologists and neurologists to explain the studies behind concepts like the dangers of group think, the ability to delay gratification, or the trait called sensitivity. She profiles famous and less-well known introverts to show how the studies play out in real life.Though the many of the activities I'm drawn to (and the things that cause anxiety) scream classic introvert, I have always considered myself an extrovert and frequently put myself in situations where extroverted behavior is valued. However, since quitting my job and globe-hopping for the past two years, I've been surprised (and disappointed) by how often the constant stimulation, new people, and change can drain me--and by how I often feel an overwhelming need for alone time.I found myself relating to many of the points Cain discusses and have since concluded that I'm much more of an introvert than I had thought. (I promise that this isn't just because she does a good job of highlighting all the positive things about introverts!)So for that, I am grateful to have read Quiet, though I can't quite believe it took reading a book to figure that out about myself! I am seeing my preferences in a new light and have much understanding and acceptance regarding the things that interest me (and those that cause me stress). I've been having trouble narrowing down 'what I want to do with my life' and this book has helped me more than any other, because I finally feel like I can accept that the things I really enjoy are just a part of me and can't be ignored.Though the personal application will differ, I suspect many people will come away having learned much more than they expected, if not about themselves, then about people close to them. I had always thought of extroverts and introverts as being on distinct sides of a line, when in fact it's much more of a sliding scale (or perhaps better as two scales: percentage introversion, percentage extroversion). Because we have been culturally pressured and trained to admire extroverted behavior, many of us may be dangerously ignoring our introverted characteristics.This was a game-changing book for me, and I suspect it will be eye-opening to most people who read it.
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  • Mariah Roze
    January 1, 1970
    This is a good book! I read it for my hometown book club. I was really excited to read it, because I knew this book was very popular. Also, I love nonfiction. I love the ability to learn from a book.I believe I learned from this book. It was interesting to hear why my best friend, who is one of the biggest introverts ever fits perfectly with me (I'm a huge extravert). Also, it was interesting to hear what you can do to help someone with stage fright preform at their best.However, I felt the book This is a good book! I read it for my hometown book club. I was really excited to read it, because I knew this book was very popular. Also, I love nonfiction. I love the ability to learn from a book.I believe I learned from this book. It was interesting to hear why my best friend, who is one of the biggest introverts ever fits perfectly with me (I'm a huge extravert). Also, it was interesting to hear what you can do to help someone with stage fright preform at their best.However, I felt the book repeated itself. Many times I wondered what new information could possibly be discussed, and a lot of times there wasn't really any new information. It just talked about the same material in a circle from a different angle.A lot of the time I felt like this book was written so introverts could feel validated for being an introvert and that they weren't anti-social. They just need socialization in a completely different way than extroverts.
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  • Iris P
    January 1, 1970
    It's perhaps not a surprise that Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking identifies herself as an introvert. Being quiet, introverted or shy is still seen by many as a problem or handicap to overcome so I can see her motivation for writing it.One this book's premises is that in the last 50 years or so, the Western world moved from a culture of character to a culture of personality, which according to the author has given an advantage to people It's perhaps not a surprise that Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking identifies herself as an introvert. Being quiet, introverted or shy is still seen by many as a problem or handicap to overcome so I can see her motivation for writing it.One this book's premises is that in the last 50 years or so, the Western world moved from a culture of character to a culture of personality, which according to the author has given an advantage to people that enjoyed outgoing, uninhibited personalities. We tend to admire and reward people that exhibit the most gregarious, outgoing traits of extroverts while at the same time undermined and misunderstand those that are most typically seen in more introverted individuals. Introversion is really about having a preference for lower stimulation environments. So it's just a preference for quiet, for less noise, for less action. Whereas extroverts really crave more stimulation in order to feel at their best. The author explains that Introversion is a spectrum, and that most of us don't fully fit into an introvert/extrovert definition. It also provides a sort of "survival guide" for introverts to help us learn how to better deal with the pressures of living in a world that for the most part rewards those that are extroverts. Many people believe that introversion is about being antisocial, and that's really a misperception. Because actually it's just that introverts are differently social. So they would prefer to have a glass of wine with a close friend as opposed to going to a loud party full of strangers. This book helped me understand myself better, identify those traits that makes many of us "introverts" different and learn how to use them to our advantage, both on our professional and personal lives. The book is entertaining and well written. If you are interested in learning about introverts, perhaps because you feel like one or someone closed to you does, this book might be of interest to you.After reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking my conclusion is that the world needs both extroverts and introverts and that we all have a role to play.Here's a link to the author's TED TALK which is sort a summarized version of the book:http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_t...
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