Monday, April 2, 2012

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking; Susan Cain


Author:  Susan Cain
Publication Year: 2011
Publisher: Crown
Edition: eBook and audio
Reader: Kathe Mazur (very good)
Source: Library and NetGalley
Date Completed: 3/30/2012
Rating: 5/5
Recommend: yes


Did you know that nearly one out of every two to three adults in the US are introverts?  If not, it's probably because some introverts hide it well, and  have learned to act like extroverts depending on their career choices and situational obligations. This fact, along with so much other fascinating evidence on the subject  of introversion is discussed in detail in, Susan Cain's book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.
 
The author, a self-proclaimed "introvert", gives the reader much food for thought on the subject of introversion, while discussing the value western society has placed on extroversion. Even today,  bold, out-going individuals, and even young children still in school, are more highly valued. It is the extroverts and are seen as future super-stars, better leaders and better motivators. In contrast, in Asian cultures, it is quiet, humility and sensitivity which is prized. Cain's book points out that much can be learned by listening to quiet,  sensitive  individuals . Cain gives introverts career advice on how to adapt in a business environment that is often centered around meetings, presentations, team building and other group projects, which introverts tend to find mentally draining.  She explains how both introverts and extroverts can contribute to the same organizational goals, even though their preferred styles of achieving will be very different. 
 
Particularly fascinating were the research studies conducted by developmental psychologist Jerome Kagan. In 1989, Kagan, and associates began a study of 500, four-month old infants at his Harvard Child Development Lab. Studies showed that some of the young infants, studied were considered "highly reactive", especially to certain types of noise.  Following these same children, at different ages, and while performing other studies using word games, taste tests and other measures throughout young adulthood, Kagan found that most of the infants who were "highly reactive" as infants, turned out to be introverts as adults.  He was clear to point out, however, that introversion and shyness and not necessarily linked.
 
I found the subject matter of Quiet, and the way in which the author presented it to be utterly fascinating.  The book was definitely more focused on the subject of introversion, and how many people still view introverts as second class citizens instead of acknowledging their successes.  She mentions the contributions that have been made many introverts:  Bill Gates, Al Gore, Rosa Parks, Steve Wozniak, Eleanor Roosevelt, Stephen Spielberg, and author, JK Rowling to name a few. There was so much in this book to be learned by both introverts and extroverts, especially in terms of working together toward a common goal. Introverts just need to work a bit harder to find the right job for their personality.
 
I saw so much of myself in what the author reported. Preferring solitary activities even as a child, never having more than one best friend at a time, not enjoying crowds or loud music or noise, and recharging by seeking quiet after attending an over stimulating event.
 
Are you are interested in learning a bit more about yourself, a spouse, a child, a co-worker, or a good friend, and what makes each of us tick? You are sure to have a better understanding of the people you interact with every day after reading this book. Highly Recommended

36 comments:

  1. This does sound fascinating. If all the world were extroverted it would be an overwhelming world, wouldn't it?

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  2. I've been wanting to read this, and I'm glad you found it worthwhile.

    Many years ago I went to corporate seminar on inter-office communications and heard what I consider the best definition of extrovert/introvert: extroverts get their energy from other people, and introverts get their energy from being by themselves.

    The same seminar, however, disseminated the info that extroverts outnumbered introverts by a wide margin, which it sounds like this book refutes.

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    1. That seminar statement says it all. I think the gap has narrowed, at least that is what Cain leads us to believe.

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  3. I LOVE this book! I'm almost done with it on audio...and have truly enjoyed the experience. I only scanned your review this time cause but will come back and read it more thoroughly after I finish writing my review. Just wanted to chime in and proudly say I'm an introvert...along with a good many famous people - including you!

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    1. Stacy, here here to all of us introverts. Cain did an amazing job on the subject. Can't wait to read your thoughts.

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  4. Can't wait to read this book! I'm slowly moving up the library hold list...

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    1. I'm sure you'll enjoy it. The audio is very good JoAnn.

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  5. Stacy, yay...for us. Honestly, I don't feel like it carries the stigma it once did.

    Working in a library now with (16) other staff, I can honestly say, there are only (3) extroverts on board. I think libraries are a good place for introverts, along with fields like: accounting, research, pharmacists etc. Working (20) years as a HR professional, I always felt I was having an "out of body experience". Most days were so draining. I was happy when I changed jobs even though I took a huge pay cut. It was worth it.

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  6. I've seen this book around, hummed and hawed about it, but haven't yet committed. After having read this, I think I'll pick it up the next time I'm near a bookstore. As with most readers, I get the idea that I would identify with this book.

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    1. It's worth a shot Ryan....think you might enjoy it.

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  7. I read (and reviewed) The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney a couple of years ago and found it eye-opening. (She, however, claims that introverts are only 25% of the general population.) This one sounds like a must-read too!

    By the way, did you see Susan Cain's TedTalk? That's what originally made me want to read her book.

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    1. I read Introvert Advantage as well years ago. But since it was published 10 years ago, I'm sure stats have changed. I did not see Cain on TedTalk, but did read another interview she did and thought it was very engaging.

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  8. I downloaded this to my Kindle and CAN'T WAIT to read it! Really looking forward to it :)

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  9. I just downloaded this to my Kindle and CAN'T WAIT to read it! Really looking forward to it. It really does seem like introversion is not valued. Seen as "poor shy people who need to come out of our shells" too often. Introvert does not = shy. I'm definitely an introvert, but absolutely not shy :)

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    1. I was a shy child, but not a shy adult, and introvert through and through.

      My husband says I'm not an introvert, because I can be very sociable, but I've learned to adapt to situations. That being said, I always prefer the quiet solitude of time alone and time to reflect.

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  10. I definitely want to read this book! I think the biggest way I noticed introversion in myself through my childhood was that, without fail, about three hours into a slumber party I needed to go off by myself for about 15 to 20 minutes to recharge (usually I would just pretend to fall asleep - one time on a bench at a bbq). As a stay-at-home mom I don't end up in situations like that often anymore, but at family parties, etc. I will usually find one or two other family introverts sitting on the back porch or something, enjoying the scenery but really escaping the noise and chatter too.

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    1. That's funny Alyce...see you learned to adapt to situations even at an early age. I'd be on the porch with your quiet relatives. I'm always asking my husband to turn the tv down, as even that noise is annoying at times....LOL (he's an extrovert, but because he is older than me, we like the same quiet activities for the most part.

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  11. I think this sounds like a fascinating book to read. I'd keep reading. My intro is from "Ophelia" by Lisa Klien. kaye—the road goes ever ever on

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  12. I have this on audio, and it's something that my husband and I are both planning on listening to together. Though I am pretty good in social situations, I would definitely describe myself as an introvert. I like to be quiet and solitary most of the time, and hate crowds. I can't wait to listen to this one and see what I think

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    1. Me too, I can be sociable, but prefer solitude or one on one activities. I was s shy kids, but not anymore.

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  13. I keep seeing this one popping up on blogs and I've yet to see a negative review of it. As an introvert myself, I think I would get a lot out of reading it.

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    1. It gives you a lot of insight into others as well.

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  14. I loved this book. One of those books that you could read multiple times and get something different from each reading.

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  15. I loved this book. Well written and informative. If you're interested, my thoughts are here.

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  16. I enjoyed this quite a lot too. It was refreshing in a way to not be told how to act like and introvert and that I should.

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  17. This book sounds fascinating!

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  18. Ooohh…I will have to check this out. I'm definitely an introvert -- the description you gave fits me exactly.

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  19. Very interesting! I’m especially curious to know more about leadership and introversion. Do introvert want leadership or do they look for personal/professional fulfillment in other ways? I’m wondering because most of us associate (good) leadership with charisma and a knack for effortless networking.

    I guess I would call myself an extroverted. I’m the one who usually gets the conversation going among groups of strangers at parties. It’s hard-work and extremely energy-consuming (especially during work functions). During those occasions, when the crowed is particularly though, I can’t help but envy the introverts, who “hang back, listen, and observe” (and usually don’t make my job any easier :P). My boyfriend thinks I’m strange because I always take on the responsibility to be the social-smoother and he’s right, there is something strangely compulsive about it.

    Anywhoo, all this to say that I’ve always been curious about these social interactions, so this book seems just the thing. Thanks for flagging.

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  20. This book sounds great! And sounds like it describes me too. :)

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  21. I haven't yet read this book cover-to-cover, but have dipped into it in several places - fascinating stuff! I'm convinced that I'm a closet introvert, only pretending to be an extrovert.

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  22. I wonder what the percentage of book bloggers are introverts. Reading is such a quiet and reflective activity it would probably be high. I find I'm a fairly even split. When I'm out I'm outgoing, but I need lots of down time too.

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