New York : Crown Pub., c2012.
x, 333 p. ; 25 cm.
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who invent and create but prefer not to pitch their own ideas; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts we owe many of the great contributions to society--from Van Gogh's sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer. Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with the indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Susan Cain charts the rise of "the extrovert ideal" over the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects--how it helps to determine everything from how parishioners worship to who excels at Harvard Business School. And she draws on cutting-edge research on the biology and psychology of temperament to reveal how introverts can modulate their personalities according to circumstance, how to empower an introverted child, and how companies can harness the natural talents of introverts. This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.
The north and south of temperament -- The extrovert ideal. The rise of the "mighty likeable fellow" : how extroversion became the cultural ideal ; The myth of charismatic leadership : the culture of personality, a hundred years later ; When collaboration kills creativity : the rise of the new Groupthink and the power of working alone -- Your biology, your self? Is temperament destiny? : nature, nurture, and the Orchid Hypothesis ; Beyond temperament : the role of free will (and the secret of public speaking for introverts) ; "Franklin was a politician, but Eleanor spoke out of conscience" : why cool is overrated ; Why did Wall Street cash and Warren Buffett prosper? : how introverts and extroverts think (and process dopamine) differently -- Do all cultures have an extrovert ideal? Soft power : Asian-Americans and the extrovert ideal -- How to love, how to work. When should you act more extroverted than you really are? ; The communication gap : how to talk to members of the opposite type ; On cobblers and generals : how to cultivate quiet kids in a world that can't hear them -- Wonderland -- A note on the words Introvert and Extrovert.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -323) and index.
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Demonstrates how introverted people are misunderstood and undervalued in modern culture, charting the rise of extrovert ideology while sharing anecdotal examples of how to use introvert talents to adapt to various situations. - (Baker & Taylor)
A former Wall Street attorney, business coach and creator of ThePowerofIntroverts.com demonstrates how introverted people are misunderstood and undervalued in today's culture, charting the rise of extrovert ideology while sharing anecdotal examples to counsel readers on how to use introvert talents to adapt to various situations and empower introverted children. - (Baker & Taylor)
Cain, whose work on introversion has appeared in newspapers and magazines, questions the modern American business culture that overlooks the positive characteristics of introverts such as persistence, reflection, and sensitivity to others' feelings. She explains the neurobiology and psychology of temperament in plain language and compares Western culture, where the individual is most important, to Eastern culture, where the group is valued more highly than the individual. She offers advice for introverts on small talk, networking, and communicating with extroverts, and even shows how to pretend to be an extrovert when necessary. She also tells how to help an introverted child. Cain teaches negotiation skills. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com) - (Book News)
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.
Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.
Perhaps most inspiring, she introduces us to successful introverts--from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Finally, she offers invaluable advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a "pretend extrovert."
This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.
- (Random House, Inc.
First Chapter or Excerpt
Today we make room for a remarkably narrow range of personality styles. We’re told that to be great is to be bold, to be happy is to be sociable. We see ourselves as a nation of extroverts—which means that we’ve lost sight of who we really are. Depending on which study you consult, one third to one half of Americans are introverts—in other words, one out of every two or three people you know. (Given that the United States is among the most extroverted of nations, the number must be at least as high in other parts of the world.) If you’re not an introvert yourself, you are surely raising, managing, married to, or coupled with one.
If these statistics surprise you, that’s probably because so many people pretend to be extroverts. Closet introverts pass undetected on playgrounds, in high school locker rooms, and in the corridors of corporate America. Some fool even themselves, until some life event—a layoff, an empty nest, an inheritance that frees them to spend time as they like— jolts them into taking stock of their true natures. You have only to raise the subject of this book with your friends and acquaintances to find that the most unlikely people consider themselves introverts.
It makes sense that so many introverts hide even from themselves. We live with a value system that I call the Extrovert Ideal—the omnipresent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight. The archetypal extrovert prefers action to contemplation, risk- taking to heed-taking, certainty to doubt. He favors quick decisions, even at the risk of being wrong. She works well in teams and socializes in groups. We like to think that we value individuality, but all too often we admire one type of individual—the kind who’s comfortable “putting himself out there.” Sure, we allow technologically gifted loners who launch companies in garages to have any personality they please, but they are the exceptions, not the rule, and our tolerance extends mainly to those who get fabulously wealthy or hold the promise of doing so.
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. 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.
The Extrovert Ideal has been documented in many studies, though this research has never been grouped under a single name. Talkative people, for example, are rated as smarter, better- looking, more interesting, and more desirable as friends. Velocity of speech counts as well as volume: we rank fast talkers as more competent and likable than slow ones. The same dynamics apply in groups, where research shows that the voluble are considered smarter than the reticent—even though there’s zero correlation between the gift of gab and good ideas. Even the word introvert is stigmatized—one informal study, by psychologist Laurie Helgoe, found that introverts described their own physical appearance in vivid language ( “green- blue eyes,” “exotic,” “high cheekbones”), but when asked to describe generic introverts they drew a bland and distasteful picture (“ungainly,” “neutral colors,” “skin problems”).
But we make a grave mistake to embrace the Extrovert Ideal so unthinkingly. Some of our greatest ideas, art, and inventions—from the theory of evolution to van Gogh’s sunflowers to the personal computer— came from quiet and cerebral people who knew how to tune in to their inner worlds and the treasures to be found there.
Copyright © 2012 by Susan Cain. From the book QUIET: The Power Of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, published by Crown, a division of Random House, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
Large Cover Image
It's hard to believe, in this world of social media and reality TV, that one-third to one-half of Americans are introverts. Yet being an introvert has become a social stigma. The rise of what the author dubs the Extrovert Ideal (in which the ideal self is gregarious, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight) began with Dale Carnegie and his wildly popular self-help books. Simultaneously, we saw the rise of the movie star and of personality-driven ads and the appearance of the inferiority complex, developed by psychologist Alfred Adler. Today, pitchmen like Tony Robbins sell the idea of extroversion as the key to greatness. But—and this is key to the author's thesis—personal space and privacy are absolutely vital to creativity and invention, as is freedom from peer pressure. Cain also explores the fundamental differences in psychology and physiology between extroverts and introverts, showing how being an introvert or an extrovert is really a biological imperative. No slick self-help book, this is an intelligent and often surprising look at what makes us who we are. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.
Library Journal Reviews
The introvert/extrovert dichotomy is easily stereotyped in psychological literature: extroverts are buoyant and loud, introverts are shy and nerdy. Here, former corporate lawyer and negotiations consultant Cain gives a more nuanced portrait of introversion. Introverts are by nature more pensive, quiet, and solitary, but they can also act extroverted for the pursuit of their passions. Cain describes and explicates the introvert personality by citing much research (at times so much that readers may be confused about what she is explaining) and going undercover, at one point immersing herself at a Harvard Business School student center and, in a very amusing chapter, at a Tony Robbins seminar, among other case studies. Cain's conclusion is that the introversion or extroversion personality trait is not as simple as an on/off switch but a much more complex expression of a personality. VERDICT This book is a pleasure to read and will make introverts and extroverts alike think twice about the best ways to be themselves and interact with differing personality types. Recommended to all readers.—Maryse Breton, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, Montreal
[Page 120]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal Reviews
This book makes me want to go on an unintrovert-like rant. Why is the world set up for loud know-it-alls? Why is brash all-roundedness emphasized in college when singular focus serves so well in many jobs and in relationships? Well, one reason is that even introverts don't value introvertedness enough, and everyone misunderstands what it is. Relating personal experience and backing it up with case studies and published research, Cain explains how the quietly confident can take over the world or at least become more content. (LJ 1/12)—Henrietta Thornton-Verma (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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