Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
by SUSAN CAIN
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.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT IT
I have learned so much about myself from this book. It has helped explained why I find solace in solitude, why big parties and networking can stress me out, why I dislike small talk, why I’m fine with a circle of close friends rather than an army of friends. It helped explain why much of my best work is done when I’m alone, but why I function in a team setting just fine. Susan Cain beautifully and clearly articulates how there true introversion and true extroversion are rare things, because most of us possess a few qualities of the other. (For example, while I myself am mostly an introvert, I do experience certain situations where I consistently respond in a more extroverted manner. This is something I never noticed or understood before reading this book.)
Most of all, Quiet has helped me to realize that so many of the things I thought were wrong with me—things that I thought were hindrances—are really my greatest strengths. I just need to take better advantage of them.
From Einstein to Rosa Parks to Gandhi, Quiet highlights many introverts throughout history who have done some of the greatest work known to man. It’s shown that, in a world that overvalues extroversion and undervalues the quiet strength of introverts, some of the most thoughtful and effective CEO’s have actually been the latter. There are incredibly effective extroverts and incredibly effective introverts. Everyone has their strengths. Introverts just tend to get overlooked more often.
I’ll end by noting Quiet is a book for everyone, not just introverts. While it helps introverts understand themselves more deeply, it also helps extroverts understand introvert behaviors on a deeper level so they can better work with and value them. Many companies could have been saved from catastrophe if their leaders had simply listened to the quiet ones.
This book gives me hope for the future of the workplace and the value in playing to every person’s strengths.