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Quiet

Cover of Quiet

Quiet

The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
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The book that started the Quiet Revolution

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.

Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader's guide and bonus content

The book that started the Quiet Revolution

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.

Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader's guide and bonus content

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  • Chapter 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.

About the Author-
  • SUSAN CAIN is the co-founder of Quiet Revolution LLC and the author of the award-winning New York Times bestseller QUIET: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can't Stop Talking, which has been translated into thirty-six languages, has appeared on many "Best of" lists, and was named the #1 best book of the year by Fast Company magazine, which also named Cain one of its Most Creative People in Business. Cain's book was the subject of a TIME Magazine cover story, and her writing has appeared in the The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. Her record-smashing TED talk has been viewed over 8 million times, and was named by Bill Gates one of his all-time favorite talks. Cain has also spoken at Microsoft, Google, the U.S. Treasury, the S.E.C., Harvard, Yale, West Point and the US Naval Academy. She received Harvard Law School's Celebration Award for Thought Leadership, the Toastmasters International Golden Gavel Award for Communication and Leadership, and was named one of the world's top 50 Leadership and Management Experts by Inc. Magazine. She is an honors graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School. In 2014, Cain partnered with office design company Steelcase to create Susan Cain Quiet Spaces, with a range of architecture, furniture, materials and technology to empower introverts at work. She lives in the Hudson River Valley with her husband and two sons. You can visit her at www.thepowerofintroverts.com., and follow her on twitter (@susancain).

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