Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Susan Cain

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Our lives are driven by a fact that most of us can't name and don't understand. It defines who our friends and lovers are, which careers we choose, and whether we blush when we're embarrassed. That fact is whether we're an introvert or an extrovert. The introvert/extrovert divide is the most fundamental dimension of personality. And at least a third of us are on the introverted side. Some of the world's most talented people are introverts. Without them we wouldn't have the Apple computer, the theory of relativity and Van Gogh's sunflowers. Yet extroverts have taken over. Shyness, sensitivity and seriousness are often seen as being negative. Introverts feel reproached for being the way they are. In Quiet, Susan Cain shows how the brain chemistry of introverts and extroverts differs, and how society misunderstands and undervalues introverts. She gives introverts the tools to better understand themselves and take full advantage of their strengths. 3.1 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Society, Politics & Philosophy
Format Hardback
Pages 352
RRP £20.00
Date of Publication March 2012
ISBN 978-0670916757
Publisher Viking
 

Our lives are driven by a fact that most of us can't name and don't understand. It defines who our friends and lovers are, which careers we choose, and whether we blush when we're embarrassed. That fact is whether we're an introvert or an extrovert. The introvert/extrovert divide is the most fundamental dimension of personality. And at least a third of us are on the introverted side. Some of the world's most talented people are introverts. Without them we wouldn't have the Apple computer, the theory of relativity and Van Gogh's sunflowers. Yet extroverts have taken over. Shyness, sensitivity and seriousness are often seen as being negative. Introverts feel reproached for being the way they are. In Quiet, Susan Cain shows how the brain chemistry of introverts and extroverts differs, and how society misunderstands and undervalues introverts. She gives introverts the tools to better understand themselves and take full advantage of their strengths.

Reviews

The Guardian

Jon Ronson

I finished Quiet a month ago and I can't get it out of my head. It is in many ways an important book — so persuasive and timely and heartfelt it should inevitably effect change in schools and offices. It's also a genius idea to write a book that tells introverts — a vast proportion of the reading public – how awesome and undervalued we are. I'm thrilled to discover that some of the personality traits I had found shameful are actually indicators that I'm amazing. It's a Female Eunuch for anxious nerds ... But sometimes her brilliant ideas aren't written quite so brilliantly. Her book can be a bit of a slog, not always a page turner.

24/03/2012

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The Times

Megan Walsh

Cain unpacks a lot of information, and sometimes struggles to order it. At times it feels as if she’s beating the same drum — or tinkling the same triangle — that introversion is something to celebrate too. This won’t tune with everyone’s interests. But in our booming culture hers is a still, small voice that punches above its weight. It might even make managers and company leaders rethink how to get the best out of their staff. Perhaps rather than sitting back and asking people to speak up, they might lean forward and listen.

26/03/2012

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The Sunday Times

Daisy Goodwin

Quiet is a very timely book. As we struggle through a recession largely caused by extrovert City boys and politicians, it is the moment to re-evaluate our obsession with the extrovert ideal. Although the mixture of journalism, science-lite and self-help is not always satisfying, Cain’s central thesis is fresh and important: “Introverts living under the extrovert ideal are like women living in a man’s world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are.” And maybe the extrovert ideal is no longer as powerful as it was; in a century when power is swinging towards the introverted East, perhaps it is time we all stopped to listen to the still, small voice of calm.

25/03/2012

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The Sunday Telegraph

Tom Payne

At some points in this book, it’s hard to avoid the impression that extroverts are prats or at least that the extrovert/introvert dichotomy is really a balance of jock versus geek, played out so reliably in movies about US high schools. Cain does everything she can to mute this, and say that extroverts can read this book, too (she has sales to consider, after all); but in test after test, outgoing folk respond less well to difficult upbringings, cope less well when deprived of sleep, and are missing out on the evolutionary advantages of blushing.

23/03/2012

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The New York Times

Judith Warner

… a long and ploddingly earnest book … However useful and astute her observations and advice regarding introverted kids, Cain’s book is about adults, and on this population, unfortunately, she’s a whole lot less convincing. For one thing, her definition of introversion widens constantly ... Another problem with Cain’s argument is her assumption that most introverts are actually suffering in their self-esteem.

10/02/2012

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The Observer

Sara Maitland

… Cain is setting up a new binary which does not hold water ... What is truly odd about this book is that it completely ignores real and actual "extreme introverts", because Cain speaks to no solitaries ... In fact, this is a remarkably noisy "extroverted" book, bombarding the reader with a massive range of unharmonious "facts" and psychobabble ("over stimulating", to use one of Cain's terms). Even the language is an assault ...

18/03/2012

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The Observer

Miranda Sawyer

The problem with Cain's thesis is that she's so keen to convince us of its all-encompassing brilliance that she bends it out of shape … there is little acknowledgement from her that we change according to our life stages ... In the end, Cain's insistence that one of two sizes fits all means that this book becomes little more than another Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus tick-box work.

18/03/2012

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