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Quiet

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

Author Susan Cain
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Paperback
$18.99 US
On sale Jan 29, 2013 | 368 Pages | 978-0-307-35215-6
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Experience the book that started the Quiet Movement and revolutionized how the world sees introverts—and how introverts see themselves—by offering validation, inclusion, and inspiration

“Superbly researched, deeply insightful, and a fascinating read, Quiet is an indispensable resource for anyone who wants to understand the gifts of the introverted half of the population.”—Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project


NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PeopleO: The Oprah MagazineChristian Science MonitorInc.Library JournalKirkus Reviews

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, impeccably 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
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.
  • WINNER | 2012
    Goodreads.com Readers Choice Award for Best Debut Author and Best Nonfiction Book of the Year
  • FINALIST | 2013
    Carnegie Medal
  • FINALIST | 2012
    Books for a Better Life Book Award
“An important book that should embolden anyone who’s ever been told, ‘Speak up!’”People
 
“Cain offers a wealth of useful advice for teachers and parents of introverts. . . . Quiet should interest anyone who cares about how people think, work, and get along, or wonders why the guy in the next cubicle acts that way. It should be required reading for introverts (or their parents) who could use a boost to their self-esteem.”Fortune

“A rich, intelligent book . . . enlightening.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Charm and charisma may be one beau ideal, but backed by first-rate research and her usual savvy, Cain makes a convincing case for the benefits of reserve.”—Harper’s Bazaar

“A smart, lively book about the value of silence and solitude that makes you want to shout from the rooftops. Quiet is an engaging and insightful look into the hearts and minds of those who change the world instead of tweeting about it.”—Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology, Harvard University, author of Stumbling on Happiness

“As an introvert often called upon to behave like an extrovert, I found the information in this book revealing and helpful. Drawing on neuroscientific research and many case reports, Susan Cain explains the advantages and potentials of introversion and of being quiet in a noisy world.”—Andrew Weil, author of Healthy Aging and Spontaneous Happiness
 
“Those who value a quiet, reflective life will feel a burden lifting from their shoulders as they read Susan Cain’s eloquent and well documented paean to introversion—and will no longer feel guilty or inferior for having made the better choice!”—Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow and Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management, Claremont Graduate University

“Susan Cain has done a superb job of sifting through decades of complex research on introversion, extroversion, and sensitivity—this book will be a boon for the many highly sensitive people who are also introverts.”—Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person

Quiet legitimizes and even celebrates the ‘niche’ that represents half the people in the world.”—Guy Kawasaki, author of Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions

“Susan Cain is the definer of a new and valuable paradigm. In this moving and original argument, she makes the case that we are losing immense reserves of talent and vision because of our culture’s overvaluation of extroversion. A startling, important, and readable page-turner that will make quiet people see themselves in a whole new light.”—Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth

Quiet elevates the conversation about introverts in our outwardly-oriented society to new heights. I think that many introverts will discover that, even though they didn’t know it, they have been waiting for this book all their lives.”—Adam S. McHugh, author of Introverts in the Church

“Gentle is powerful . . . Solitude is socially productive . . . These important counter-intuitive ideas are among the many reasons to take Quiet to a quiet corner and absorb its brilliant, thought-provoking message.”—Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School professor, author of Think Outside the Building
 
“Memo to all you glad-handing, back-slapping, brainstorming masters of the universe out there: Stop networking and talking for a minute and read this book. In Quiet, Susan Cain does an eloquent and powerful job of extolling the virtues of the listeners and the thinkers—the reflective introverts of the world who appreciate that hard problems demand careful thought and who understand that it’s a good idea to know what you want to say before you open your mouth.”—Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice
 
“An intriguing and potentially life-altering examination of the human psyche that is sure to benefit both introverts and extroverts alike.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Cain gives excellent portraits of a number of introverts and shatters misconceptions. Cain consistently holds the reader’s interest by presenting individual profiles, looking at places dominated by extroverts (Harvard Business School) and introverts (a West Coast retreat center), and reporting on the latest studies. Her diligence, research, and passion for this important topic has richly paid off.”—Publishers Weekly

“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.”—Library Journal

“An intelligent and often surprising look at what makes us who we are.”—Booklist
© Aaron Fedor
Susan Cain started the Quiet Movement, which revolutionized how the world sees introverts—and how introverts see themselves. She is also the author of Bittersweet: How Longing and Sorrow Make Us Whole. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere, and her TED Talk has been viewed more than 40 million times. She was named one of the world’s top 50 Leadership and Management Experts by Inc., and one of LinkedIn’s top ten influencers. View titles by Susan Cain

Educator Guide for Quiet

Classroom-based guides appropriate for schools and colleges provide pre-reading and classroom activities, discussion questions connected to the curriculum, further reading, and resources.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

Discussion Guide for Quiet

Provides questions, discussion topics, suggested reading lists, introductions and/or author Q&As, which are intended to enhance reading groups’ experiences.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

Author’s Note |
INTRODUCTION: The North and South of Temperament |
PART ONE: THE EXTROVERT IDEAL
1. THE RISE OF THE “MIGHTY LIKEABLE FELLOW”: How
Extroversion Became the Cultural Ideal |
2. THE MYTH OF CHARISMATIC LEADERSHIP: The
Culture of Personality, a Hundred Years Later |
3. WHEN COLLABORATION KILLS CREATIVITY:
The Rise of the New Groupthink and the Power of
Working Alone |
PART TWO: YOUR BIOLOGY, YOUR SELF?
4. IS TEMPERAMENT DESTINY?: Nature, Nurture, and the
Orchid Hypothesis |
5. BEYOND TEMPERAMENT: The Role of Free Will (and the
Secret of Public Speaking for Introverts) |
6. “FRANKLIN WAS A POLITICIAN,
BUT ELEANOR SPOKE OUT OF CONSCIENCE”:
Why Cool Is Overrated |
7. WHY DID WALL STREET CRASH AND WARREN
BUFFETT PROSPER?: How Introverts and Extroverts Think
(and Process Dopamine) Differently |
PART THREE: DO ALL CULTURES HAVE
AN EXTROVERT IDEAL?
8. SOFT POWER: Asian-Americans and the Extrovert
Ideal |
PART FOUR: HOW TO LOVE, HOW TO WORK
9. WHEN SHOULD YOU ACT MORE EXTROVERTED
THAN YOU REALLY ARE? |
10. THE COMMUNICATION GAP: How to Talk to
Members of the Opposite Type |
11. ON COBBLERS AND GENERALS: How to Cultivate
Quiet Kids in a World That Can’t Hear Them |
CONCLUSION: Wonderland |
A Note on the Dedication |
A Note on the Words Introvert and Extrovert |
Acknowledgments |
Notes |
Index |

About

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Experience the book that started the Quiet Movement and revolutionized how the world sees introverts—and how introverts see themselves—by offering validation, inclusion, and inspiration

“Superbly researched, deeply insightful, and a fascinating read, Quiet is an indispensable resource for anyone who wants to understand the gifts of the introverted half of the population.”—Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project


NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PeopleO: The Oprah MagazineChristian Science MonitorInc.Library JournalKirkus Reviews

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, impeccably 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

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.

Awards

  • WINNER | 2012
    Goodreads.com Readers Choice Award for Best Debut Author and Best Nonfiction Book of the Year
  • FINALIST | 2013
    Carnegie Medal
  • FINALIST | 2012
    Books for a Better Life Book Award

Praise

“An important book that should embolden anyone who’s ever been told, ‘Speak up!’”People
 
“Cain offers a wealth of useful advice for teachers and parents of introverts. . . . Quiet should interest anyone who cares about how people think, work, and get along, or wonders why the guy in the next cubicle acts that way. It should be required reading for introverts (or their parents) who could use a boost to their self-esteem.”Fortune

“A rich, intelligent book . . . enlightening.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Charm and charisma may be one beau ideal, but backed by first-rate research and her usual savvy, Cain makes a convincing case for the benefits of reserve.”—Harper’s Bazaar

“A smart, lively book about the value of silence and solitude that makes you want to shout from the rooftops. Quiet is an engaging and insightful look into the hearts and minds of those who change the world instead of tweeting about it.”—Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology, Harvard University, author of Stumbling on Happiness

“As an introvert often called upon to behave like an extrovert, I found the information in this book revealing and helpful. Drawing on neuroscientific research and many case reports, Susan Cain explains the advantages and potentials of introversion and of being quiet in a noisy world.”—Andrew Weil, author of Healthy Aging and Spontaneous Happiness
 
“Those who value a quiet, reflective life will feel a burden lifting from their shoulders as they read Susan Cain’s eloquent and well documented paean to introversion—and will no longer feel guilty or inferior for having made the better choice!”—Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow and Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management, Claremont Graduate University

“Susan Cain has done a superb job of sifting through decades of complex research on introversion, extroversion, and sensitivity—this book will be a boon for the many highly sensitive people who are also introverts.”—Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person

Quiet legitimizes and even celebrates the ‘niche’ that represents half the people in the world.”—Guy Kawasaki, author of Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions

“Susan Cain is the definer of a new and valuable paradigm. In this moving and original argument, she makes the case that we are losing immense reserves of talent and vision because of our culture’s overvaluation of extroversion. A startling, important, and readable page-turner that will make quiet people see themselves in a whole new light.”—Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth

Quiet elevates the conversation about introverts in our outwardly-oriented society to new heights. I think that many introverts will discover that, even though they didn’t know it, they have been waiting for this book all their lives.”—Adam S. McHugh, author of Introverts in the Church

“Gentle is powerful . . . Solitude is socially productive . . . These important counter-intuitive ideas are among the many reasons to take Quiet to a quiet corner and absorb its brilliant, thought-provoking message.”—Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School professor, author of Think Outside the Building
 
“Memo to all you glad-handing, back-slapping, brainstorming masters of the universe out there: Stop networking and talking for a minute and read this book. In Quiet, Susan Cain does an eloquent and powerful job of extolling the virtues of the listeners and the thinkers—the reflective introverts of the world who appreciate that hard problems demand careful thought and who understand that it’s a good idea to know what you want to say before you open your mouth.”—Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice
 
“An intriguing and potentially life-altering examination of the human psyche that is sure to benefit both introverts and extroverts alike.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Cain gives excellent portraits of a number of introverts and shatters misconceptions. Cain consistently holds the reader’s interest by presenting individual profiles, looking at places dominated by extroverts (Harvard Business School) and introverts (a West Coast retreat center), and reporting on the latest studies. Her diligence, research, and passion for this important topic has richly paid off.”—Publishers Weekly

“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.”—Library Journal

“An intelligent and often surprising look at what makes us who we are.”—Booklist

Author

© Aaron Fedor
Susan Cain started the Quiet Movement, which revolutionized how the world sees introverts—and how introverts see themselves. She is also the author of Bittersweet: How Longing and Sorrow Make Us Whole. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere, and her TED Talk has been viewed more than 40 million times. She was named one of the world’s top 50 Leadership and Management Experts by Inc., and one of LinkedIn’s top ten influencers. View titles by Susan Cain

Guides

Educator Guide for Quiet

Classroom-based guides appropriate for schools and colleges provide pre-reading and classroom activities, discussion questions connected to the curriculum, further reading, and resources.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

Discussion Guide for Quiet

Provides questions, discussion topics, suggested reading lists, introductions and/or author Q&As, which are intended to enhance reading groups’ experiences.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

Table of Contents

Author’s Note |
INTRODUCTION: The North and South of Temperament |
PART ONE: THE EXTROVERT IDEAL
1. THE RISE OF THE “MIGHTY LIKEABLE FELLOW”: How
Extroversion Became the Cultural Ideal |
2. THE MYTH OF CHARISMATIC LEADERSHIP: The
Culture of Personality, a Hundred Years Later |
3. WHEN COLLABORATION KILLS CREATIVITY:
The Rise of the New Groupthink and the Power of
Working Alone |
PART TWO: YOUR BIOLOGY, YOUR SELF?
4. IS TEMPERAMENT DESTINY?: Nature, Nurture, and the
Orchid Hypothesis |
5. BEYOND TEMPERAMENT: The Role of Free Will (and the
Secret of Public Speaking for Introverts) |
6. “FRANKLIN WAS A POLITICIAN,
BUT ELEANOR SPOKE OUT OF CONSCIENCE”:
Why Cool Is Overrated |
7. WHY DID WALL STREET CRASH AND WARREN
BUFFETT PROSPER?: How Introverts and Extroverts Think
(and Process Dopamine) Differently |
PART THREE: DO ALL CULTURES HAVE
AN EXTROVERT IDEAL?
8. SOFT POWER: Asian-Americans and the Extrovert
Ideal |
PART FOUR: HOW TO LOVE, HOW TO WORK
9. WHEN SHOULD YOU ACT MORE EXTROVERTED
THAN YOU REALLY ARE? |
10. THE COMMUNICATION GAP: How to Talk to
Members of the Opposite Type |
11. ON COBBLERS AND GENERALS: How to Cultivate
Quiet Kids in a World That Can’t Hear Them |
CONCLUSION: Wonderland |
A Note on the Dedication |
A Note on the Words Introvert and Extrovert |
Acknowledgments |
Notes |
Index |

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