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

Susan Cain
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 24 2012

Amazon.ca Editors' Pick: Best Books of 2012

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.


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Review

People Top 10 Book of 2012
O, The Oprah Magazine 10 Favorite Books of 2012
Christian Science Monitor
Best Books of 2012
2012 Goodreads Choice Award, Best Nonfiction

Fast Company #1 Business Book of 2012
Inc Magazine
Best Books for Entrepreneurs in 2012
Library Journal Best Books of 2012
Kirkus Reviews
Best Books of 2012

"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.com

"Rich, intelligent...enlightening."
--Wall Street Journal

"An intriguing and potentially life-altering examination of the human psyche that is sure to benefit both introverts and extroverts alike."
--Kirkus, 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

"In this well-written, unusually thoughtful book, Cain encourages solitude seekers to see themselves anew: not as wallflowers but as powerful forces to be reckoned with."
--Whole Living

"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
 
"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

"Quiet is a book of liberation from old ideas about the value of introverts. Cain’s intelligence, respect for research, and vibrant prose put Quiet in an elite class with the best books from Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Pink, and other masters of psychological non-fiction."
--TERESA AMABILE, Professor, Harvard Business School, and coauthor, The Progress Principle

"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
 
"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
 
"Superb…A compelling reflection on how the Extrovert Ideal shapes our lives and why this is deeply unsettling. Based on meticulous research, it will open up a new and different conversation on how the personal is political and how we need to empower the legions of people who are disposed to be quiet, reflective, and sensitive."
--BRIAN R. LITTLE, PH.D., Distinguished Scholar, Department of Social and Developmental Psychology, Cambridge University  
 
"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 Confidence and SuperCorp
 
"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 Practical Wisdom and The Paradox of Choice

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

About the Author

SUSAN CAIN is the author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller QUIET: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking, which is being translated into over thirty languages and was named the #1 best book of the year by Fast Company magazine.  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; O, The Oprah Magazine; Salon.com; Time.com; PsychologyToday.com, and other publications. Cain has also spoken at Microsoft, Google, the U.S. Treasury, and West Point. Her record-smashing TED talk has been viewed over 3 million times, and was named by Bill Gates as one of his all-time favorite talks.
 
She has appeared on national broadcast television and radio including CBS “This Morning,” NPR’s “All Things Considered,” NPR’s “Diane Rehm,” and her work has been featured in The New Yorker, Harvard Business Review, The Atlantic, Wired, Fast Company, Real Simple, Fortune, Forbes, PEOPLE, Scientific American, USA Today, The Washington Post, CNN, Slate.com, and many other publications.  She is an honors graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School. 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).


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chicken Soup for the Introverted Soul June 16 2012
Format:Hardcover
As a young introvert, I have long wondered about myself. Why is it that I don't LOVE going to bars and clubs when all my friends have such a great time? Why is it that I am comfortable spending a weekend in the comfort of my own home with a good book, when everyone else seems to want to have a loud dinner and hang out?

The book is well-written and engaging from beginning to end. The information is relevant and applicable. The information is presented in a highly readable (and not overly academic) manner. Through reading it, I've gained insight into who I am and why I should accept my personality and all its idiosyncrasies.

I consider myself blessed to have read Ms. Cain's book. I would recommend this book to not just fellow introverts, but to extroverts as well. Everyone benefits from understanding introverts a little bit more.
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93 of 96 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Morris HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Throughout most of her book, Susan Cain takes a balanced approach to the immensely difficult task of examining the advantages and disadvantages of being primarily an introvert as well as those of being primarily an extrovert. I use the term 'primarily' in the context of culture as well as one's temperament, personality, preferences, tendencies, and (yes) volition. 'If given a choice'' is a helpful phrase. Some people dread being the center of attention whereas the behavior of others indicates a pathological need for it. Not all introverts are shy and reluctant, however, and not all extroverts are bombastic and impulsive. Moreover, expediency can also come into play. As Walt Whitman affirms in 'Song of Myself,' each person is 'large''and contains 'multitudes.'

When writing her book, Cain was guided and informed by research in social science (e.g. Carl Jung, Jerome Kagan, Elaine Aron, C.A. Valentine, David Winter) supplemented by what she had learned from her own observations. She examines the inadequacies of several concepts such as charismatic leadership, the New Groupthink, the "Extrovert Ideal" (i.e. "the omnipresent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight"), being or at least seeming "cool," collaborative innovation, and being a more "assertive" student in the classroom. Historians' accounts and media coverage must share at least some of the blame for widespread but remarkably durable misconceptions about eminent persons such as Warren Buffett, Dale Carnegie, Albert Einstein, Mohandas Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Steven Spielberg, and Steve Wozniak. However great their impact on others may be, all are (or were) essentially introverted. What else do they share in common?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Review courtesy of www.subtleillumination.com

“The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting. For some, it’s a Broadway spotlight; for others, a lamplit desk. Use your natural powers — of persistence, concentration, and insight — to do work you love and work that matters. Solve problems, make art, think deeply.” – Susan Cain

Action. Boldness. Charisma. Harvard Business School and modern society are unanimous on the importance of these values. Not achieving them, therefore, signals failure: that we are too introspective, too reflective, and too contemplative. Susain Cain disagrees, and in Quiet argues that society grossly undervalues introversion. Choosing not to go to the party, or indeed to hide in the bathroom when you’re at the party, is not a sign of weakness: rather, it’s simply a preference for a life with less external stimulation, a model society might do well to learn from.

To understand introversion, she traces it back to childhood. Highly reactive children, ones who respond strongly to stimulus, are actually more likely to be introverts than low reactive children. It is people who find external stimulation overwhelming who therefore seek to limit that stimulation, and so become more inwardly focused. For Cain, it’s a biological difference, not disadvantage.

Studying fish, she points out that bold fish are more likely to rush into traps and get caught than shy fish, but once in captivity, bold fish start eating the food earlier than shy fish and have a much higher survival rate. For humans, introversion predicts academic success in university better than cognitive ability, and an introvert’s focus on reflection means that in the lab they spend longer on tasks and do better at them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reading for extroverts and introverts Dec 15 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm an introvert and unshamed of it. This is a great book for both introverts and extroverts to read. For introverts, because it .explains why we act and feel as we do, especially in the extro-slanted North American culture. For extroverts, because it explains to them (if they are interested) how the other half of the world works, and how they need us in order to provide balance and sanity in a world that has gone mad. My wife is a confirmed, dyed-in-the-wool extrovert (they say opposites attract!); I think she now understands me a little better, which is nice for both of us!
The chapters on business and religion are excellent, and explained a lot to me. If only businesses would take these things to heart!
The one weakness of the book is towards the end. It seems to peter out with a long "sermon" on how to bring up your (possibly) introverted child. Now of course it is important for parents of young children to understand who they are dealing with, but since those days are long past in my life, I found it rather tedious.
But all in all, a great read, a great source of inspiration, and a book that everyone should read.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A lot of historical data, little on defining your personality type.
Published 11 days ago by Alex T
5.0 out of 5 stars it's fantastic and I can't wait to finish it
I only just started reading this book, as did my friend that I bought a copy for. So far, it's fantastic and I can't wait to finish it!
Published 16 days ago by Jennifer
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet to read it, but it got here quick and looks VERY nice!
As an introvert myself, I cannot wait to read this book! It got here in a day and a half (Amazon Prime Shipping ftw!), and the book itself looks gorgeous. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rajdeep Dhillon
3.0 out of 5 stars decent read, skimmed through some of it
I think it was interesting for the most part because I can relate to a lot of it but anyone can really. Read more
Published 1 month ago by nm
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, Inspiring, an Essential Read
Up until reading this book, I had only recently become somewhat interested in learning about psychology and why we do the things we do. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Zane Gates
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight into Introverts.
This was a great book on understanding how introverted people understand and cope with life. The author was the keynote speaker at Toastmasters International Convention in 2013 and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by G.Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Deep understanding of the introverts in a world that focus on...
A seriuos deep dive on the introvert/extrovert subject but with real experiences where you see yourself reflected. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Maria V. Hernandez
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I am enthralled with this book. First time I have finished a non-fiction book in ages. Wonderful explorations. Susan Cain is a fantastic researcher and writer.
Published 2 months ago by Miss Sunflower
4.0 out of 5 stars Goes against the tide
The major thrust of this book is that we in N America live in an extrovert society. Introverts have to adjust to this reality. Read more
Published 2 months ago by William B Shorrocks
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changing.
I cannot express how much this book changed my life. This may seem an exaggeration, but I assure you it's not. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Natasha Cooper
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