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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (37,303 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Susan Cain Narrator: Kathe Mazur Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking is a book about introverts, for both introverts and extroverts. It strives to bolster pride in introverts and encourage understanding from extroverts. Introverts have made their mark in the world, even if you'll never catch them bragging about it. From artists to scientists to some of the greatest minds of the technological age, introverts have helped to shape the way the world is today. This is especially true in the arts and sciences.

Quiet attempts to sort out how extroverted personalities became the ideal in the 20th century, and how this has affected how society views introverts and how introverts see themselves. It talks of "pretend extroverts," a frequent occurrence among introverts as a reaction to feeling that their personality type is inferior. The book takes a look at both side of the human psyche through profiles of individuals, scientific studies and a look at Harvard Business school and a West Coast retreat center. Harvard plays the extrovert foil for the introverted people of the retreat center.

According to Quiet, introverts do not need to feel like they have something wrong with them, or that they need to live up to the expectations of an extroverted world. Instead, they should be proud of the roles where their personality type is needed. The book compares the societal contributions of both Bill Gates and Bill Clinton while contrasting their personality traits. It discusses how introverts such as Gates are necessary in advancing the arts and sciences.

Quiet author Susan Cain attended Princeton University then Harvard Law School. She served as a Wall Street attorney for several years and ran a consulting firm called The Negotiation Company. An introvert herself, however, Cain decided a quieter life as a writer was for her. Quiet, her first book, was published in 2012.

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.

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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

  • 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

  • “An important book that should embolden anyone who's ever been told, ‘Speak up!’”

    People

  • “A superbly researched, deeply insightful, and fascinating book that will change forever the way society views introverts.”

    Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project

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

    Booklist

  • “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

  • “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

  • “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)

  • “Rich, intelligent…Enlightening.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books, Best Nonfiction 2012
  • Selected for the February 2012 Indie Next List
  • A Library Journal Best Book of 2012
  • A Barnes & Noble Best Book of 2012
  • An Amazon Best Books of the Year in 2012
  • A Christian Science Monitor Book of the Year for Nonfiction in 2012
  • A People Magazine Best Book of 2012
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
  • An NPR Bestseller
  • A Washington Post Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2012 GoodReads Readers’ Choice Award
  • An iTunes Top Seller
  • A 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Science & Technology

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Elaine Searle | 2/20/2014

    " Probably one of the most important and influential books I have ever read. A thoughtful study of introversion and extroversion which really helped me to understand the introverts & extroverts in my life and how and why we react differently. The author analyses the cult of extroversism ( my neologism?) and shows the power of quietly spoken, thoughtful people. A must read for extroverts and introverts alike! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Sarah Belong | 2/15/2014

    " One of the very best things I've read in a long time! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Christi | 2/6/2014

    " Insightful. Helped me understand and adapt toward the introverts who are closest to me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Cluessister Williams | 1/25/2014

    " A little slow getting started and a bit repetitive at the end, but the meat in the sandwich is great. I particularly liked the examples/case studies about parents and children, couples and bosses and employees learning to work with each others conflicting styles. Challenges some long standing assumptions about how we reward, encourage, coerce extroversion. "

  • > Show All
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