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

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Goodreads Choice Award
Winner for Best Nonfiction (2012)
In Quiet, the international bestseller, 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.

Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with real stories, Quiet will permanently change how we see introverts - and how you see yourself.

325 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 24, 2012

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About the author

Susan Cain

20 books24.1k followers
“QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” was released in January, 2012, from Crown Publishers in the U.S., and from Viking/Penguin in the U.K. Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts was released in May, 2016 from Dial Books in the U.S., and from Penguin Life in the U.K. "BITTERSWEET: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole" has been released in the U.S. and U.K.

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SUSAN CAIN is the author of the bestsellers Quiet Journal, Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts, and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking, which has been translated into 40 languages, is in its seventh year on the New York Times best seller list, 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. Her latest masterpiece, BITTERSWEET: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole, was released in the US on April 5, 2022 (international editions are forthcoming).

LinkedIn named her the 6th Top Influencer in the world. Susan has partnered with Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant and Dan Pink to launch the Next Big Idea Book Club and they donate all their proceeds to children’s literacy programs.

Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. Her record-smashing TED talk has been viewed over 40 million times on TED.com and YouTube combined, 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. She lives in the Hudson River Valley with her husband and two sons.

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Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
June 11, 2015
“There's zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.”

I read this book for the same reason most people read this book: I am an introvert. I have always been an introvert, and it's a fundamental, sometimes limiting, part of who I am.

I've learned to deal with it better over the years - learned to clasp my shaking hands together during presentations, force myself to breathe normally and keep my voice steady, even force myself to make the first move in social situations. Unless you are also an introvert, you probably won't understand the efforts I have to go to (and the psychological strain this puts on me) just to behave in a way that is considered socially acceptable and is desired by employers.

It's actually caused me upset and distress for many reasons. Firstly because I find it hard to cope in the many situations where bright, outgoing personalities thrive. Secondly because it's just considered a negative trait. Look at magazines, look at books like How to Win Friends and Influence People, look at job applications asking for "people persons". I remember reading teen magazines in high school and seeing stupid articles about how to attract boys - confident, dazzling personalities are a necessity! - and feeling a very real blow to my self-esteem.

But I have accepted it as an unfortunate fact of reality for years - the simple conclusion that being introverted is a bad thing. Not a terrible thing, and definitely not an impossible thing to cope with - technology billionaires are often introverts after all - but something limiting (like a lower intelligence) that I must constantly battle against to make it through this world.

Until I read this book.

Susan Cain uses facts, statistics and her own case studies to show that introverts are greatly successful and powerful, not in spite of their introversion, but because of it. She compares different types of businesses and teamwork to show how extroverts and introverts each excel in different types of business environments. For example, extroverts often lead businesses better when there is little input from other team members; whereas introverts thrive in situations that rely on the input of a team because they are more likely to listen to the other members and implement their ideas.

From Harvard Business School students to Ivy League professors to Rosa Parks, Cain looks at the different types of influence introverts and extroverts have. She does not place favour on one or the other, but instead portrays a view of the world in which both have an extremely important part to play - it just so happens that the extroverts tend to be "louder" about it.

It's an important, engaging book that pulled along even a lover of fiction and fantasy like me. And, though comforting, it is still a respectable study that achieves more than just making introverts feel a little better about themselves. The findings speak for themselves and not only serve to please a shy little weirdo like me, but also make a lot of sense.

An important read for introverts and extroverts alike.

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Profile Image for Hanne.
224 reviews318 followers
December 17, 2012
I always thought I was just weird...
I can be alone in my car for a 1h drive and not want to have the radio or music on. On sundays I often join the walking club for a long 25km walk, but I prefer to do it alone (and oh, all the pity looks you get!). The idea of surprise parties makes me sick to my stomach, and any event where a thousand people are together is possibly even worse. I dislike small talk, but I probably hate even more how nervous I get when I have to do it.
I can feel sad for a bruised tomato no-one wants to buy (hey, he tried his best too, not his fault someone dropped him!), and while everyone else goes to the modern, light apothecary across the street with the super nice people always happy to help, I go to the dark and older one who never has clients (how else will he survive?)

Turns out I'm not that weird. I'm just a full blood introvert.
And yet, I'm not what you think. I'm not particularly shy, I'm not the grey bird that never says a word and everyone forgets she's around. I'm very opinionated and quite stubborn, and when amongst friends I know well, I can be the loudest person in the room.
But still I'm introvert. After being with friends or colleagues, I need recharging time. I need to be alone. I (almost) always think before I talk. I enjoy getting to the bottom of things, I enjoy detective work. And I can go on and on.

While reading this book, on occasion I was nodding so hard I thought my head might fall off.
There were very little eye-opening surprises in this book, and even a few things I didn't agree with or I would have hoped for her to explore more. Even a few occasions I thought she was idealizing introverts. This book was not perfect, but somehow i feel that it was important for me to read it.

Overall, it was quite liberating. I'm not that weird! About a third of us on this planet (and on a website as Goodreads probably a LOT more) are more or less like me - not completely like me, I'm still unique (I insist!)
But that might not be an issue. Though some of you might recognize some of my examples above, I've never met someone before that can feel bad for a bruised tomato. So maybe i'm still little weird, and my own unique self. Hoorah
Profile Image for Stephanie *Eff your feelings*.
239 reviews1,236 followers
April 27, 2013
March 6th was Super Tuesday and I live in that Oh-so-much-talked-about-battle-ground-state of Ohio. I work the elections as a Ballot Judge, which means I hand out the ballots to the voters and give them instructions. I get to talk and talk, for 13 hours straight *sigh*. I try to make it entertaining for the voters, myself and the others I work with because of its repetition, but by 7:30 pm when the polls close I don’t think the language I was using was English.

My spiel went something like this…….

Me: “Hi. What ballot can I get for you today?”

Voter: “Uh…….what do you mean?”

Me: “Today we have, Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or Green (I have never given out the last two)”.

Voter: “What’s a Green party?”

Me: “I’m not sure, but there is next to nothing on their ballot.”

Voter: “I’m and independent (code for embarrassed Republican) can’t I have both a Democratic AND Republican ballot?”

Me: “No, you must declare one and you will be that party until the next primary. Ohio is a closed primary state.”

Voter: “Uh….then give me a *whispers* a Democrat one.”

Me: *loudly* “Democratic it is! Take all this to a table and vote, when you are done bring everything back to Rosemary in the red sweater by that machine. Make sure to tear off the stub on the bottom of the ballot…….the one that is marked “do not detach” when you come up to the machine. If you don’t, you will make Rosemary angry (a very sweet and very old woman) and you won’t like her when she’s angry. She will cover you in I Voted stickers.”

This resulted in lots of chuckles, but I did it 301 times. I was drained. I slept for 12 hours that night. Twelve. Grant it, I got up at stupid O ‘clock to get to the polls by 6 am and maybe had 4 hours of sleep, but I was just a shell my former self. I am an introvert.

Introverts and extroverts are most easily determined by how their energy is drained and how it is refreshed. Extroverts are drained when they have spent too much time alone, and the opposite is true for introverts. So for me, my life force was gone.

In the United States our culture is biased towards the extrovert. We are about the loudness, the out there, the utter insanity if you will. In school “poor Johnny is so quiet, he needs to come out of his shell.” I want to scream “Leave him alone…..he’s FINE, he likes his shell!” School rooms now do this Pod thing where they pull four desks together and make these poor kids work as a team. WTF? No way would have that “concept” worked for me and it’s not working for introverted kids.

“There’s no I in team” and that is a damn dirty shame.

I haven’t worked in an office setting in years, so when I read in this book that office places are arranging offices areas with an open concept, everybody face to face with no walls. Workers going about their day, shooting the shit, getting ideas……brainstorming (which doesn't work). Who in the hell thought that one up? What a nightmare. What if I only tolerate a certain co-worker……now I have to stare at his annoying face all day, every day? How is anything ever accomplished?

Companies are beginning to realize this mistake and are changing things up. Google (I think it was them) designed their offices with food, bathrooms and the like all in the center, like a town center, with offices around the edges. It is designed for casual meetings where ideas everyone figured out in their quiet offices are shared and expanded.

Introverts are a third to half of the population. Many of these don’t even know they are introverted, because of the push to be extroverted has made them fool themselves into thinking they were extroverts.

Another interesting thing I learned from this book is that extroverts are motivated by rewards. They work toward things, and take risks if need be to get to the goal of getting that reward. Extroverts are soooo happy when they get the reward.

Introverts are motivated by fear. So they do things more cautiously, careful not to mess things up in the process of getting to a goal. That sounds like me. It’s doesn't sound cool that I am afraid to F things up, but I am.

This book is interesting, whether you are an I or an E. Because if you’re not an introvert, odds are you know and love one.

Also posted at Shelfinflicted
Profile Image for Kelly.
889 reviews4,129 followers
April 16, 2013
In a twist that will surprise precisely no one, this book spends a fair amount of time cheering for introverts. What were the odds, right? I assume if you're picking this book up you're on board with that to a certain extent, and likely something of an introvert yourself.

This book is certainly for you-or for the perplexed extrovert or "pseudo-extrovert" that might be confused by your supposedly mysterious ways. It's a sort of shield, a blockade, a set of reinforced walls that Cain feels it is necessary to throw up around introverts (particularly American introverts) to protect them from the "Extrovered Ideal," of American socialization. The tone of the beginning of the book is thus rather defiant, like Cain is screaming back at everyone she has ever felt pressured by to go to a happy hour or to a dinner party when she had much rather just read a book instead. There's some of this kick-back throughout the book, with plenty of cathartic/sympathetic/rather relatable war stories from introverts just tryin' to make it in an extrovert's world.

It is particularly meant to speak to introverts in the high flying business, legal, and/or educational world, where a premium is put on socializing, teamwork, constant connection and multitasking (I am speaking here particularly of the rarefied worlds of Big Law, Wall Street Finance, and Ivy League academia). It's a very career and work focused book, with a surprisingly frequent focus on the bottom line about what traits introverts are more likely to have and how these should be recognized at the top tables in all fields. Her argument, based on one scientific study after another throughout the chapters (deployed like so much artillery), is that introverts tend to think more deeply about problems and persist for longer in trying to solve them. Introverts are supposedly more likely to care about the feelings of others, to make excellent compromising leaders, and to be excellent negotiators (Cain's particular area of expertise) based on their ability to seem soft and actually be tough at the same time. She scorns the merely "shy" as extroverts in disguise who share extroverts' traits and want the spotlight but who are just too scared to get it (she would never say this outright, but it is clear that she believes they don't deserve the secret introvert password and is determined to keep out the riffraff). She argues that the extroverts in powerful positions she has seen are more likely to take unjustified risks, to get hopped up on testosterone and the thrill of the chase, to listen to the loudest person in the room, and to walk all over introverts.

She readily admits the nuances in these sweeping generalizations. She also admits the worth of extroverts and how introverts greatly enjoy and need their company, both professionally and personally. In addition, she also talks about some legitimate times when introverts may devote time and energy to being extroverted (if they care about something enough- "Free Trait Theory"). Finally, and in the part that I most appreciated, Cain talks a bit about the "Situational" theory of personality- that is, that people's personalities can be completely different in different situations, times and around different people. Therefore, there are very few "pure" introverts or "pure" extroverts. She also admits that the way that these generalized "traits" play out may look very different and may, after all, not be very predictive in any direct way. (Many extroverts may have excellent impulse control, or introverts who care deeply about a cause may act frequently and completely out of character in order to fight for what they believe in.)

However, the space devoted to these arguments is much, much smaller than the space devoted to proving, endlessly, how awesome introverts are and why the professional world should value them and stop trying to tell them that they have to be like extroverts because I'm okay and you're okay and it takes all kinds and a village to make the world go round.

And honestly? This is a message that's happening to hit me at the right time, when I'm involved in a workplace with a whole lot of extroverts surrounding me. I did find it useful in my particular mindset where I am actively waging a struggle to define my own style in a new profession, since introversion is a part of my identity. I also thought that some of the studies she cited DO make a lot of sense and should be more widely looked at (like the ones that talk about why it's a good idea to ask people to provide feedback and brainstorm online rather than in big meetings or why introverts with closed door offices are more productive or some of the advice to parents about how to cherish their introverted child). I also think that it's nice to have someone sounding the alert that someone speaking quietly is not wrong by default- turn on cable news for thirty seconds and you'll be reminded why that is important.

And yet, despite the evident time put into this book, and despite my bias towards it, I couldn't shake the feeling of cynical questioning of what felt like a great deal of pop psychology and arguments made based on feelings, anecdotes and newspaper clippings collected into a narrative. It felt like a file you might keep to make yourself feel better and to express an important part of your identity, rather than a research paper and I'm sure it was aiming at something closer to that crossed with an advice column. There's such a lot of speculation in here, and lots of scientific studies without citations or countervailing evidence brought into play. (For example, it certainly didn't help that the minute after I read one of the more fluffy scientific studies in here about how we Americans as a culture are more drawn to people that display significantly more traditionally dominant body language in pictures I saw it in an issue of Marie Claire in a box near the back of the magazine reconfigured to be about women being attracted to men and how you've gotta look aggressive and Manly to get us ladiezz don't you know?) It just seems like a book written for a specific audience that you can rely on to make that leap to "just know" what you mean because they've got an emotional bank of misunderstood years and moments to draw on. In short, it appeals to an "emotional truth" built on hundreds of pages of stories and studies that may or may not add up to anything at all. On the one hand, it's maybe okay to create a space for a "community" of sorts to feel and process some of that- on the other hand, it will drag down the overall quality of that work into something closer to a melancholy history crossed with a dinner party argument.

Therefore, despite its strengths, and despite the personal enjoyment and help that I have taken from the book at this particular time, I can't rate it as more than an above average read. An intellectualized comfort read for introverted professionals, really, if such a specialized category really exists. I can't rate it higher when I feel like one good scholarly journal review would take the whole theory down, especially when it feels like an argument for corporations to pay introverts more a lot of the time. Nonetheless, a lot of interesting questions asked, a lot of self-reflection inspired. Recommended for my fellow introverts if you're at a place where you feel like something like I described above might be helpful to you at this time. Otherwise, I'd say you could skip it or just watch her TED talk instead.
Profile Image for Fergus, Quondam Happy Face.
1,032 reviews17.7k followers
September 19, 2023
If you’re a member of Goodreads, chances are pretty good that you’re a bit of an Introvert!

Nothing wrong with that, cause you probably see and feel - intuitively - things that most extroverts can’t see or hear.

This book will let you know that we Introverts are INVALUABLE in an extroverted world: Places like the business world where our insights are KEY to responsible decision-making.

Extroverts shoot from the hip (watch out - they use Real bullets!) but often Shoot Off their Mouths, as well.

We can give balance, discretion and Wisdom (that’s Key) to their choices - cause often, they’re the senior managers we report to.

I once had an extremely affable team player as a boss. He took the flak for us middle managers when they vented their ire.

Alas - he eventually cracked under their brute force and left our organization.

I am happy to report that he ended up using his affable wisdom as a personal investment counsellor. I KNEW he had it in him to succeed. God bless him.

He was a “win/win solution” sort of mediator. A dove who just drowned in a shark-infested pool.

But towards the middle of his career, he imparted a VERY wise aperçu about my taking the flak from the ‘sharks’ lying down: for he simply said, “Fergus, you’re the Little Dutch Boy with his finger in the Dike!”

Remember that story?

Sure you do! I was Afraid of my own Shadow.

They were the best words I could have heard back then, and they echoed in my mind for years afterward.

And their moral?

We introverts Must Own our Shadows!

As an affable, insightful contributor to a brash bunch of extroverts’ decision-making.

My wonderful boss ALIENATED his shadows.

Don’t let that happen.


Be Fair, Firm and above all, FRIENDLY...

And then, GO FOR IT.

Don’t Wimp Out, like I did back then, cause...

Profile Image for Manny.
Author 30 books14k followers
May 31, 2018
[Original review, Dec 29 2016]

This book, which I had had recommended to me by many friends both on Goodreads and in real life, says plenty of useful and worthwhile things. Using the words not quite in the sense common among academic psychologists, Susan Cain distinguishes between "extroverts", whom she characterizes as loud, thick-skinned people who prioritise social interaction, assertiveness and gregariousness, and "introverts", quiet, thin-skinned people who prioritise sensitivity, harmony and understanding. She points out that a third to a half of all people are introverts; though many of them have learned how to masquerade successfully as extroverts, since American society encourages extrovert behavior to the point where many introverts feel there is something wrong with them. Why do they prefer to sit and read a book when they could be out making useful business contacts? Cain give reasons to believe that the difference between introversion and extroversion may well be related to underlying brain physiology, and hence beyond the individual's control. But more importantly, she argues that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being introverted. Society needs sensitive, risk-shy introverts just as much as it needs brash, risk-tolerant extroverts. In fact, it may need them more.

I find most of the above plausible, though I don't know enough about neurophysiology to be able to say how solid those parts are. What disquiets me most is that the book needed to be written in the first place. It seems to me to say more about modern American society than it does about the differences between introverts and extroverts. As Cain says, many societies - she particularly singles out Asian societies - do not place the same premium on extroverted behavior. If you're an Asian teen, it's regarded as normal to spend your time studying rather than partying. The same is true, though to a lesser extent, of many European societies.

Cain's approach is gentle and indirect, but she certainly succeeds in showing how grotesquely skewed the US has become. When a member of an evangelical church says he is only interested in recruiting extroverted people and adds that he's sure Jesus was extroverted, I can't help feeling that something has gone horribly wrong. Even more memorably and presciently (the book was published in 2012), Cain asks at one point how America could have got the idea that the ideal personality type is that of a successful real estate salesman.

How indeed?
[Update, May 31 2018]

A remarkable passage I just read in Gwendolyn Seidman's widely cited paper "Self-presentation and belonging on Facebook: How personality influences social media use and motivations" (2012):
Extraversion is related to several belongingness-related constructs. Extraverts have more friends, higher quality friendships (Asendorpf & Wilpers, 1998) and more satisfying romantic relationships than introverts (White, Hendrick, & Hendrick, 2004). Thus, it is unsurprising that extraversion is associated with greater Facebook use (Gosling, Augustine, Vazire, Holtzman, & Gaddis, 2011; Wilson, Fornasier, & White, 2010) and more friends (Amichai-Hamburger & Vinitzky, 2010; Moore & McElroy, 2012; Ryan & Xenos, 2011).
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
October 21, 2020
I am an introvert and PROUD!

I am sure this is not totally surprising considering my huge love of books and writing. I am also sure many users (if not most of us) are introverts here on Goodreads. And Susan Cain is one of us and she celebrates it.

This is a book about our strengths, and our weaknesses; it is a book about realising that although we do not fit the ideal model for success, we can still be dramatically successful given the right circumstances and a chance to shine. We are the creative thinkers and the critics. We are the over analysers. We are those that prefer to retire to the inner-workings of our own world when we’ve had enough of people and society. We are those that would rather think than talk. And that is our greatest weapon.

“There's zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.”

I am going to talk a little bit about me and my own experience. I have done jobs that are characteristically more suited to extroverts. For many years I worked as a theatre front of house manager, overseeing large teams in an extremely busy entertainment venue. I also worked as a running-shoe salesman in a top-end sports shop offering great customer service and advice. What made me effective in such roles was my ability to keep a level head and analyse the situations I was in and then make the best response after thinking things through. I lead from the back. My approach to management was always subtle, but it worked.

My point is, and Susan Cain’s point is, we can do all the same things extroverts can do. We will just do them a little bit differently. She does not say that introverts are better people. She does not say that the extrovert ideal is necessarily wrong. What she advocates for is another side of the story, another ideal and another type of person who can use what they have to their own advantage once they understand their worth.

“Don't think of introversion as something that needs to be cured.”

And this is so important to understand. We need to embrace our introvert nature because it makes us unique and more in control of our thoughts and emotions. I truly wish I understood this simple fact at a younger age because I spent many years miserable as a teen because my personality did not compute with what was considered ideal.

So, this is an excellent book and I feel that it will be of immense use to many people, not just introverts. In order to succeed as a species, we need to recognise – and celebrate – the simple fact that we are all uniquely different.

Some of the most brilliant of people have been introverts


You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan (Dasfill).
1,283 reviews2,451 followers
June 17, 2023

This is one of those books you may like while reading it if you are an introvert and will give it 4 of 5 stars if you review it soon after finishing it. But if you sit back and think about what the author wrote, you may have a totally different opinion.

I came to know about Susan Cain many years ago from her Ted talk about the power of introverts. A couple of weeks ago, I bought the latest book by the author called Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole. I finally picked up this book, so I can read the latest book after finishing this book, even though both are unrelated. After completing this book, I am now confused about whether to read her latest book.

This book starts by discussing about the advantage of extroverts. The author then shifted gears to discuss the benefit of introverts which in turn, unfortunately, landed in those gray areas of lambasting extroverts both directly and indirectly.

I felt the author was confused between introverts, mood disorders, and personality disorders in some areas. That is clearly reflected in the words she tries to explain about introverts. In some areas, she tried to mention some general topics that were not at all needed for a book about introverts, making it a poorly written self-help book in those parts. The author's lack of scientific knowledge regarding what she is trying to discuss is also reflected in multiple places in this book.

It is true that there are some good quotes in this book. The topic the author chose to discuss and even the title of the book was great. Still, I have to say that this is a poorly written, poorly edited, overrated book.

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Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
554 reviews60.6k followers
July 1, 2019
Very interesting non-fiction about introverts.

Definitely could relate with a lot that was said and loved learning more about the advantages of it and how to deal with being an introvert!
July 2, 2020

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Question: How do you know if someone is an introvert?

Answer: They're going to fucking tell you.

Right now, it's very popular to be an introvert. There are various introvert webcomics, TED talks about why introversion is so great, and numerous people who will tell you that they are an introvert and subject you to discussion and analysis of what this means with the same enthusiasm of someone who reads horoscopes. People confess to introversion with the same kind of humble bragginess as self-obsessed artists who roll their eyes when you compliment their art and say it was "just a sketch."

It's true that being quiet or shy (note: these are not the same thing) used to be considered a bad thing. I grew up at the height of "party culture," when all things club or frat were popular. Jersey Shore was on TV, skirts were short, hair was frosted, and everything was superficial and light. If you couldn't fizz and glitter like a sparkler in everyday conversation, you were weird and everyone hated you. I was weird, and people were not fans of me. I wore all black, read Anne Rice, and listened to Evanescence and The Cure while pondering why all of my classmates were idiots. My scorn probably didn't help, but there was absolutely no way at the time I could have fit it, or been happy doing so.

Skimming through the reviews, I noticed I was one of the few self-professed introverts who despised this book. I thought that was interesting, but it's not completely unforeseen. I actually self-describe as a "social introvert" or "false extrovert." People who meet me for the first time think I'm very extroverted. I can be very loud and chatty, and organize a lot of social events in my office or with friends. But I'm also very uncomfortable in certain social situations and as much as I enjoy being out, I'm sometimes secretly delighted when plans are canceled and enjoy spending time by myself.

It's been a while since my psychology days, but there is a chemical basis for introversion and extroversion. One of these lies in the sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous systems. People who are introverted have a lower threshold for being overstimulated, and when they reach that threshold, feel drained and must rest. People who are extroverted, on the other hand, have a lower threshold and need to seek out stimulation in order to get the bar up. If they don't get stimulation, they feel sluggish and depressed. I thought the neurotransmitter in question was dopamine, but a quick Google makes it look like the neurotransmitter in question is actually acetylcholine. #TIL

I have taken issue with a lot of these pop psychology books. I wasn't a fan of THE SBUTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F*CK, which seemed like the self-help version of snake oil, and recently also read SNAKES IN SUITS, which was like a Lifetime movie wearing science like it was a pretty dress. This one had a bit more science, but Susan Cain definitely spent way too much time cherry picking her arguments and the end result was me having a bad taste in my mouth and wanting to roll my eyes.

I guess I have a few take-away points here.

1. Introverts and extroverts serve different functions in society. Neither is an intrinsically good or bad trait, and they are not binary. Like many human characteristics, these exist on a spectrum.

2. We live in a social society, and acting antisocial to coddle your introversion makes you look, well, antisocial (confrontational, against society) instead of asocial, which is just wanting to be left alone.

3. It's probably true that a lot of introverts were responsible for inventions because they spent a lot of time alone, but this is not the only type of genius or the only form genius takes. As I said in point #1, humans exist on a spectrum, and there are many different shapes of brilliant minds out there.

4. People enjoy belonging to groups. That's why horoscopes are so popular, and why people post their Meyers-Briggs results on their dating websites. We live in an in-group vs. outgroup society - yes, you too, introverts, jeez - and enjoy feeling as though we belong. Introverts like calling themselves introverts because it makes them feel a bond with other introverts (seriously, just read the comments sections of any of the positive reviews for this book), which promotes bursts of probably dopamine.

5. The author seems to be claiming that extroverts have the natural advantage and are mean to introverts but then spends a big part of the book shitting all over them. Hypocrite.

At the end of the day, you should take books like these with a grain of salt. They're definitely more self-help geared than scientific, in my opinion,and a lot of the arguments and conclusions feel cherry-picked. Introverts may enjoy reading it while vigorously patting themselves on the back, but we as a society are moving in a direction where this is starting to feel kind of redundant and narcissistic.

1 star
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
3,005 reviews10.6k followers
September 27, 2016
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking is about being an introvert in today's society.

Confession time: I'm a tremendous introvert. I know you're all thinking something along the lines of "What? A guy who reads constantly and writes over a hundred book reviews a year is an introvert?" Shocking but true. I could easily go days without human contact. At parties, I'm the guy hanging out near the food or snooping through the host's books or medicine cabinet. I could go into more detail but since I have a feeling most Goodreaders are also introverts, I'll skip it.

Basically, the book is a flashing neon sign that says it's okay to be an introvert. Susan Cain chronicles her own struggles as an introvert, as well as showing how America went from being about character to about personality, right around the time movies and TV started getting popular. It covers introverts in all areas, like corporate America, and how introverts are treated in other societies. There's a lengthy section on raising introvert kids, which a lot of parents could use instead of shoving their kids into the shark-infested extrovert waters.

Honestly, I could have used this book as a teenager, when people were constantly badgering me to go out more. Scientific discoveries and works of art are rarely made by people who are constantly talking. Cain covers topics like being an introvert in the business world, where people who talk the loudest get their way more often than not, something I see every day in cubeland.

Actually, the book gave me insight into the behavior of some of my family. Until he retired, my dad was crabbier than Red Foreman all the time. I used to think he was just an angry asshole but now I think he was an introvert with nowhere to unwind. Now that he's retired, I see how much alike we are. He's actually pretty friendly as long as the visits don't go too long.

Susan Cain's writing style is engaging. I felt the repeated examples may have padded the book a bit.
While I felt validated by reading it, sometimes it felt like a book a kid named Matthew, who happened to be missing a finger, wrote about how nine-fingered Matthews are the best at everything. I liked it but most of what Cain says seemed pretty obvious. There are no mind-blowing revelations for introverts within. I do recommend extroverts read it, however. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Profile Image for Grumpus.
498 reviews247 followers
April 17, 2015
What an affirmation! While listening to this book, I was constantly reminded of Al Franken’s Saturday Night Live character, Stuart Smalley, and his mantra, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” Well, those who understand me do. Full disclosure, according to the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, I’m an ISFJ.

There were so many points of affirmation for me—things I intuitively knew. Things I’ve tried to share with others mostly to no avail. This book supplies all the data I need to support my case. Unfortunately, I don’t think the people who need to read/listen this book (extroverts) will.

The book is not an “introverts are superior” diatribe but rather an explanation of how we can leverage personality types most effectively. There is no right or best personality type but like life in general, we need to understand each other for more harmonious relationships. Whether these relationships are family, work, or social, applications of understanding are documented throughout the book.

There was one example in the book that hit particularly close to home. Although SAT or IQ scores do not support it, people who talk more are perceived as leaders. And, which personality type talks more? Extroverts. Now, assume that both extroverts and introverts have an equal amount of good ideas. Who is going to get their way more? Extroverts. This could be dangerous because they’re going to get their way more meaning that many of their bad ideas are also going to be implemented.

Oh, another thing I intuitively knew but now have support for is brainstorming sessions. Studies show the larger the number of people involved in a session, the less effective they are. A 9-member group is less effective than a 6-member group which is less than effective than a 4-member group which is less effective than a 2-member group. The suggestion is to conduct brainstorming sessions electronically. Collect comments and then share them anonymously and build from there. One of the reasons is that most introverts are better writers than speakers.

Other examples from the business world give tips for how both introverted and extroverted leaders can best work with their subordinates of each type. Take advantage of each of their strengths. Such as how studies show that introverts “inspect” and extroverts “react”. Neither adjective should be taken as derogatory but instead as strengths. Allow introverts time to examine and solve. Studies show they are more persistent trying to solve unsolvable problems. The famous introvert, Albert Einstein said, “It is not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” My hero.

A final word on the narration—fantastic. If you have the opportunity to listen rather than read this book, I would strongly recommend going with the audio format. Kathe Mazur does a perfect narration in a “Quiet”, calm, soothing voice. Very appropriate “in a noisy world that can’t stop talking”.

Profile Image for Felicia.
Author 46 books128k followers
May 24, 2013
As you can see, i've been mixing up my reading lately, THIS ISN'T ROMANCE YAY!

Quiet is a fascinating book about the prejudice that our society faces against introverts, and why it's unfounded, and how, as an introvert, you can overcome that, as well as just KNOW yourself better. I never really classified myself as such before, but reading this, I understand why, if I'm exhausted, all I want to be is alone, and how I'm extroverted only when I can control my environment and how that's a THING! If you're shy or are unsure, this is a great read. I think you'll discover something about yourself, that's why I've recommended to a lot of people lately!
Profile Image for Brigid ✩.
581 reviews1,818 followers
July 31, 2013

You can also read this review on Flying Kick-a-pow! Reviews

This is a bit different from what I typically read and review. I don't often read non-fiction, but when my mom got this out of the library and I read the inside flap, I knew I would have to give it a shot. It sounded like something I could relate to and possibly benefit from … and it was. As soon as I started it, I was totally engrossed. And as I made my way through the entire thing, I felt like I was learning more and more about myself.

My whole life I've been an introvert. I keep to myself more than the people around me do. I tend to prefer reading/writing to partying. I'm very self-conscious about speaking; when I talk in front of a bunch of unfamiliar people, I stumble over my words and blush and feel like a moron … hence, I usually opt not to speak at all unless someone forces me to and/or speaks to me first.

I've grown used to labels like "shy" and "quiet," to the rude questions like "Can you talk?", "Do you speak English?", and "Have you been in this class the whole year?" The confrontations and notes from teachers/professors are expected by now. "You need to speak up more in class," "Don't be shy!" etc.

Just thinking about it right now makes me want to punch a wall. People act as if it's some magical switch I can turn on and off. They think I don't talk much because I'm incompetent, because I'm lazy, because I'm a bitch, because I think I'm better than everyone else. People who know me well can see I'm none of those things (at least, I hope I'm not), but for a lot of people it seems to be a challenge to understand that. It's not that I blame them, because I think it's hard to comprehend what it's like to be an introvert if you haven't experienced it yourself. But still, it's frustrating.

What makes being an introvert so hard is that––especially in the US––we are held up to what Susan Cain calls the "Extrovert Ideal." That is, we are told our whole lives that the "ideal" person is an extrovert––outgoing, confident, well-spoken, etc. Extroverted people are thought of as being more important, more authoritative, and more attractive. If you are a shy, you are more likely to be seen as weak, a pushover, a bad leader, an awkward/unattractive person. We're constantly told that in order to succeed, we need to stand up for ourselves, push others out of the way, be the loudest, take the most risks. If you're a shy/introverted person, you are constantly told that you need to change––that if you continue to be quiet, you're never going to get anywhere in life. You won't get a good job, you won't succeed, no one will want to date you ... you name it.

Needless to say, I hate being shy. I'm tired of always being told that I need to speak up more, that I just have to be more confident. It's like, do you think I want to be this way? Do you think I enjoy not being able to say what I want to say, that I feel totally idiotic every time I open my mouth, that I don't even want people to look at me because I'm so self-conscious? Trust me, if I could, I would be more confident. If I could just shut off all the thoughts in my head, I would gladly speak up more often.

But I've always felt like my brain just wasn't wired that way. People act as if it's as easy as just speaking up, that the leap from being introverted to being extraverted is as easy as, "You know what? I'm just not going to be shy today! Yay!"

And … yeah. It's not like that at all. It's like, when I'm surrounded by people I don't (or only barely) know, I just go on lockdown. My mind doesn't generate things to say. My mouth refuses to open. I just completely freeze up. And it's not that I don't want to participate in the conversation. I wish talking was easy for me. I do want to contribute. Yet, there's this voice in my head telling me to not say anything, and to just sit back and observe.

So, obviously, this is a very frustrating trait to have. It holds me back in a lot of social situations. I have trouble making friends (although I do have friends, so don't worry). I've managed to live for two decades without ever having a boyfriend. My grades have suffered. So on and so forth.

I've struggled with this my whole life, I constantly beat myself up about it … I've always wondered what the hell was wrong with me. Why couldn't I just magically gain some confidence? Why couldn't I just suck it up and be a more social person?

I've spent my whole life trying to find something to blame, some reason why I've always been like this. Is it because I'm part of a large family, and therefore I've always felt like I should just keep my problems to myself? Is it because I grew up in such an academically competitive town where there was too much pressure to be the star student?

Of course, there must be various contributing factors. But according to Cain's book, it may be due more to nature than to nurture than we may think.

Cain discusses several studies that relate introversion/extroversion to sensitivity. And apparently, people with more active amygdalae––a part of the brain that plays a significant role in processing memory and emotional reactions––are far more likely to be introverts. People fall roughly into two groups: "high reactive" and "low reactive." If you are a more high reactive individual, you are more likely to:

- React more strongly to stimuli––new sounds, meeting new people, seeing disturbing images, etc.
- Be more empathetic towards other people
- Be very observational, notice small details
- React more emotionally to artwork/music/books/etc.
- Be more prone to emotional problems like anxiety/depression
- Be very sensitive about what other people think of you, and therefore become timid in social situations where you don't know many people

This isn't to say, of course, that more low reactive people don't experience these things, it's just that it tends to happen on a lower scale for them because their amygdalae are not as sensitive. Also, high reactive does not automatically equal introverted and low reactive doesn't automatically equal extroverted, but research suggests a strong correlation between the two traits.

But what's most important to realize about levels of reactivity is that they can't be controlled. Cain discusses one study in which infants were tested for how reactive they were to stimuli––and a majority of high-reactive infants grew up to be introverts, while the low-reactive infants tended to grow up to be extroverts. It's studies such as these that suggest we don't choose introversion or extroversion; they are built into our DNA.

One can easily fake one or the other. That is, you can be an introvert and still speak a lot and socialize frequently––it's just that, as an introvert, you will be more drained by social interaction. Because introverts are often more high-reactive individuals and therefore react more strongly to stimuli, a room of new faces is much more exhausting to process than it would be for someone who is more low-reactive.

I could go on and on about this, but of course––if you want to learn more, I highly suggest reading this book. There's a lot of fascinating information about the subject.

Quiet seriously changed the way I think about myself. I still dislike being shy and introverted for many reasons. But after reading this, I also know that I might not have the same creative and observant traits that I have now, if I were extroverted instead. And more importantly, I know that it isn't my fault for being this way––and that millions of people face the same struggle that I do. I don't know if I can say that I really accept who I am, at least not yet. But at least I feel like I understand it a lot better.

Over all, I think this book is well-written and well-researched, and Cain narrates it with heart and humor––drawing from her own experience as an introvert alongside her studies of the subject. I thought Quiet was brilliant, and I recommend it to introverts and extroverts alike.

~ Flying Kick-a-pow! Reviews ~
Profile Image for carol..
1,576 reviews8,241 followers
March 1, 2018
Shhh, I'm taking some quiet time.

Kidding! I'll be honest. I avoided this book the first time it appeared, when the buzz had it popping up all over. But my introversion has been more than a bit disrespected lately and I was feeling a need for some affirmation. Alas, I'm not sure I found much helpful here.

Part One is 'The Extrovert Ideal,' and looks at how the change from the 18th century ideal of personality to 20th century cult of personality emphasized extroversion as a valuable workplace trait. I liked the concept of the two, as the cultural evolution from one to the other makes a great deal of sense, but I'm not sure how accurate that may be. I feel like Americans--and perhaps everyone--has always been responsive to extroverted, charismatic people. Actually, that highlights an error in Cain's thinking, that she frequently conflates traits. To give her credit, she admits from the beginning that there is no uniform definition of 'introversion.' At page 11, she finally defines her terms, but she unfortunately tends to define them in terms of examples:

"Still, today's psychologist tend to agree on several important points: for example, that introverts and extroverts differ in the level of outside stimulation that they need to function well. Introverts feel 'just right' with less stimulation, as when they sip wine with a close friend, solve a crossword puzzle, or read a book. Extroverts enjoy the extra bang that comes from activities like meeting new people, skiing slippery slopes, and cranking up the stereo.... Many psychologists would also agree that introverts and extroverts work differently. Extroverts tend to tackle assignments quickly. They make fast (sometimes rash) decisions, and are comfortable multitasking and risk-taking... Introverts often work more slowly and deliberately. They like to focus on one task at a time and can have mighty powers of concentration. They're relatively immune to the lures of wealth and fame."

It's some slippery stuff, because she ends up conflating a number of characteristics, and that's where it can get really fuzzy. This lack of specificity also means relying on anecdotes of how introversion is a helpful trait. Later in the book, she does bring in studies about 'reactivity,' a genetic-based trait that she prefers to call, 'sensitivity.' I've seen the term before, in The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, and a lot of it comes from research on reactiveness/responsiveness to stimulation and how that is then interpreted. To be sure, it's interesting stuff, but it doesn't necessarily apply to all introverts, as she points out, "about 70% of sensitive people are [introverts]" (page 145).

After backtracking to explain the evolutionary basis for selection of sensitivity, she then attempts to tie sensitivity and conscientiousness together. It's a thin, tenuous line to get from introverted to evolutionary sensitivity to conscientiousness and then imply that that's the kind of person you want in your company. As singular issues, each of these is well-presented. She usually cites one researcher and gives an example of a famous person who changed the world with this trait (Eleanor Roosevelt represented the introverted, sensitive and conscientious person). But it feels like both sloppy logic and false aggrandizement. As an introvert, I no more want to be 'special' for these qualities that presumably go with my genetic and personality tendencies than I want to be disrespected.

For no particularly good reason, except the fact that it described me better than I've ever been described before, I'm actually a fan of the Jungian-based personality assessment. I think I particularly responded to the Jungian analysis because rather than the two-axis basis, there's other traits that also affect how we interact with the world. I actually think there's quite a continuum between introversion and extroversion, and that these tendencies can be modified by learning, as Cain rightly points out in Section Two.

So, about Quiet. I don't think it really added anything to my understanding on introversion and extroversion. In fact, I think it fell into a more extroverted (as she would say) analysis of having to prove the worth of the trait and using famous figures to support her examples only added to that perception.

Quiet didn't give me the acknowledgement I was looking for, really, just a lot of cheerleading that I'm (still) a good person for being an introvert. Hopefully, for those new to discovering their introversion, this might encourage them to both understand and respect their approach. Just don't look for many tips.

Read this book if:

1) You suspect/know you are an introvert but feel badly about it
2) You are an extrovert who doesn't get why introverts don't just get out more.

For a more rigorous analysis, check out Kelly's review:

Profile Image for Yvonne.
21 reviews5 followers
January 20, 2012
Thank you, Susan Cain, for writing this remarkable book! As an introvert who has always been regarded as not only quiet, but also timid and weak, this book is very refreshing. It puts into words what many introverts know intuitively; strength does not have to be loud, in your face, or aggressive. Strength and conviction can present themselves quietly without sacrificing effectiveness. Through impressive research, Ms. Cain clearly demonstrates the importance of both personality types and the value of introversion. I only wish that I could have read this book when I was younger so that I would have been more confident and accepting of my own nature. After reading it now, I do feel that I can better articulate the importance of my role in society and take pride in the contributions that introverts have made throughout history.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.8k followers
January 10, 2019
ive seen this book pop up on my feed quite a bit recently and, even though i read it years ago, i cant believe i never posted a review for it! better late than never. lol.

a quick google search will show that anywhere between 25-40% of the worlds population are introverts and i feel so proud to be considered part of such an outstanding group. this book didnt necessarily teach me anything i didnt already know about myself, but it was very neat to see how i can turn my introvertedness into a strength, especially when so many consider a more reserved nature to be a sign of weakness. and because i could relate to literally everything in this book, i have constantly returned to it from time to time over the years, revisiting marked pages, highlights, and notes i made when i first read it.

i found this is to be a very informative, eye-opening and thoroughly researched book. its a definite must read for all of my fellow introverts!!

4 stars
Profile Image for Diane.
1,081 reviews2,720 followers
April 26, 2015
This book blew my mind. I loved it so much that I wish I could give a copy to all of my friends and relatives.

Susan Cain does an excellent job of explaining the different strengths between introverts and extroverts, and the history of how America came to idealize extroverts. I agree that as a society we tend to value the gregarious go-getters, the loud talkers, the forceful presenters.

But Cain's book reminds us that societies need introverts, too — the thinkers, the listeners, the people who look before leaping. The long, long, long list of introverts in history includes: Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, George Orwell, Marcel Proust, J. K. Rowling, Lewis Carroll, W. B. Yeats, Warren Buffet, Steve Wozniak, Charles Schultz, Al Gore, Rosa Parks, Gandhi...

As an introvert, I found the book comforting and inspiring. But extroverts who are in relationships with introverts or who are parents of an introvert would also do well to read this book. The author has good tips for how to handle introverts, especially children.

"Love is essential. Gregariousness is optional ... Use your natural powers -- of persistence, concentration, insight and sensitivity -- to do work you love and work that matters. Solve problems, make art, think deeply. Figure out what you are meant to contribute to the world and make sure you contribute it."

Update April 2015
I read this book about two years ago, and I think it has been the most influential book I've read in years. Cain's book profoundly changed how I viewed myself, others, and our various roles in society. I have recommended this book to numerous friends, and some of them commented on how grateful they were to have read it. I will add managers and supervisors to the list of people who I think should read this book, because it helps to explain some workplace and group dynamics. While the writing isn't perfect (I remember Cain meanders a bit), I'm leaving my rating at 5 stars because of how powerful and inspirational this book has been.
Profile Image for Julie .
4,081 reviews59k followers
August 31, 2016
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain is a 2012 Crown publication.

I’ve seen Susan Cain’s ‘Ted Talks’, video and knew I would have to read her book, it was just a matter of fitting it into my schedule.

As an extreme introvert, this book definitely feels like a form of validation. See? There is nothing wrong with me. There are other people out there just like me, who avoid social situations at all cost, would rather take a good beating than speak publicly, who feel drained after social occasions, and who must have alone time.

There are people who, like myself, tried to fake an extrovert personality, but were miserable because it. In a world that is increasingly group oriented, that recognizes the loud, outspoken, forceful personality over the quiet, soft spoken, unassuming temperament, this book is a Godsend.

But, while the book explains the tendencies of the introvert and offers some theories on how people develop this type of temperament, and how to cope and compromise in order to fulfill your job duties and family obligations without suffering an overabundance of anxiety or develop depression or a dependence on medication, this book is also a must read for extroverts!

Yes, that’s right… extroverts should read this book too, so they can understand that colleague, sibling, or spouse, or child who is quiet, craves alone time, avoids social situations, and would rather not waste time on small talk.

How can employers create a workplace setting that brings out the best of both temperaments? Many people work better and are far more productive when working alone, and have much to contribute, but are often drowned out by the constant cacophony surrounding them.

While I agree with nearly everything the author writes, most of the scientific studies and analogies were only moderately interesting and highly debatable. I don’t know if I agreed with all those findings, and this particular section of the books was just a little bit dull.

Not everything mentioned here will pertain to every single person who identifies as an introvert. Taking the informal quiz, I answered nearly every question with ‘Yes’, but there were several traits that I do not own, so this is not a ‘one size fits all’ course, and doesn’t try to be, but I think the author covered a tremendous amount of relevant material any introvert can use and relate to.

I would not consider this book a ‘self-help’ book, but the author included a few tips and exercises one can use to ease social anxiety and learn to work in groups and speak publicly. There is also a section for parents who may worry about an introverted child, and how to encourage that child, not change them.

Overall, I am so happy to see the problems introverts face in an extroverted world, addressed and brought to the forefront.

4 stars
Profile Image for Julie.
Author 6 books1,865 followers
August 4, 2016
Once upon a time there was a woman who dreaded the staff meeting roundtable, when each person had to share what was good or bad or on their professional plate that week or in their personal life. All five, nine, fifteen pairs of eyes would be upon her as she forced her voice to carry down the table, knocking off as few words as she could to express, “Everything’s great!” before turning her flushed face to the colleague beside her. This same woman could take the stage before an audience in the hundreds at a conference and deliver a speech with poise, loving every moment she was in the spotlight.

She’d spin around her shopping cart to avoid meeting an acquaintance in the produce department at the grocery store, then host a wine dinner that night for twenty strangers, her joy bubbling as much as the Champagne she poured, explaining to the assembled crowd the difference between méthode traditionelle and transfer method of production. She could spend hours waiting tables at a busy restaurant, engaging in happy grace and good humor with dozens of customers, but the thought of a Friday night party at a friend’s, hanging out in a kitchen drinking beer with a few people from work? She’d feign a sudden flu or a last-minute family obligation to avoid hours of mindless chatter.

That I am an introvert is not news to me. I can’t recall when I first took the Myers-Briggs personality type test, but I should have INFJ tattooed on my forehead, for the results never waver. And at some point, I got the message that being an introvert doesn't mean I'm shy, for I am not; it doesn't mean I'm not a risk-taker, for I am, or that I don’t form deep personal attachments, for I have many. What it does mean, among many things, is that socializing wears me out. I abhor chitchat, loud people, group projects and “going out.” It means I love to lose myself in solitary endeavors. It means I love process, not reward.

It means I’d rather just sit and listen. And when I have something to say, please be patient. I’m not a fast talker, I pause a lot, searching for just the right word. And even then you’ll probably have to strain to hear me. Unless I’ve thoroughly rehearsed my responses, I’ll never deliver my thoughts with articulate confidence.

There are parts of Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking that made me laugh, even as tears stung my eyes. Knowing that I prefer to be alone—that I have little tolerance for casual social situations—never released me from feeling that I needed to overcome my social awkwardness and impatience, my thin skin and tendency to fret about the future and things beyond my control. I thought these were faults, not characteristics of a personality type shared by millions, most of us existing in contemplative, considerate silence.

Through research, anecdotal interviews and personal experiences, Cain explores the ways introverted personalities manifest themselves in the workplace and personal relationships. The section on “highly-sensitive” people struck home.
The highly sensitive tend to be philosophical or spiritual in their orientation, rather than materialistic or hedonistic. They dislike small talk. They often describe themselves as creative or intuitive. They love music, nature, art, physical beauty. They feel exceptionally strong emotions—sometimes acute bouts of joy, but also sorrow, melancholy, and fear. They are highly empathetic…with thinner boundaries separating them from other people’s emotions and from the tragedies and cruelties of the world
Yes, please. Reading this, I realized one of the reasons I tend to shut myself off and away is because I am overwhelmed by my own helplessness to change the world. I take things so personally and feel them so deeply that I become frozen in place, not knowing how to translate feeling into action.

When Cain discusses her professional epiphany, I had another laugh/cry moment. Hers was realizing that she was never cut out to be a corporate lawyer; mine, a university and corporate administrator. There are many aspects of our professions in which we excelled, rising quickly through the ranks. But neither of us is cut out for committee work, for schmoozing and glad-handing, for blowing our own horn—all required in legal circles, ivory towers and boardrooms. I loved the one-on-one time I spent counseling students, building relationships with individual faculty, developing administrative processes and procedures, doing research and yes, presenting at conferences and leading workshops, for which I rehearsed and prepared weeks in advance.

But I knew I’d never rise to the ranks of the one in charge; I simply wasn’t built for the social demands and networking required of a Director. So, for fifteen years I left job after job just at the pinnacle of power and success—always the Bridesmaid, never the Bride. I never really knew why, except that something was inherently wrong with me.

At last, I accept nothing is wrong with me; denying myself the opportunity to advance was recognition that moving up meant moving into roles for which I was constitutionally not suited.

Now I am a writer. And a happy little clam. I work to create niches of social balance to avoid complete isolation—I belong to a book club, a writer’s group, I volunteer, meet friends for coffee. Social media is a great release for me, because I only talk when I want to, I have all the time in the world to construct my thoughts (which I can edit later!) and no one is looking at me as I speak. Quiet has given me permission not to regard my limited in-person social circle as evidence of a failure of personality, but as respect given to my true nature: “Love is essential: gregariousness is optional.”

In some ways, working through the theories and examples in this book is exhausting and dispiriting—if I’d had a better understanding of how I function best, would I have made different choices? Yet, the most important choices I’ve made—excelling at and loving parts of my profession that I’m built for and not being swayed by extrinsic rewards to pursue paths for which I am not; the dogged determination that puts me in front of a keyboard every day with few indications that I will be able to make a living doing what I love—I’ve stuck to my temperament. My life’s path hasn’t been without its stumbles, but even without knowing quite what makes me tick, I've been true to my nature. This is Cain’s consistent and loudest message, delivered with the gentle power of an introvert.

A Manifesto for Introverts (from Quiet)
1. There’s a word for “people who are in their heads too much”: Thinkers.
2. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation.
3. The next generation of quiet kids can and must be raised to know their own strengths.
4. Sometimes it helps to be a pretend extrovert. There will always be time to be quiet later.
5. But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is key to finding work you love and work that matters.
6. One genuine new relationship is worth a fistful of business cards.
7. It’s OK to cross the street to avoid making small talk.
8. “Quiet leadership” is not an oxymoron.
9. Love is essential; gregariousness is optional.
10. “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Mahatma Ghandi

Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews50 followers
May 5, 2022
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Susan Cain

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. 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.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «سکوت: قدرت درون‌گراها در دنیایی که از حرف زدن باز نمی‌ایستد»؛ «سکوت: قدرت درون‌‌گراها در دنیایی که بی‌وقفه حرف می‌زند»؛ «قدرت سکوت: ‏‫قدرت درونگراها در جهانی که قادر نیست از سخن گفتن باز ایستد!»؛ «سکوت: قدرت درون‌گراها در جهانی که از سخن گفتن نمی‌ایستد!»؛ «سکوت»؛ نویسنده سوزان کین؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هشتم ماه سپتامبر سال2017میلادی

عنوان: سکوت: قدرت درون‌گراها در دنیایی که از حرف زدن باز نمی‌ایستد؛ نویسنده سوزان کین؛ مترجمها نرگس جوادیان‌قمی، نعيمه اعتدال‌مهر؛ تهران، انتشارات منظومه نگاران؛ سال1393؛ در292ص؛ شابک9786009433605؛ موضوع درونگرایی و برونگرایی - روابط بین اشخاص، از نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده21م

عنوان: سکوت: قدرت درون‌‌گراها در دنیایی که بی‌وقفه حرف می‌زند؛ نویسنده: سوزان کین؛ مترجم: سیمین موحد؛ تهران کتابسرای تندیس‏‫، سال1395؛ در366ص؛ شابک9786001821929؛ چاپ دوم سال1396؛ چاپ سوم سال197؛‮‬

عنوان: قدرت سکوت: ‏‫قدرت درونگراها در جهانی که قادر نیست از سخن گفتن باز ایستد!؛ نویسنده: سوزان کین‏‫؛ مترجم ناهید سپهرپور؛ ویراستار طاهره خیرآبادی؛ تهران نوین توسعه؛ سال1395؛ در389ص؛ شابک9786009684311؛ چاپ دوم سال1397؛

عنوان: سکوت: قدرت درون‌گراها در جهانی ��ه از سخن گفتن نمی‌ایستد!؛ نویسنده: سوزان کین؛ مترجم درسا عظیمی؛ تهران البرز‏‫، سال1393؛ در373ص؛ شابک9789644428982؛ چاپهای دوم و سوم سال1395؛ چاپهای چهارم و پنجم سال1396؛ ‬چاپهای ششم و هفتم سال1397؛

عنوان: سکوت؛ نویسنده: سوزان کین؛ مترجم: روح‌اله صادقی؛ کرج، در دانش بهمن، سال1395؛ در460ص؛ شابک9789641741978؛

فهرست: «دیدگاه‌هایی پیرامون کتاب قدرت سکوت»؛ «یادداشت نویسنده»؛ «پیش گفتار»؛ «دو قطب شمال و جنوب خلق و خو»؛
بخش اول: برون‌گرای ایده‌آل؛ 1- ظهور «همکار دوست داشتنی توانمند؛ چگونه برون‌گرایی به ایده‌آل فرهنگی تبدیل شد»؛ 2- «افسانه‌ی رهبری کاریزماتیک؛ فرهنگ شخصیت محور، صد سال بعد»؛ 3- «وقتی همکاری خلاقیت را از بین می‌برد؛ ظهور تفکر گروهی جدید و قدرت کار کردن به تنهایی»؛
بخش دوم: بیولوژی شما، خویشتن شما؟ 4- «آیا خلق و خوی ما سرنوشت ماست؟ ذات، تربیت و فرضیه‌ی ارکید»؛ 5- «فراتر از خلق و خو؛ نقش اراده‌ی آزاد (و راز سخنرانی در جمع برای درون‌گراها)»؛ 6- «فرانکلین سیاست‌مدار بود، اما النور براساس وجدان سخن می‌گفت؛ چرا به خونسردها بیش از حد بها داده می‌شود؟»؛ 7- «چرا وال استریت سقوط کرد و وارن بافت ترقی کرد؟ چگونه درون‌گراها و برون‌گراها به نحو متفاوتی می‌اندیشند (و دوپامین تولید می‌کنند)»؛
بخش سوم: آیا همه ‌ی فرهنگ‌ها برون‌گرایی ایده ‌آل را دارند؟ 8- «قدرت نرم؛ آسیایی–آمریکایی‌ها و برون‌گرای ایده‌آل؛ بخش چهارم: چگونه عشق بورزیم، چگونه کار کنیم»؛ 9- «چه زمانی باید خودتان را برون‌گراتر از آنچه واقعاً هستید، نشان دهید؟»؛ 10- «شکاف ارتباطی؛ چگونه با تیپ شخصیتی مخالف خود صحبت کنیم؟»؛ 11- «پینه‌دوزها و ژنرال‌ها؛ چگونه بچه‌های ساکت را در جهانی که نمی‌تواند صدای آن‌ها را بشنود پرورش دهیم؟»؛
نتیجه: «سرزمین عجایب»؛ «یادداشتی در وصف فداکاری»؛ «یادداشتی درباره واژه‌های درونگرا و برونگرا»؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 13/04/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 14/02/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews632 followers
January 3, 2016
Update: Solid 5 stars..( Jan. 3rd 2016)...
I had a reason for a 4.9 rating years ago..
I still believe what I wrote ... however..
this book is a lifetime favorite book!!!
I had a conversation about it just yesterday.
I can get very charged up about this book.
When I've purged giving books away.. I've always 'kept' this one for myself ( yet I've bought extra copies a few times and have given it as a gift).
I feel everyone benefits from this book..'everyone' ... and the process of reading it is a fabulous journey too!

Rating: 4.9. Why not a solid 5 star rating? At 'times' I felt the author (an introvert herself), painted a slanted side of the extrovert. [these were just 'small' between-the-line-gut-feelings I felt 'sensitive to']....
This book is 'excellent'. Its interesting as can be -informative-important- and enjoyable.
...A fast read even 'with' sitting at a table taking notes. (I took 8 long pages of notes)-- it was pure 'joy'....(engaging with this topic). Much to think about, to remember, to discuss.

Our book club will talk about this book together Oct. 20th (can't wait).

All teachers and parents would benefit from reading this book.
*Everyone* would benefit reading this book!

I'd suggest this book to EVERYONE!!!
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,107 followers
February 10, 2017
Most of this, to be honest, is self-explanatory, but the rest is a fairly comprehensive exploration of how extroversion became a public ideal back in the 1920's, replacing the power of character with personality and the social stigma that has ever since been placed upon people who don't seem vibrant and ebullient.

It shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone that 1/3 to 1/2 of all people are introverts, but because we live in a society that places a premium on everything non-introverted, most of us have to fake it to make it, and with that comes exhaustion and misunderstanding, whether with our bosses, our intimates, or with ourselves and our own natures.

This book tells us to relax. Be ourselves. Value what you value and understand that some people aren't naturally conflict avoidant, that they like to express anger, surround themselves with a bunch of shallow social jostlers, and that we oughtn't judge our extroverted peers when they jump into decision-making strategies that sink ships and endanger the lives of everyone around them just because they couldn't be bothered to think things through before opening their damn mouths.

And please don't judge all the sheep that are impressed by the aggressive blowhards and follow on their every word because they're just so damn charismatic, either.

It's okay to think and spend some time alone from others. Really. It might just be the salvation of the world if enough of us just throw off the yoke of social expectations or the stigma of shyness and just get prepared, build up all our talents and reserves in peace, and strike when the time is perfect. We're not unobservant, after all. We just have little patience for bullshit.

And even if society has taught us to lie our asses off whenever we're expected to be gregarious and social in all those damn shallow ways that others tell us are the only way to make it in this world, don't despair. The High Social Monitoring we do is a coping mechanism that we've had to develop PRECISELY because we're considered social pariahs.

Oh, and GoodReads is a hotbed for a grass-roots introvert revolution. I don't think anyone here will have any real difficulty cultivating contacts and building their networking, because, after all, we're all discussing things that are very important to us and we're diving deep into the material, wallowing in our talents and our passions, and when we rise,

And Oh! We will Rise!

We will rise like the phoenix from the ashes of social scorn and we will scour the world of all those who would ever deny us our right to sit in silence to read our favorite book or sit in silence to write a chapter in our next brilliant novel.

We Will Overcome!

(Aside: Some interpretations of this book are mine only and should not be associated with the author.)
Profile Image for Christine.
596 reviews1,179 followers
October 12, 2020
Awesome, awesome book! I’ve been sitting on this one since 2014. It’s been off and on my TBR several times over the last 6 years. This year I have read all Net Galley books, Libby books, and read-for-review books. I thought it was time to pick one of the 953 (no kidding—hangs head in shame) e-books sitting on my kindle and this is what I selected. Boy did I get a winner. Go me!

OK, so yes, I’m a big introvert. Though this book discusses both introverts and extroverts, there is a bit more emphasis on introverts. Despite that, I think it will be a fascinating read for everyone no matter how you identify.

Ms. Cain, a self-proclaimed introvert, has an “insatiable curiosity” for human nature (her words). She is also an acclaimed author, has a Harvard law school degree, and has given innumerable talks (and was terrified before each one). She has won a host of awards. She recorded a smashing TED talk that has been viewed 14 million times and was named by Bill Gates as one of his all-time favorite talks.

This book kept me flipping the pages as if it were a Mark Edwards suspense novel. Ms. Cain lays out the results of a number of research studies (NOT boring) and dissects for us the traits of introverts and extroverts and how these traits are perceived by others and can propel one through life. The narrative is full of individual “cases”, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Warren Buffet, and regular people of all ages and how their introvertism has affected their lives. I now understand a lot more about myself and why I feel or think things that I could not understand before. Plus, I feel pretty darn proud to be an introvert.

There is SO much more to this book. It is such a compelling treatise that it approaches being a “must read,” in my opinion, for everyone who interacts with other people. Which is, well…. everyone. Oh, and I’m glad this book is on my kindle where it will forever sit as I know I will refer to all my saved highlights time and again.

Finally, a special shoutout to Gunjan, whose review finally got me to read this one.
Profile Image for Heidi The Reader.
1,389 reviews1,470 followers
August 7, 2016
Quiet entered my life at a particularly low moment. Allow me to set the scene: I had been on vacation for a week and a half. We were in Colorado, visiting my husband's family, some of whom I had met before, others whom I had not. I knew I wasn't going to be entirely comfortable being around people the whole trip- I'm a huge introvert and I'm self aware enough to know that I need downtime, and quite a bit of it, to feel as if I'm functioning normally. But I didn't realize that my husband, who is just as introverted as I am and who I was counting on to help me through all of the introductions, dinners, conversations, etc, was going to immerse himself in Pokemon Go a majority of the time and essentially leave me to my own devices. As Susan Cain would say, he found a "restorative niche" for himself in a digital world. It was hard on me as I didn't have that escape.

So, here we are, visiting a friend's home and my daughter, who strangely enough is a huge extrovert (the exact opposite of her parents), is struggling. She's tired, out-of-sorts, and throwing a sulk every ten minutes. I'm meeting yet more people, trying to hold trite conversations, and steer my child, all the while just wanting to retreat into a cave and not talk to anyone for a very long time. Honestly, I felt that way before we reached the party, but things seemed to get much, much worse the moment we arrived. It had been building over the course of the vacation, but that day, my internal clamor reached a boiling point. My husband was oblivious to my growing discomfort as he's catching Pokemon, again. (I don't mean to sound bitter here, but I suppose that I am.) I had forced myself for ten days to be social, keep the smile on my face, keep everything flowing smoothly. To my horror, I realize that I am about to have a panic attack in the middle of this crowd of people, more than half of whom I don't even know. I grab my keys and leave.

I drive a couple blocks away, castigating myself for not being able to handle it and just pissed because, once again, like many times in my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, I feel like I'm failing at life because I'm not a social butterfly. I can't stand to be around strangers for extended periods of time. I've always been this way- overly sensitive to others, noise, motion, events. I really dislike groups, parties, places where I have to circulate with a bunch of people who don't know me or care about anything that I have to say. The tears fell down my cheeks as I opened up my tablet and began reading this book. And I discovered that about half of all people are just like me. Thank you, Susan Cain. Your book gave me the courage to drive back to my friend's house and face the rest of the evening. I am not a pariah. I am an introvert and perhaps I can do a better job figuring out when I've reached my socializing limits before I meltdown.

Many of the positive attributes of introverts which Susan describes, I totally have, I've just never considered them as worth the trade-off of the extroverted personality. I notice small details, have a great memory for conversations and events, long past the time when others forget such things. I think carefully about problems and people, devoting time to taking apart small nuances of books and movies, that other people don't even consider, which makes me a good reviewer of media- perfect for my job as a librarian. Susan nailed my general feeling about myself in the introduction: "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." pg 34 ebook. Yes!

My role at the reference desk calls for an extroverted personality but I muddle through it, because I care about the job and helping others. Usually, I come home from work, totally worn out and in need of quiet time to unwind. Susan helped me understand that sometimes "faking it" is worth it, if it for a cause that means something to you and that others do the exact same thing that I do. Pull out the mask for the job, but then allow yourself the freedom to be who you really are at home: "According to Free Trait Theory, we are born and culturally endowed with certain personality traits- introversion, for example- but we can and do act out of character in the service of "core personal projects." In other words, introverts are capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of work they consider important, people they love, or anything they value highly." pg 391 ebook.

My favorite parts of the book were about sensitivity and social situations. Take this passage: "...maybe we didn't choose ... social accessories at random. Maybe we've adopted dark glasses, relaxed body language, and alcohol as signifiers precisely because they camouflage signs of a nervous system on overdrive. Sunglasses prevent others from seeing our eyes dilate with surprise or fear; we know from Kagan's work that a relaxed torso is a hallmark of low reactivity; and alcohol removes our inhibitions and lowers our arousal levels. When you go to a football game and someone offers you a beer, says the personality psychologist Brian Little, "they're really saying hi, have a glass of extroversion." pg 277 ebook. I may use that in my life. "Please hand me that glass of extroversion."

I also really enjoyed learning the differences in thinking: "Introverts and extroverts also direct their attention differently: if you leave them to their own devices, the introverts tend to sit around wondering about things, imagining things, recalling events from their past, and making plans for the future. The extroverts are more likely to focus on what's happening around them. It's as if extroverts are seeing "what is" while their introverted peers are asking "what if." pg 323 ebook. Yeah, I do that too.

I can't recommend this book highly enough. It saved an evening for me, but more importantly, it changed the way that I view myself. There is power in knowing that you're not alone. Again, thank you, Susan Cain. Some read-alikes: The Introvert's Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World by Sophia Dembling (for introversion) or Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson (for more instances of social anxiety).
Profile Image for Nika.
153 reviews162 followers
February 16, 2023
This is probably the best book about introverts I have read so far. At the same time, it did not expand my horizons by relating something completely new. As an introvert, I can relate to many things discussed by Susan Cain.
Should you read the book if you are an extrovert? I believe, yes. It may help you better understand your friends, colleagues, and people in general as a third to a half of the population are estimated to be introverts.
The author seeks to explain what it means to be an introvert in our noisy and fast-paced world. She shares her personal experiences as an introvert and draws on different experiments concerning human psychology and behavior.

Susan Cain belies certain biases that surround introverted people in a culture conducive to extroversion. While extroverted people are often noted for their communication skills and charisma, introverts do not have anything against socializing. Introverts, too, like to communicate, often preferring one-on-one conversations, but they need to slow down and recharge after a busy day.

While many extroverts thrive on social interactions, introverts get exhausted relatively easily. However, many introverted people excel at listening to others, noticing details, contemplating, and reflecting on what is happening around them. They are more likely to be loyal to their close friends, whereas extroverts often do not search for closeness from their socializing and prioritize small talk.
Studies show that introverts prefer single-tasking to multitasking. Extroverts often perform better when they are required to focus on more than one task at a time.

According to the author, the main difference between extroverts and introverts concerns the level of outside stimulation they feel comfortable with.
Introverted and extroverted people respond to stimulation differently.
Most extroverts need large amounts of stimulation to function at their best. Introverts prefer relatively quiet and calm environments.
The goal is to find the stimulation level that suits you best. If introverts show better results when working independently or in small groups, this should be taken into account at school and the workplace. The author criticizes noisy and overstimulating classrooms which may impede introverts' productivity and make them feel out of place.
People who are considered to have a balance of both introversion and extroversion are called ambiverts. They are probably able to take the best from opposite ends of the spectrum.

In certain circumstances, introverts can act like extroverts. They can display traits usually related to extroversion. For instance, introverts can look confident and easy-going when giving public lectures. This self-presentation has its limits, though.
The ability to modify our behavior to the social demands of a situation is referred to as self-monitoring. Different people can be more or less effective at self-monitoring. A list of questions (given below) that can help to define our own level of self-monitoring is included.

If you want to know how strong a self-monitor you are, here are a few questions from Snyder’s Self-Monitoring Scale:
When you’re uncertain how to act in a social situation, do you look to the behavior of others for cues?
Do you often seek the advice of your friends to choose movies, books, or music?
In different situations and with different people, do you often act like very different people?
Do you find it easy to imitate other people?
Can you look someone in the eye and tell a lie with a straight face if for a right end?
Do you ever deceive people by being friendly when really you dislike them?
Do you put on a show to impress or entertain people?
Do you sometimes appear to others to be experiencing deeper emotions than you actually are?

The more times you answered “yes” to these questions, the more of a high self-monitor you are.
Now ask yourself these questions:
Is your behavior usually an expression of your true inner feelings, attitudes, and beliefs?
Do you find that you can only argue for ideas that you already believe?
Would you refuse to change your opinions, or the way you do things, in order to please someone else or win their favor?
Do you dislike games like charades or improvisational acting?
Do you have trouble changing your behavior to suit different people and different situations?

The more you tended to answer “yes” to this second set of questions, the more of a low self-monitor you are.
Profile Image for Megan Baxter.
985 reviews664 followers
May 19, 2014
There's a real pleasure in recognition. Hearing about yourself, finding out you're not alone, it can be a huge relief and release. And so, as a long-time (although fairly gregarious) introvert, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Not much of it was truly surprising, but still, it's nice to read a book that validates the way I tend to operate anyway.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Profile Image for Glenn Sumi.
404 reviews1,589 followers
September 1, 2015
This book spoke directly to my soul, to the core of my being.

If you’re on this site and reading this, you probably enjoy time alone to read, think and recharge your batteries. It’s not that you’re anti-social, you just prefer having meaningful conversations with one or two people rather than being stuck in a room with a loud group talking about... nothing.

Susan Cain’s book will validate you and make you feel you’re not a freak. You don’t need “to come out of your shell.” In fact, there are more of us out there than you’d think. “Introverts” – even the word has negative connotations – make up somewhere between ⅓ and ½ of the population.

Cain, who trained as a lawyer but discovered the corporate world wasn’t for her, provides a fascinating look at how current society champions the extrovert ideal. People who speak quickly and loudly (even if they’re not saying much) get praised and promoted. Team-work is encouraged, and there’s no “I” in team, now is there?

But introverts, those quiet people who are trying to focus while people are blabbing all around them, have a lot to contribute. Yet they're often ignored.

Early sections of the book are devoted to closely examining this extrovert ideal, in a hellishly hilarious Tony Robbins motivation seminar; in the running of a super church; and in studying how Dale Carnegie altered the social landscape with his gung-ho bible How To Win Friends And Influence People.

Cain looks at the science of temperament, showing how differences are evident from childbirth – an extended bit about “high and low reactive people” is fascinating. She also shows that introverts might actually be physiologically more “thin-skinned” than extroverts, and how introversion and conscience are connected.

Understanding personality types isn’t just theoretical. It has practical applications. Cain suggests how the extroverts in the business world may have caused the 2008 Wall Street crash. And her look at other cultures – Asia, for instance – demonstrates that the extrovert ideal isn’t a universal phenomenon.

I found the sections on how introverts learn how to become “fake” extroverts absolutely mind-blowing. There are stories of wildly successful professors and even sales people you’d never classify as introverts but are. I understand this. I think any introvert living in this society has learned, by necessity, how to be more gregarious – through confident voice, posture, attitude – even though it’s not necessarily in his or her nature.

I’ve delivered public talks, sat (and talked) on many panels, go to gala openings and for several years had to chat weekly on national TV, always extremely well-prepared (de rigueur for introverts)... but I never really felt or feel completely at ease in these environments. I have to decompress afterwards with close friends. Or go home and read a book.

One of the most valuable lessons Cain teaches us is to follow our instincts, especially concerning work and love. To go against our natures could be fatal.

Cain also offers up inspiring examples of introverts throughout history: from Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt to Steve Wozniak and Mahatma Gandhi. Each one is instructive and remarkable.

The book gets bogged down near the end by illustrations of how introverts and extroverts can get along. And at times there’s a bit of over-compensating rah-rahing for the underdog. But it’s not introvert = good, extrovert = bad, and after all, most of us aren’t exclusively in one camp or the other. (Plus: is an extrovert really going to read something called Quiet?)

This is a remarkable book, and essential reading for teachers, employers and parents. And for all of you thoughtful friends and readers on Goodreads.
Profile Image for Sam.
88 reviews9 followers
August 3, 2012
This was the most painful book I have read this summer. I choked it down like bad medicine page after page. Quiet is great self affirmation for someone who considers themselves an introvert, and sees humans as either an extrovert or introvert. Cain certainly thinks she’s the poster child of an introvert, or is she? The book reads like a memoir in parts where she tells stories of her own life, then there are smatterings or small examples in specific parts of people’s lives of how greatness comes in quiet e.g. Steve Wozniak, Gandhi, Rosa Parks.

Cain also fancies herself a bit of a child psychologist, on one hand it’s ok for kids to be shy or in their shell, these aren’t bad things, and very normal, but on the other hand we need to nudge and push slowly to get kids out of their quiet place. So which is it?

It doesn’t bother me that Cain isn’t a psychologist or economist, but she’s talking through both sides of her mouth, the book is a pity party, she thinks the decisions in modern workplaces are influenced by highly extroverted personalities like those from the Harvard Business School. There’s no backing for this other than the fact that business students are extroverts. Additionally the economic crisis was wholly the fault of extroverts, basically extroverts with their loud voices overpowered the brilliant quiet hardworking, and smart introverts and ran the economy to the ground. I’m afraid you really aren’t brilliant if something has already happened and you didn’t do anything to stop it. In hindsight everything is 20/20, just because you are quiet and something bad is happening saying “I knew it!” doesn’t do much.

The circlejerk continues when Cain bangs on about everyone who a douche as being an extrovert. Good guys are introverts, Warren Buffet because of his one speech about the dot com bubble bursting was quiet and well calculated in his words. The rest of the word are greedy businessmen. There’s some sample or thin slicing in her discussions that I find problematic, and read a bit like a tabloid.

Susan Cain is clearly appealing to an audience that is already sold to introversion, and stroking those egos. I wish the book had more solutions instead of harping about how bad people are. The book blurs it’s lines through many genres, self help, psychology and a dash of group-think. I consider myself an introvert, but also an extrovert, yes I do believe brilliance happens in unaccompanied activities like running. I charge my batteries during times like this but I also don’t “suffer in silence”. I don’t believe people are fully introverted or extroverted.

Reading Khaneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow and Mcgonigal’s Willpower Instinct make Cain’s book look hurriedly and thoughtlessly written, there’s little appeal to science.
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