Grumpus's Reviews > Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Quiet by Susan Cain
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's review
Jan 29, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: audiobook, science

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”.

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Reading Progress

January 29, 2012 – Shelved
April 13, 2012 – Started Reading
April 14, 2012 – Shelved as: audiobook
April 14, 2012 – Shelved as: science
April 22, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Darlene (new)

Darlene What a great review, Grumpus! I haven't taken the Personality Test but knowing myself, I would say I'm an extrovert. I don't know if it was this kind of book but did she talk about gender or birth order as contributing to these personality characteristics? I find this subject really interesting and your enthusiasm for the book is contagious! I'm going to add it to my TBR list! Thanks for the wonderful review!

Grumpus Thanks Darlene. I don't know why but I'm always drawn to extroverts at work. Just work...don't know why. My best friends though are introverts. I suppose extroverts are too draining for me after a while :-) Nothing on gender nor birth order in the book but don't let that discourage you from reading/listening.

message 3: by Darlene (new)

Darlene :) I understand what you mean and actually my husband, who is more of an introvert, has told me more than one that I am exhausting at times!:) I AM always interested in the psychological/sociological aspects of just about everything but this book does pique my interest so I'm definitely going to check it out! Again, great review! I enjoyed reading it!

message 4: by Otis (new) - added it

Otis Chandler Great review! I do like this quote:

I recently read something that resonates with this:

"Recent research by the Graduate School of Business at Stanford [2] found that individuals who measured highly in terms of feeling guilt prone tended to be the people that others viewed as leaders [3]. After measuring tendencies for feeling guilty after making mistakes along with a host of other traits, including extraversion and shame proneness, the team of researchers led by Professor Francis Flynn, put four to five individuals together to perform group tasks with no designated leaders amongst them. At the end of the exercises, they rated each other on leadership qualities. Guilt proneness was the top predictor of being judged to be a leader. Even extraversion, which is a well-known indicator of leadership, ranked below guilt proneness."

Curious if the book talked about that?

Grumpus Thanks Otis for the comment and the "like".

Although the book does not address guilt, based upon your link, I agree that makes sense.

The book did discuss some of the differences in leadership styles between intoverts and extroverts and claimed that they are equally effective leaders by citing various corporate executives at different companies, their leadership styles and how they are viewed.

As I stated in my review, these leaders know their style and understand how to maximize the potential of their suborinates by understanding their strengths based upon their knowledge of personality types.

At the newspaper I worked at in VA, each department took the Myers-Briggs and then results were presented back to the department along with an explanation of what the personality type did best and the ideal way to interact with them. Essentially understanding what makes them tick. This exercise, more than any other HR-sponsored training did more for me in understanding and how to better act with my peers than anything else in my career.

This book followed that reasoning in that it helps people understand who they are first and then how we can all (from children to adults) live and work more harmoniously together.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

What a terrific review by a fellow ISFJ. I've just purchased the book, and will now tip-toe to my quiet space to read. I'm screaming with enthusiasm on the inside.

message 7: by bookyeti (new) - added it

bookyeti Enjoyed your review. Really looking forward to reading this (INxJ here).

Alana I just started listening to this and am about to chapter three. I agree, it's great to listen to; the voice is perfect and slows down enough to really digest what the author is saying. Plus, I'm finding I'm even more of an introvert than I thought I was, but in all the good (i.e. not shy) ways. But I've got a good dose of extroverted traits, too, so who knows where I fit in!

message 9: by Dayzi (new) - added it

Dayzi Sarafina I have finish reading this book and I am glad what has ever happen to me as an introvert is normal as there is an equal amount of people who is extrovert as well. I remember how it mention that introvert people prefer stay at home and read compare to going to a party.

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