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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking Paperback – 29 January 2013
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"Cain offers a wealth of useful advice for teachers and parents of introverts. . . . Quiet should interest anyone who cares about how people think, work, and get along, or wonders why the guy in the next cubicle acts that way. It should be required reading for introverts (or their parents) who could use a boost to their self-esteem."--Fortune
"A rich, intelligent book . . . enlightening."--The Wall Street Journal"Superbly researched, deeply insightful, and a fascinating read, Quiet is an indispensable resource for anyone who wants to understand the gifts of the introverted half of the population."--Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project "A smart, lively book about the value of silence and solitude that makes you want to shout from the rooftops. Quiet is an engaging and insightful look into the hearts and minds of those who change the world instead of tweeting about it."--Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology, Harvard University, author of Stumbling on Happiness "As an introvert often called upon to behave like an extrovert, I found the information in this book revealing and helpful. Drawing on neuroscientific research and many case reports, Susan Cain explains the advantages and potentials of introversion and of being quiet in a noisy world."--Andrew Weil, author of Healthy Aging and Spontaneous Happiness "Charm and charisma may be one beau ideal, but backed by first-rate research and her usual savvy, Cain makes a convincing case for the benefits of reserve."--Harper's Bazaar "Quiet is a book of liberation from old ideas about the value of introverts. Cain's intelligence, respect for research, and vibrant prose put Quiet in an elite class with the best books from Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Pink, and other masters of psychological non-fiction."--Teresa Amabile, Professor, Harvard Business School, and coauthor of The Progress Principle
"An intriguing and potentially life-altering examination of the human psyche that is sure to benefit both introverts and extroverts alike."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Cain gives excellent portraits of a number of introverts and shatters misconceptions. Cain consistently holds the reader's interest by presenting individual profiles, looking at places dominated by extroverts (Harvard Business School) and introverts (a West Coast retreat center), and reporting on the latest studies. Her diligence, research, and passion for this important topic has richly paid off."--Publishers Weekly
"This book is a pleasure to read and will make introverts and extroverts alike think twice about the best ways to be themselves and interact with differing personality types."--Library Journal
"An intelligent and often surprising look at what makes us who we are."--Booklist
About the Author
Named one of the top ten influencers in the world by LinkedIn, Susan Cain is a renowned speaker and the author of the award-winning books Quiet Power, Quiet Journal, and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Translated into more than forty languages, Quiet has appeared on many best of lists, spent more than seven years on the New York Times bestseller 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.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I blamed myself - there must be something `wrong with me' because I can't handle the job. I wanted to leave, but thought, if I can't handle this job, how am I going to handle a new job? It'll probably be more of the same. I thought I was just getting soft because I was getting older (I'm in my late 40s).
I've always known I was introverted, but I didn't realize just what all that entailed - I thought it mostly meant `shy' or that I didn't like social settings.
This book taught me more about myself than I've ever known. It read like my biography. Almost every page had a new insight into why I think and feel the way I do. Throughout the book I saw my very own self described in new and empowering ways.
I learned that the job situation I'm currently in - the non-stop deadline demands, interruptions, never being able to work quietly or alone no matter how difficult a project was, phones ringing incessantly, people in my face all day long, etc. - especially when it's work that I actually don't care anything about personally - those are the exact circumstances that trip every one of a strong introvert's triggers. And I was subjecting myself to it 40 hours a week, for months.
It's no wonder I was so miserable and completely exhausted all the time. And as enlightening as it was to learn how many of the traits I've beat myself up for over the years are just a product of my introverted temperament (being highly sensitive, shutting down when subjected to stimulation overload, preferring to think a thing through before I speak - something I never get to do at work, as if it takes me more than 5 seconds to say something, I get interrupted and cut off), the most important thing I got from this book is that it's okay to be myself, it's okay to feel the way I do. There is not something `wrong with me' that I have to `fix.' I am not weak or a failure because I don't feel or behave like my extremely extroverted boss (who thrives in high-energy crisis mode, and is bored unless he's doing 10 things at once - and expects the rest of us to keep up).
And far from it being an age-related `going soft,' what's probably in fact going on is that as I get older, it is becoming increasingly vital to me to be truer to myself.
I also found the information on the history of the "rise of the Culture of Personality" completely fascinating, it really gave me a new insight as to just exactly how we 'grew' this tendency to value extroversion over introversion. It makes so much more sense now.
This book gave me the courage I needed to start taking the steps to fix my work situation. Not only the courage, but the `permission' and the understanding - because I now know there isn't something wrong with me, but instead this is what I need to do to be my best self, and stop killing myself with stress. That I probably can find a place of value in the world by being myself, not trying to force myself to be something I'm not. I know I will meet resistance from my boss (I'd love for him to read this book, but unfortunately I know he won't), and I know I won't instantly fix everything in one day, and that I'll probably always need to be able to stretch myself a bit to do things that are not ideal for me ... but this book taught me that there are ways to make that work, too, if you understand and honor the need for recharging around such tasks, instead of trying to force yourself to do them 8 hours a day with no break. It doesn't have to be all or nothing, in either direction. Basically, I'm not out of the woods yet, but I now see the path out, and I have hope.
I think every introvert should read this book, because it will help you understand why you are who you are, and why that's a beautiful thing, not a character flaw. And I think everyone who knows an introvert should read this book, and quit trying to "fix us."
Which means pretty much the entire country (or world) should read this book. The wealth of information and insights in this book cannot be overstated - especially if you are an introverted type of person who has always felt there was something not quite right about you, or that you somehow needed to change to fit in or succeed. This book will give you back yourself, and in my case, my life. Thank you, Susan Cain, from the bottom of my heart (which is finally beating at a more normal speed because I'm not panicked about going to work for the first time in months).
Edited 11-13-14: It worked! I'm now working half-days at the office and half-days at home, and in a few weeks will transition to working from home full time. I never imagined that could happen. It's amazing what becomes possible when you finally realize you deserve what you already knew you needed.
Please forgive me for being too upfront or dramatic, but to put things in perspective I have made repeated attempts on my own life over the last 20 years and, not surprisingly, been plagued by severe, chronic, and recurrent depression and anxiety since early childhood. I believe this book has been a major turning point for me. No longer do I see myself as ‘broken’, ‘sick’, or ’hopeless’, but just an introvert in an extrovert's world. Since reading it, my mental health has improved drastically. And while I'll always have the tendency to be hard on myself, this book and its insights have allowed me to grant myself some compassion and room to breathe. Now I see my biggest ailment all along has been trying to fit into patterns of behavior which were fundamentally against my nature.
A prime example from my life: I called myself weak if I had trouble working 50+ hours a week the way my peers seemed to do without problem. Then, just to meet expectations, I would force myself to go out after work with the same coworkers I had just spent all day around when what I truly wanted was time alone in order to decompress. What happened over and over again is I would push myself until I developed migraines or other physical symptoms. I ignored my body's signals, believed it was possible to deny my needs, and thought that pushing through the pain would be rewarded. No wonder I was so unhappy. If I feel like this, I know there must be others who do too.
The research cited in this book show there are clear neurological differences in the way introverted brains process sensory information. Those findings told me that I truly am hard-wired this way. If the way I take in the world cannot ever be changed, then it's up to me to find the grace to say “This is just the way I am.”
Today I realize I cannot change who I am at the core, but I can learn to love myself. It is also my duty to navigate through life in ways that are sustainable and healthy for me, and to disregard the ‘shoulds’ which were making me ill. We of this personality type can not only improve our own existences, but also possess the ability to make the world better and more well-rounded. Indeed, society can benefit from our unique perspective if it would only take the time to listen to our carefully-formulated and often soft-spoken contributions.
So far I don't yet have a success story of how I have used this knowledge of myself to bring me from rags to riches. But I have moved away from traditional employment to more freelance work and flexible telecommuting positions. I hope that armed with this newfound self-acceptance I will eventually be able to make my introversion work for me, rather than pressuring myself to 'succeed' in spite of this trait. I guess I need to change my definition of success from financial wealth and externally recognized achievements, to one that centers around my internal balance and contentment day-to-day. I’m still a work in progress.
For now, I try to do my part by reaching out to fellow introverts, recommending this book, and letting them know I find them beautiful just the way they are. And I make sure to plan alone time into my days and activities in order to maintain my mental stability.
My wish for everyone who feels like an outsider is to read this book. Chances are you're just an introvert and either don't know it, or have been taught that extroversion is the only way. Once you become comfortable with yourself, the world and its possibilities will open up. Please read this book.