Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain (Random House)
Reviewed by Jordan Timm
There’s a new guy in my office, and I’m not talking to him. It’s not anything personal, mind you. He seems like a nice enough sort, a diligent worker with good hygiene—and what more can you ask of the fella three cubicles over?
But I’m not much for small talk around the office; I just do my best to smile and grunt ‘hello’ at people when I arrive in the morning. I’m not trying to be a jerk—I’m just not the person who’s going to ask if you want to run downstairs for coffee. So me and the new guy, we haven’t exactly hit it off yet.
Susan Cain would peg me right away as an introvert. By the best reckoning available, about one-third of (all of us) are naturally introverted; if you aren’t one yourself, you work with one, or you’re the partner or parent of one.
Cain, a former Wall Street lawyer, has been researching and writing about the subject for years, and her new book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, synthesizes much of that research. It’s an investigation into the value society places on introverts and the science that makes us more or less outgoing. Cain also explores when, and how, introverts should play against type.
There are an assortment of clinical definitions for the terms ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert,’ but for Cain’s purposes it’s not important to get tripped up by those fine distinctions. Essentially, Cain writes, ‘introverts and extroverts differ in the level of outside stimulation they need to function well.’
The former might find a comfortable level of stimulation from doing a crossword puzzle, or from a one-on-one conversation. The latter might prefer skydiving or meeting new people. And Cain notes that introversion isn’t necessarily the same thing as shyness or misanthropy.
An introvert’s reluctance to speak up in a meeting doesn’t come from timidness or loathing one’s co-workers, but most likely from being overstimulated. That isn’t to say introverts can’t push themselves to contribute in a meeting, or to illuminate a dinner party; it’s just that afterward, we’re likely to need to decompress...
Full review on Canadian Business: http://www.canadianbusiness.com/article/70947--book-review-ndash-quiet-the-power-of-introverts-in-a-world-that-can-t-stop-talking
Forbes review on:
Susan Cain’s website: http://www.thepowerofintroverts.com/
Susan Cain speaks: http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html
Susan Cain on the folly of group work: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-power-of-introverts –
Susan Cain on ‘The rise of the new groupthink’ in The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/opinion/sunday/the-rise-of-the-new-groupthink.html?pagewanted=all
Psychology Today blog: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/quiet-the-power-introverts/201112/why-atheists-and-believers-need-each-other
Constant noise detracts from prayer: Pope, CathNews March 7, http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=30442
Silence is key in meaningful communication: Pope, CathNews, January 24, http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=29778