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Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking [Hardcover]

Susan Cain
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (313 customer reviews)

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Book Description

29 Mar 2012

Our lives are driven by a fact that most of us can't name and don't understand. It defines who our friends and lovers are, which careers we choose, and whether we blush when we're embarrassed.

That fact is whether we're an introvert or an extrovert.

The introvert/extrovert divide is the most fundamental dimension of personality. And at least a third of us are on the introverted side. Some of the world's most talented people are introverts. Without them we wouldn't have the Apple computer, the theory of relativity and Van Gogh's sunflowers.

Yet extroverts have taken over. Shyness, sensitivity and seriousness are often seen as being negative. Introverts feel reproached for being the way they are.

In Quiet, 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.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (29 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670916757
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670916757
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (313 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 141,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


I can't get Quiet out of my head. It is an important book - so persuasive and timely and heartfelt it should inevitably effect change in schools and offices (Jon Ronson The Guardian )

Susan Cain's Quiet has sparked a quiet revolution. In our booming culture, hers is a still, small voice that punches above its weight. Perhaps rather than sitting back and asking people to speak up, managers and company leaders might lean forward and listen (Megan Walsh The Times )

Quiet is a very timely book, and Cain's central thesis is fresh and important. Maybe the extrovert ideal is no longer as powerful as it was; perhaps it is time we all stopped to listen to the still, small voice of calm (Daisy Goodwin The Sunday Times )

A startling, important, and readable page-turner (Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth )

Mark my words, this book will be a bestseller (Guy Kawasaki, author of Enchantment )

About the Author

Susan Cain is a writer who specialises in psychological non-fiction. She has a blog on PsychologyToday.com, and her New York Times article on the evolutionary benefits of shyness was the most e-mailed article in the paper when published. She previously worked in corporate law for seven years, representing clients like J.P. Morgan and General Electric, and then became a negotiations consultant with clients including Merrill Lynch and Shearman & Sterling. She graduated with honors from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. She lives on the Hudson River, New York, with her husband and two sons.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
Finally a book praising the fact that the quieter and shy members of society have as much to offer as those who have a natural ability to be heard.

Cain looks at lots of case studies of people, couples and well known individuals who through the use of subtle and modest techniques are able to influence the more extroverted members of society or a relationship. Her first case study is herself, and she looks at Rosa Parks, Ghandi and others.

She also looks at how introverts need to have time and space of their own to be able to function, and how some introverted people manage to carry off a extroverted persona at times to help them fit in.

I really enjoyed this book, don't feel quite so alone now!
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148 of 156 people found the following review helpful
By Dr. Stephen J. Wooding VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Written by an introvert mainly for introverts, this is a good mix of research, reflection, anecdotes and advice that's also obviously quite a personal work for the author. It's well written, definitely thoroughly researched though at times feels like she's trying to justify the introvert's way of being rather than overtly celebrate it - perhaps just a reflection of the subtext of the book!

As someone who's clearly been a life-long introvert and also an experiences personality and psychometric profiler I was curious to see what the author's take would be on the introvert vs. extrovert debate. My impression is that she's writing from the point of view of an introvert who found herself vying for a place in an extrovert's world who then discovered more and more people like her. She refers to the 'Extrovert Ideal' a lot which seems to be a reflection of the fact she's US-based and statistically this is a more extrovert nation and culture with around 65% of the population measuring as extroverts, casting introverts into the minority. However, for the UK reader it might be a little trickier to identify so intensely with her experience as in the UK the population is split almost evenly.

My guess is that this book is more likely to be read by more introverted souls seeking to understand themselves and their power better - and I'll be recommending it to some of my friends! It would be a shame for the extroverts of the world to miss out on getting to grips with what's actually happening beneath the calmer, quieter, more placid surfaces of some of their family, friends and colleagues, and I'll be recommending that those friends then pass it on to the extroverts in their lives!
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239 of 256 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Watch Susan's TED presentation instead 19 Mar 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Susan Cain presented a wonderful speech to the TED conference regarding the difficulties faced by introverts in a world that prizes extroverts. Both have strengths and weaknesses, but education systems and working styles have become geared to the extrovert skill set, to the point where introversion is seen as an undesirable weakness, almost a mental illness, and must be overcome. It's acceptable to spend 4 hours in a meeting with 20 people achieving nothing, but not to sit on your own for half an hour and complete the work from start to finish.

Susan's 20 minute speech was fascinating and I eagerly awaited her book, but I have to admit I'm a little disappointed now it's here.

Part autobiography, part social commentary, the book adds very little to Susan's TED presentation. If anything, it detracts from it. The book is directly written for the American audience - American people talking about American research and life in America, so by the end of was craving something with a wider net of references.

The practical advice to introverts is interesting, but mainly because it acknowledges that constant exposure to extrovert behaviour can be damaging to someone more introverted (been there!), but could you really afford to turn down a job because the desk layout wasn't right for your introvert needs? Do you really have a paediatrician recommended `engagement skills' group that your nervous toddler can attend?

As someone who's more introvert than extrovert, the book made me feel a little hopeless, rather than a little empowered.
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139 of 149 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Feelings 24 Mar 2012
By Sentinel TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In `Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking', introvert ex-corporate lawyer, Susan Cain, describes and illustrates a body of mostly US-centric research into personality types, which she divides into introverts and extroverts. Throughout the book, she weaves in her personal tales of inner transformation once she takes on board both the strengths and weaknesses of being an introvert, growing up and working in an American culture that appears to value and reward extrovert behaviour above all.

In the two and a half page conclusion of the book, she summarises maybe all you need to know about the strategies that introverts can adopt to take full advantage of their strengths (measured decision-making; empathy; analysis of situations based on sustained observation and reflection; intuition; ethical stances; preference for deep and meaningful social contacts; love of quiet and replenishing spaces etc).

Susan Cain comes across as sincere, sensitive, thoughtful and brave - as one might expect from her description of the typical introvert nature. She argues passionately that introverts, including those who come to the USA from a more culturally-introverted country, feel criticised and undervalued for being the way they are - shyness, sensitivity and seriousness are often seen as being negatives.

In some social and educational contexts, introversion is even seen as a kind of mental illness or learning disadvantage that must be cured. The author in fact acknowledges that constant exposure to extrovert behaviour; the pressure to perform in an inauthentic and pretend-extrovert manner; or just to `fit in' to a brash, noisy, insensitive world can be physically and emotionally damaging to someone more introverted.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, life-changing book.
This book has changed the way I view myself, my career, and the people I know. It HS given me the confidence to accept me for who I am, not how the modern world has tried to... Read more
Published 11 hours ago by John Bull
5.0 out of 5 stars Deafeningly Brilliant, so says an Extrovert
Reminiscent of Gladwell's, 'Outliers', this book had me nodding furiously when I encountered one of those 'aha' moments when everything falls into place and in contrast had me... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Anna Cowley
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite simply, brilliant.
This book is kind of half way between being a science book, exploring the neuroscience of introverts and a self-help book. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Craig Inskip
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book and great service from seller
Fantastic book that provides an interesting insight into the minds of the quieter people of the world - a must read for all introverts!
Published 5 days ago by Nikesh Lakhani
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, quick delivery.
Great book, delivered very quickly. Have only just started reading it but I am definitely enjoying it. Would recommend to all introverts.
Published 11 days ago by Omari Okwulu
5.0 out of 5 stars Phew it is ok to not be the noisy one.
My 19 year old daughter recently asked what her hobbies were. I said, "Your friends are your hobbies". She looked at me like only 19 year olds can look at their mums. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Kiwiflora
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
I was recommend to read this by a friend, lots of interesting comments and a good sight into the difference between introverts and extroverts.
Published 26 days ago by Tim
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
One of the most boring books, really, had to finish it for my reading group. Nothing new there, do not understand why everyone is excited. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Kirsten Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Insight
I really enjoyed this book. It made things about myself become clearer and understand my husband better. Read more
Published 27 days ago by A K STEBBING
4.0 out of 5 stars Whether Introvert or Extrovert we are all normal
Thought provoking read for any parent, manager or leader. Our preferences in how we interact with others and how we express ourselves have to be real and mindful that others may... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Andrew
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