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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shhh - Don't tell Everyone, but this is a very good book
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...
Published 17 months ago by Half Man, Half Book

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238 of 255 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Watch Susan's TED presentation instead
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...
Published on 19 Mar 2012 by Rosey Lea


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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shhh - Don't tell Everyone, but this is a very good book, 22 Nov 2012
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and well researched work on the world of the quieter person., 26 April 2012
By 
Dr. Stephen J. Wooding "Trainer, Teacher" (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
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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!

What I liked about 'Quiet' was:

- it's not a psychology text book and is more deeply personal, sharing people's experiences
- for those who are unfamiliar with what introversion is and the reality of the 'inner world' experience, it serves as a great introduction, whether you are an introvert or work with or live with one or more
- there's plenty of good research quoted to back up the author's reflections, ideas and recommendations
- it's written in an engaging and approachable style with no hyperbole or self-aggrandisement, unlike some self-help literature
- although she could rage against the glorification of the extrovert ideal, she doesn't

My criticisms (if you can call them that) are:

- it is definitely written from the 'introverts are the minority' point of view which in the UK isn't true in general, though certainly is true of some professions
- she has a very wide definition of the behaviours and preferences linked to introversion, some of which I don't wholly agree with and isn't used by the psychological community at large

All in all I found it to be a solid, informative and well-written exposition of the true, if quiet, power of introverts.
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238 of 255 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Watch Susan's TED presentation instead, 19 Mar 2012
By 
Rosey Lea (london, UK) - See all my reviews
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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.

For anyone who's ever wondered whether their choice to get an early night, rather than go out and party, really does lead to a diagnosis of social phobia, low self-esteem and childhood confidence failure, Susan's work is liberation. But I'd recommend taking 20 minutes to watch her full TED presentation rather than buying the book.

(Small NB - the book cover is white and porous. After half a day in a bag the book's ruined.)
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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 (Essex) - See all my reviews
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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.

The language and tone used in the book is that of American popular psychology and, as such, may grate on the European or British reader. Moreover, as most of the named people, cultural references, research and contexts mentioned are US-centric, I found this book somewhat frustrating. I hesitated between giving the book 3 or 4 stars, but recognise that introverts, like myself, need all the encouragement they can get!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that finally explains why..., 15 Jun 2013
By 
Rhianno H. Morris "Rhiannon Morris" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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As a child I was always quiet, I was considered strange, the outcast by others around me. I would, and still do, experience overwhelming shyness when forced into situations where talking loudly is expected. I would keep my thoughts to myself, not risk being shouted down be the rest of the group. Even now, as an adult, I prefer not to speak up in front groups of three or more people. I think my words through many times before uttering them.
For the majority of my live, I have wondered why. My teachers used to write reports and criticise me for not been that type of person children should be. To me, shouting out without thinking is rude.
As soon as I opened the pages of this book and started reading, it all started to make sense. I understood that I am not strange, an awkward outcast, I'm just higher introverted.
I can not thank the author enough for writing this book. It has changed the way I view both myself and those around me. When I attend local groups, I think 'Ah, that person is introverted like me...' and I try to engine a one-on-one conversation after the meeting is over.
This book is a must-read for any one who is, or who knows, is married to, is a parent/child of an introvert. This is definitely one of my top books I've read to date.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A quiet call to arms!, 16 May 2012
By 
David Pearce "djarmhp" (rainham, kent) - See all my reviews
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As an introvert myself, I was quite fascinated as to the insights that might be contained within this book, but ready to be disappointed with yet another thinly disguised self help book. What I got was a book that contains the most cogent argument imaginable for changing the approach to management, learning and life in general.

Extroverts are very good at energising people and carrying projects forward, but the introverts should be the ones allowed the time and space to get the projects started as they are far more likely to have workable ideas. With a number of real life examples this book doesn't lack rigour as some others do. I would recommend it for all people, extroverts and introverts alike, but I have a feeling that the managers that I have come across would regard the conclusions reached as unworkable! Read this book and come to your own conclusion, but I urge you to at least give the argument an unbiased hearing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars World, shut your mouth, 4 Jun 2013
By 
Adam "Say something about yourself!" (Dunton, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I have never been a fan of Myers Briggs personality indicators, with their basis on introvert/extrovert types. It always seemed too pat and simplistic. Surely, I thought, life and people are more complicated than this system allows. But then two things happened; I attended a training day at my work on Myers Briggs and started reading Susan Cain's "Quiet." Both of these delivered the same overall message; that Myers Briggs indicators give us a starting point with which then to understand ourselves, and use our knoweldge of our own types and others to help us adopt and use characteristics that will help us in our work and daily lives. And so an introvert can use out-going extrovert skills to master a presentation, and so on. What "Quiet" does is to focus on our cultural,historical and scientific understandings of intovert and extrovert types, with the sympathetic focus being on the introvert, hence the title. It is the author's contention that the introvert has been misunderstood and marginalised in favour of the extrovert, the "mighty likeable fellow" who in the early years of the 20th Century could win friends and influence people and sell loads of stuff. From then on, Cain argues, the exrtovert idea had been promulgated in Western society as the desired norm for childhood, school, work and social life. So children have been chastised for being and labelled as 'shy' or having an ' inferiority complex,' and these labels can persist to adulthood.
We move on to what Cain calls the 'myth' of charsimatic leadership, the force of personality inspiring with vision, steamrolling opposition and generally getting things done. Cain calls it a myth only so much as it is used as the desired norm of leadership styles. And she draws out how the workplace enccourages extroverted styles not only through recruitment bias but through structuring office space (open-plan) to encourage group-think and noisy collaboration over smaller groups and quieter reflection. Cain then explores the gifts an introverted starting point can bring, and how indeed a calmer, more thoughtful and reflective approach is necessary for human flourishing. She traces how introversion has been explored through evolutionary and biologcal science, and how psychology and modern reseach is determining just how these traits are apparent and develop from infancy onwards. She then looks at how both traits are necesary for human life, and attempts to correct the biases and imbalances as described above, desccribing how introverts can play to their strengths, harnesing quiet or soft power to win friends and influence people. Soft power in Asian cultures gets its own chapter, and the culture clash that arises when Asian students, brought up to believe that quietness and calm are indicators for wisdom, and that you should not contribute to discussions unless you have something solid to say, meets its US counterpart where the key thing is to be seen and heard to contribute in noisy group analysis.
In the closing section off the book, Cain explores how the two traits can learn from and inform each other, in the arenas of work and human relationships. There is a plea for schools to better understand their introverted students and to accomodate their learning styles through teaching methods and classroom design, e.g. Having smaller groups, more 1:1 explorations and down-time for students.
The book is cleary written, (quietly) passionate, and the science that informs it is interesting and accesssible (although at times weirdly contrived, as with intoverted fish avoiding capture through being cautious and avoiding nets). But for me, as an introvert, its most valuable contribution was the clear recognition and elucidation of what it means to have this at the core of one's personality. Literally, reading this I felt less alone, and could recognise myself in its pages from childhood on. The reassurance that I do not have to force myself to fit an extroverted template, and helpful guidance on how I could harness and use quiet power in my daily life, is very valuable. This then is a clear and readable, wise and felt exploration of the power of Quiet, and I am glad that its message is enjoying a wide readership, this book now being found on most book-shop shelves.
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60 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A life-changing book, 9 April 2012
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Apologies for the long review, but I believe this book merits a lot of discussion.

I discovered 'Quiet' by Susan Cain when, in frustration after being criticised for not having a great aptitude for making small talk with strangers, I googled the word 'introvert'. I know myself well enough to know that my lack of small-talking skills in busy environments or large groups is essentially hardwired into my brain, and I wanted to know if there was anyone who could empathise with this or if I was simply an aberration. Fortunately I found 'Quiet', and it's been one of the most helpful, timely and affirming books I've ever possessed.

'Quiet' not only gives insight into the neurological makeup of introverts, but also includes a lot of helpful information about how an introvert can make the most of his or her way of thinking. For example, Cain points out that the brain chemistry of extroverts makes them reward-driven, while introverts are far less so. So she suggests that when it comes to a career, introverts need to 'find their flow' - that is, an activity that can make them feel rewarded solely by the process of immersing themselves in their work, rather than by the 'reward' pay-off sensation that often drives extroverts to achieve.

Cain is enough of a realist to understand that there are many situations in life where introverts necessarily have to act extroverted, which can put introverts in a dilemma because it may seem as if we're being deceptive or disguising our true selves to the detriment of our emotional wellbeing. However, acting extroverted can be justified, Cain suggests, in pursuit of achieving the goals of our 'core personal projects': if you find something you care about enough, you can choose to find the willpower to appear extroverted where necessary in order to achieve it. I have found this to be a very helpful principle that I can use to determine when and where to put on my 'extrovert' face.

I'd recommend 'Quiet' to anyone who is introverted or highly sensitive, anyone who is in a position of leadership of any kind, and anyone who is in any sort of relationship with someone who is perplexingly reclusive or quiet. If you are an introvert, reading 'Quiet' may give you the affirmation you rarely receive in a world that fixates on 'bringing you out of your shell'. In fact, reading it may give you enough self-acceptance to repair the damage done by the social exclusion/stigmatisation that introversion can bring, and make you a lot more confident in social situations. I work in a busy environment surrounded by people constantly competing for my attention, but since reading 'Quiet' I have found that not only do I no longer feel bad about finding my work environment hard to handle, but I can also actually handle its demands so much more easily.

One final note: Cain has been criticised for mixing up her labels - sometimes she seems to be describing introverts; other times, the highly sensitive. However, this isn't such a big problem when you consider that the premise of 'Quiet' is essentially that silence, thoughtfulness, seriousness and a propensity for solitude are underrated in our culture, and that people who embody these characteristics tend to be either introverted or highly sensitive or both. Moreover, there is a huge overlap between introversion and high sensitivity. Cain adresses this issue in a note at the back of her book, and it seems clear to me that her purpose isn't to label people or cause us to label ourselves, but to make us all more aware and respectful of the different values embodied by different people.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind-opener, 25 Jan 2013
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I came across this book in a book-store, sealed with a promotional band, which made it impossible to read more than the back cover. Still I was intrigued. This book had been written for me, or so it seemed. It was a unique feeling. All my life I thought there was something "wrong with me" because I did not fit the extrovert model. Here was a book and a writer saying the opposite. Sheer heresy. I went straight back to my Kindle and downloaded it, probably the best 5.49 I've ever spent. Not good for the shop but at 16.99 I wouldn't have bought it anyway, not with a band sealing it.

If you prefer a book to a party, prefer Star-Gazing to Big Brother, prefer to think about what you say rather than just spouting forth, you may also be someone this book was written for. If you're at ease with "introversion" you still need this book for what it tells you about you. If you're not at ease with "introversion" then you need it even more.

This book is not a panacea. What it does do is set the record straight. Knowledge is power.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful insights, 25 Jan 2013
By 
R. SLATER - See all my reviews
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Stands out above the general run of self-help pop psychology books as a series of well evidenced observations on other ways of being rather than a 'how to be wonderful' lexicon. My only minor beef is the standard NYT tic of spending a paragraph describing the appearance and dress of the person being interviewed or quoted every time.
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