Customer Review

266 of 287 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Watch Susan's TED presentation instead, 19 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking (Hardcover)
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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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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 Mar 2012 14:54:30 BDT
Dee London says:
Thank you for the review and further references!

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Apr 2012 20:16:56 BDT
M. Holmes says:
Yes, a thoughtful and useful review but where do I find the TED presentation?

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Apr 2012 14:17:57 BDT
Alan T says:

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Apr 2012 15:51:06 BDT

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Apr 2012 12:10:11 BDT
M. Holmes says:
Thanks for the links. Having watched it and read the reviews, I don't think I'll get the book.

Posted on 22 Sep 2012 17:35:06 BDT
Helen E says:
thank you for a well written review! Was going to buy the book, but changed my mind - after all I know most of what I need to know abt the subject.. But Ill still look at some of the other books abt the subject... :)

Posted on 5 Jan 2013 21:40:33 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Jan 2013 21:43:20 GMT
Anna says:
rosey lea,
thank you for your comprehensive review. i too saw the ted presentation and got excited about the book. however, reading the extract from her book led me to read several reviews before buying the book. it sounds like that watching her presentation is enough.

Posted on 14 Aug 2013 08:41:56 BDT
K. Denver says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Aug 2013 18:49:14 BDT
Gemma King says:
Actually, no. The difference between the gregarious and the reserved that you describe IS the difference between extraversion and introversion, as the terms are used by personality psychologists. Extraverts have a lower baseline of neurological stimulation, meaning that they have to seek it out, and that they recover from everyday stress by socialising. Introverts, on the other hand, are easily overstimulated and tend to 'recharge' better by spending time on their own or in much smaller, quieter social situations. That doesn't mean that they're not interested in other people, or in things outside themselves, just that they need more quiet/alone-time than an extravert would in order to maintain their mental health.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Nov 2013 19:44:50 GMT
dakinijones says:
Actually, it is your definition of the term that is incorrect, introverts are not unhealthily disinterested in other people. Jung first used the terms introverts and extroverts and described introverts as a
people who gained energy from introspection. There was no assessment that this was a negative psychological characteristic. Your characterisation of introverts as unhealthy sums up the book's argument that currently there is a skewed societal assumption that extroversion (a gaining of energy from external input) is the norm and anything else is undesirable.
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Rosey Lea

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