This book changed my life. I listened twice. That was one month ago. Since then I have lost 15 pounds without doing anything differently except following the premise of this book. My wife is pissed at my success because she has been busting her butt in exercise classes and has only dropped 8 pounds. So there you go.
I've listened to this book twice, and then downloaded the Kindle version, because the information written herein is vital to processing the world around us. This book is full of mind-blowing stats and info that everyone should know. If we can learn to understand the world and not fear it, as well as take note of the things we should fear and respect but do not, we could all live better lives.
Nate Silver is hot right now. As I write this, it is three days before the presidential election and he is predicting an Obama win (82% chance of winning). His insights about stats, opinions, signal and noise are spot on. Although I am still not 100% sure what Bayesian logic is. Overall a great listen full of insight. A note on the narrator. I take back every negative comment I've ever made in my reviews of his performances. He was excellent in this context.
For those who dread, rather than anticipate, parties, crowds and other social events, "Quiet" will take you from "What's wrong with me?" to recognizing the complex social roles that the "shy" or "quiet" personalities play. Like me, you might end the book wondering why the hyper-social, extroverted kids aren't the ones sent to the Resource Room; perhaps their behavior could be modified to be less loud, more aware...?
Susan Cain's premise is that introverts have always gotten the message that there's something about them that needs fixing - or they're failing to meet certain social performance standards. But "Quiet" suggests that while Americans (and the world) enjoy outstanding benefits from quiet people, we also pay a high price for under-valuing them. (From the book-- how different Bill Clinton would be if he'd been pressured to conform to a "Bill Gates" personality or Bill Gates had been required to be more like Bill Clinton!) One of the best aspects of this book is how Cain zings in on introvert-specific traits (the ones even introverts view as quirky or fringy or even disordered) and demonstrates how absolutely critical they are to our progress in the arts and sciences.
"Quiet" is an especially timely book with the diagnosis of Asperger's and debilitating shyness and other spectrum "disorders" on the rise (and being behaviorally modified). It's naturally written and authoritative but there's no need (much) to buzz over scientific jargon. Cain makes a solid, entertaining argument that the introverted personality that we've all been conditioned to be concerned about, would be better off celebrated and cultivated. As an audio book, another 5 stars.