I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting from this book. I think I expected to read something relevant to my life experience. Introverts come in many packages and have varied traits and skills. After the first few chapters the author seemed to focus on her particular brand of introversion, emphasizing qualities like sensitivity, empathy, being soft-spoken, slow and deliberate thinking, and even mentioned her own tendency to cry when she sees something that stirs her emotions. Now, I can't be the only introvert out there who is not particularly sensitive or empathetic, who does not notice many details--especially about people--because I am usually thinking of something else. I have never cried over a sad movie, but I know a lot of extroverts who cry at the drop of a hat. I found myself getting a little annoyed actually, and caught myself thinking, "No! That isn't me at all!"
She does cite a lot of research, and those parts carried some interest for a while. It often reads like the author's personal quest to achieve self awareness, and some of the examples she uses (Al Gore for one) make her political 'sensitivities' too much of a focal point for a book that should have been written to speak to introverts, not just to a certain kind of introvert.
No one should buy this book hoping to gain the kind of insight one can get from a great Myers-Briggs session, but people who share many of the author's own qualities will probably enjoy this very much. Others may not get much of out it.
Love speculative fiction so I am always watching for great sci-fi or fantasy. But since I'm a book addict, any good writing works for me - mystery, historical fiction, classics, even great kids' books. Tend to steer clear of YA and romance, but sample some here and there since you never know where great stories or authors may be hiding :)
When I was in college I took a psych elective course which first introduced me to the concept of introversion/extraversion. It was such an eye-opener for this introvert and I excitedly told my Dad about it while home on break. His reaction was, "Get over it, introversion is a sin. You can't be a good witness for Christ, if you are shy." Fortunately, I was already old enough at the time that the statement, although painful, didn't diminish my faith and didn't convince me that I was sinning. But, it was many years before I understood that there is an enormous difference between shyness and introversion - neither one being a sin, IMHO. Over the years I have read what I could find about this aspect of temperament, took the Myers-Briggs test and confirmed my introvert status, and faked being an extravert whenever necessary. So, the conclusions of the studies the author cites (there are many) and her own conclusions were not shocking to me, but this book was still a true delight.
The book itself is well written. Many scientific studies are cited and described but Cain doesn't bog down the listener with dry detail. And, she intersperses the science with interesting real-life examples and illustrative analogies to drive home her points. Cain walks the listener through multiple perspectives of several facets of introversion and its often associated characteristics (like empathy, cautiousness, thoughtfulness, etc.) and provides wonderful examples of where and how this trait may work to advantage in life. And, provides some very useful mechanisms for an introvert to step into a more extraverted role when desired. She also gives some history to explain why my Dad and most people in our society got the idea that introversion is always a negative quality and something to be overcome. (It did help me find a little forgiveness for a comment that has been hurting me a bit for years.)
I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the psyche in general - it is interesting, well-written, and well-narrated. Introverts will love it - proof for many things you've known intuitively, explanations for things you couldn't figure out, and, of course, appreciation for a quality you may have spent your life hiding from many people. Extraverts will find a lot of interesting information about extraversion also and how to use the trait more effectively in life. Any introvert will wish everyone he/she loves would read the book because it explains much that introverts have trouble making their extraverted loved ones understand. But, ultimately, I wish all parents would read this book or something like this so that the MANY introverted kids out there could be affirmed and appreciated for who they really are. It is a pity that virtually all American introverted kids will have to use some of their adult years and energy getting over the judgments and cuts to self esteem that inevitably come to a sensitive thinker in a Just Do It society.
mostly nonfiction listener
Quiet will definitely be included in my list for the top nonfiction books of 2012. This is strong praise indeed, given that we are barely in May. The book is that good that I find it inconceivable that 10 other better nonfiction books will be published this year.
The strength of Quiet surprised me, as I went into reading the book a strong skeptic about the whole concept of personality types. I'm a sociologist, and I believe my bones that structure and situations determine behaviors as much as personality. I've also been unimpressed by either the reliability or validity of tests that purport to predict or explain behavior, such as the MBTI. Nor can I confidently report where I fall on the introvert / extrovert scale, and would have a hard time making this judgment about either my spouse or my children.
If you, like me, are skeptical of personality types then you are ideally suited to approach Quiet. Every page of Quiet contained for me some revelation that caused me to re-think and re-evaluate how I approach my relationships and my work, and how I interpret the actions of colleagues and family.
Cain's thesis is individuals vary on how we respond and react to stimuli. For some of us, external stimulus is energy giving and restorative. Other people may enjoy external stimulus, but interactions with other people subtract from the pool of psychic energy and can be depleting. Those people that we call "introverts" are those that expend energy in interactions, "extroverts" gain energy.
What Cain points out is that our schools and our workplaces have been moving to a state where only the skills and behaviors of extroverts are valued. We want our kids to be assertive and confident. We get worried if our children are reserved, dreamy and quiet. At work we all operate in teams. We look to our colleagues to speak up and to proactively contribute to our discussions and team projects. The vision of the open office, designed to ease collaboration and break down barriers to communication, has captured the imagination of many managers. (I know. I work in just such an open office plan).
Cain believes, and cites lots of evidence to support her ideas, that our efforts to construct our schools and workplaces around only extroverts are counterproductive to our organizations and damaging to individuals. Families, schools and workplaces can be better off with a mix of personality types and styles. We need to design classrooms and workplaces that honor the needs of our colleagues for quiet focus and intensive solo pursuits.
Quiet is one of those books that is so beautifully written and so persuasively argued that one wants to convince everyone else to read along and discuss its conclusions. Sometimes I fantasize about having the sort of wealth that would allow me to hand out books to everyone I come across. Quiet tops my list of books to share so far in 2012.
I thought I would like this book since I consider myself an introvert but it left much to be desired. Although I felt like many of her points were accurate, she also made gross generalizations about extroverts and introverts. These types of comparisons are too black and white to be able to apply to real people.
I bought this book to better understand how I could support our exceedingly introverted son. What surprised me is how much I learned about myself, as well. I learned why I am always so utterly pole-axed after even a brief lunch with friends--and how to better manage my energy. And I got wonderful insights into my son's "quiet" and also learned, as hped, how to support him. After reading this book, I feel like being an introert is very much like having a hidden super power.
I have bought ten copies of this book to hand out to friends and family--and every single person has been amazed at what a fabulous book this is.
If you have a relationship with someone who is on the quiet side, this book will explain to you what is going on in that quiet person's head and heart.
If you are a quiet person yourself, you will find this book to be empowering. The stuidies cited will make you feel wise, will make you grateful to be the introverted soul that you are. You will feel really good aout yourself and want to read it over and over again.
With all the interviews with successful introverts, those who have managed to come out of their shells somewhat, yet still retain their core quiet nature, I felt for the first time in my life that I was not alone. And that the quiet me, who is truly content to be alone for days on end, who would rather read than go to a party, who gets exhausted when pushed into the madding crowd--all that is okay. In fact, those introverted qualities are to be cherished and nurtured.
The book also helped me gain some insight into my son's inner world. He is far more introverted than me, bordering on social anziety. QUIET offered sound advice on hleping him find some balance and encouraging him to push himself in a healthy, nurturing way.
I wish every teacher, every CEO in the world had to read this book. It would open their eyes to the value and wisdom of the quieter people in the world.
If you are involved with a QUIET person, or are a parent to a quiet person, this book will really help you understand why your true love/son/daughter/ parent/friend is the way he/she is--and by the end of the book, you will look at that person with an entirely new, and appreciative eye. You will wish you were QUIET, too.
This is actually quite an inspirational book. I have listened to quite a few “Self Help” selections, specifically in the business genre. The problem with 99% of these books is they try to change what is an introverted individual into an extrovert individual. Cain reveals that this is, for the most part, impossible. If you are an introvert you can only fake being an extrovert. It is like trying to change a homosexual into a heterosexual. They could possibly fake it but you can’t change the nature of the beast. She makes a convincing argument that not only is introversion normal but in many ways an asset. She lists many ways to deal with introversion in today’s extroverted business climate and world in general.
The narrator is the best female narrator that I have ever listened to. I have many hundreds of books in my Audible collections but for some reason I have never cared for female narrators. Mazur has changed that. As with some of my favorite narrators, I will specifically search for selections that she has done. She is that good!
Now the bad part for me; maybe not you. All of Cain’s heroes in modern day life are liberals. She gushes on and on about Al Gore, Barbara Streisand, President Obama and a host of many people that I have severe disdain for. I understand that it is her book and she can slant it as she wishes but considering the subject matter it was unnecessary. If you are politically conservative this leftist lean is annoying but if you think you would be interested in the subject matter this is still a must get selection.
I love learning, teaching, and exploring!
When I decided to read this book, I figured that it would appeal mostly to individuals with introverted personality traits. However, I came to realize that the information presented was helpful to both sides of the introvert/extrovert spectrum. The book included descriptions of many studies on personality and individual/group dynamics and I thoroughly enjoyed these aspects.
The author presents the case that introverts are an important part of society and should not be asked to conform to the more gregarious ideals of the Western world. It came across almost as a defense for introverted behavior. I would definitely recommend this book to my friends, whether they are introverted or extroverted.
Science writer in America's heartland
...Or any manager, for that matter. This book offers strong, research-based strategies for enabling introverted employees -- who are often the creative heart of a company-- to work to their full potential. Perhaps the stronger message for managers would be: if you force introverts to work like extroverts, e.g. ordering them to "brainstorm," or work in teams, or work in loud, busy places with no privacy, you will reap less benefit from their hard work. Cain demonstrates that both introverts and extroverts have important roles to play in business, families, and society. We all benefit if we just let ourselves be who we are.
In regards to the narrator, Mazur has a soothing voice that befits the subject matter of a book called "Quiet."
I'm Trying to see the world with my ears.
This is hardly an impartial review. As somebody who has been called at some point or another the gamut of terms associated with introversion, from "shy" (which I don't object) to "anti-social" (which I most certainly consider unfair), I found in Susan Cain's "Quiet," the validation and appreciation many introverts have been searching for.
This was an incredible, eye opening, wonderful book. Not a dull psychology or just another "self-help" book ... but a life affirming view of MY reality. Interesting from start to finish - so full of "ah HA!" moments, I can't wait to listen to it again - to more fully absorb it all. I hope corporate America and teachers, especially, read this - not just those of us who think/suspect we are introverts. I know it could change so many lives if the world would look at this subject with Susan Cain's brilliant points. I'm going to recommend it to everyone I know. I humbly and sincerely thank Susan for her compassionate and desperately needed book. I will be thinking of my life so differently now! Just a joy to hear.