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Publisher's Summary

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the 20th century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.

Perhaps most inspiring, she introduces us to successful introverts--from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Finally, she offers invaluable advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a "pretend extrovert."

This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.

©2012 Susan Cain (P)2012 Random House

Critic Reviews

"An intriguing and potentially life-altering examination of the human psyche that is sure to benefit both introverts and extroverts alike." (Kirkus)
"Cain gives excellent portraits of a number of introverts and shatters misconceptions. Cain consistently holds the reader’s interest by presenting individual profiles, looking at places dominated by extroverts (Harvard Business School) and introverts (a West Coast retreat center), and reporting on the latest studies. Her diligence, research, and passion for this important topic has richly paid off.-" (Publishers Weekly)
"An intelligent and often surprising look at what makes us who we are." (Booklist)

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Quiet May Have Changed My Life

What made the experience of listening to Quiet the most enjoyable?

I have always known that I am an introvert, but this book taught me so much about myself that I don’t know where to begin. This book really blew me away and I look forward to sharing it with a lot of friends and co-workers.

38 of 44 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Raglan, New Zealand
  • 06-05-16

Embrace your shyness

I struggled with this audiobook. I’m interested in the subject of introvertism versus extrovertism but this book didn’t really give me any particularly valuable information. It’s good in the sense that it says it’s OK to be an introvert, and that introverts are often better than extroverts at many things, so if you are an introvert, relax and enjoy it. She also reassures introverts that if you want to play the extrovert game and excel at things such as public speaking, you can do this by applying yourself to the task. An introvert can learn how to behave like an extrovert.

I feel like I’m a mixture of an introvert and an extrovert. Everyone laughs when I say I’m introverted or that I’m shy, but it’s true. I hate making small-talk, I avoid acquaintances in supermarkets because of my dread of having to have a small-talk conversation. I really like doing lots of things on my own (especially listening to audiobooks!). For me, the only way I can tolerate parties is if I apply large doses of beer – 'extrovertism in a glass'. But I’m very happy teaching a class of students and I enjoy being the centre of attention in some other contexts too. I get a buzz off entertaining or enlightening people, and I won the school drama prize. So, as you Americans might say: ‘Go Figure’.

The author mentions, in passing, an ‘ambivert’: a person with an intriguing mixture of introvert and extrovert traits – but to my frustration she never goes on to develop this further. There is also some bogus pseudo-science in this book which put me off, when she analyses the character of Moses to determine if he was introverted. I realise this might score me a couple of ‘unhelpful’ ratings from the religiously inclined, but how can you analyse the personality traits of a person so lost in the mists of time, and who may even be a completely mythical figure? For me, this tarnishes the scientific rigor of the work.

So, the book was a reasonably good listen but it left some questions unanswered and it didn’t fully satisfy me.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Life Changing

What did you love best about Quiet?

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.<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>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. <br/><br/>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.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

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. <br/><br/>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.

Any additional comments?

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.<br/><br/> 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.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Really great information about personalities.

What made the experience of listening to Quiet the most enjoyable?

The thoughtful and insightful explanations of introverts and extroverts, and the examples of each given.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Quiet?

The realization that introverts are not inferior as our culture would have us believe.

What does Kathe Mazur bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She remarkably brings the author to life to me.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

I want to learn more along these lines since listening to this book.

19 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • Alexander
  • RICHMOND, VA, United States
  • 03-03-12

Very good listen

Would you listen to Quiet again? Why?

Ms. Cain is so insightful. The reader (not sure if it's the author) is one of the best I've heard.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

This is a fantastic, incredibly well-written collection of the science behind introversion.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Bradley
  • Colorado Springs, CO, United States
  • 01-31-12

Really Very Good, Mostly!!!!

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.

150 of 189 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • Walnut Creek, CA, United States
  • 04-30-17

Shy Manifesto

This book seems to me to largely confuse the concepts of Shy and Introvert. The author seems to be both shy and an introvert, and society does indeed discourage and ignore the shy (introvert or not). Wider society does make a lot of fun of introverts (nerds, geeks, dork, dweeb, weirdo, standoffish) but also honors them (Einstein, Jobs, Gates, Lincoln, Buffett, Obama, Spielberg...) This book seems really about how western society undervalue the shy as opposed to introverts (but "introvert" made a better title for marketing than "shy".) The book whines a bit about american culture being inappropriately focused on, and encouraging of, extroverts. Much of this is true, but the book fails to notice there are just about as many cases where introverts are encouraged and supported over extroverts (smart, studious, detailed, thinker, deep, brainy, wise, conscientious...)

The author contrasts the Eastern honoring of quiet wisdom, which may be true to some extent, but does not seem to notice, if that were the case, it would be just as unfair, only the other group on top.

I don't quite buy the "scientific" link between introvert and Highly-Sensitive-Person (HSP). This topic is one of the major themes of this book. This book (and numerous other sources) states that 70% of HSP are introverts and the other 30% are kind of introverted. It took a while to track this down and it seems it is based on a study with a sample size of 35 who self identified as HSP by responding to an advertisement for "highly sensitive people who are either highly introverted (for example, preferring the company of one or two people) or easily overwhelmed by stimulation (such as noisy places or evocative or shocking entertainment)." It would be surprising if this study did not find such a correlation. Further studies seems to show a little correlation between HSP and introverts, and not convincingly. I do suspect there is a correlation between HSP and SHY and between SHY and INTROVERT, but only incidental correlation between HSP and INTROVERT.

Some issues were raised worth thinking about like educational techniques for different personality types, ways to support shy children, training for shy adults, and a bit more, but this was not worth wading through the whining, cheerleading, and exaggerated parts.

The narration was quite good for this material and was clear and pleasant.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Stevon
  • Tempe, AZ, United States
  • 06-03-15

I'm an introvert

First time author. For any of us that have felt that we might be introverts and that was a bad thing, this book is for you. It makes us understand that being an introvert isn't necessarily bad, maybe even a good thing. I scored higher on the introvert scale than I thought I might before taking it. The book helps put the introvert/extrovert issue into perspective.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Nancy
  • Waterloo, ON, Canada
  • 01-25-13

Informative for Introverts and Extroverts alike

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Gary
  • Las Cruces, NM, United States
  • 05-25-12

Enjoyable Read.

An enjoyable read. The author puts herself in the story to good effect. You, the reader, will discover things about yourself that you probably weren't aware of. I recommend taking the introvert/extrovert quiz in the book at the 31:30 mark of the first chapter before you start reading the book. Also, if you don't know where you are on the sensitive/intuitive scale take a sensitive/intuitive quick assessment test you can find on the internet before you start reading the book. The will make those sections of the book all the more interesting.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful