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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

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Link to our thread on introverts in the church.

From the book's Amazon page:

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 twentieth 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.

Susan Cain recently gave a TED talk that I played for my students as a way to rethink group projects.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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I'm loving this book. It's been useful in conversations influencing the way in which my creative team at Seattle Pacific works.

I'm also excited about Jonah Lehrer's new book Imagine, which correlates with a lot of Cain's observations about the myths of brainstorming, the value of solitary work, the advantages that come from monitoring unpredictable social networks, and the necessity of "wasted time."



Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.


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  • 3 months later...
  • 5 months later...

Alan Jacobs (this is tangentially related to the topic of this thread, so I thought it might fit):

The problem with extraverts — not all of them, I grant you, but many, so many — is a lack of imagination. They simply assume that everyone will feel about things as they do. “The more the merrier, right? It’s a proverb, you know.” Yes it is: a proverb coined by an extravert. So people I do not know will regularly send me emails: “Hey, I’ll be in your town soon and I’d love to have lunch or coffee. Just let me know which you’d prefer!” Notice the missing option: not being forced to have a meal and make conversation with a stranger. (Once a highly extraverted friend of mine was trying to get me involved in some project and said, cheerily, “You’ll get to meet lots of new people!” I turned to him and replied, “You realize, don’t you, that you’ve just ensured my refusal to participate?”)
Edited by NBooth
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  • 4 weeks later...

One of the best.books. ever. "Hey, I'm not the only one who does that!" type moments were frequent. :)

I like to say that I practice militant mysticism. I'm really absolutely sure of some things that I don't quite know.~~Rob Bell April/09 CT


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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm at the halfway mark, listening to this and loving it. Cain very adeptly weaves a good understanding of the psychology of introversion/extraversion and shyness into biography and autobiography. I'm gaining some new insights into my own personality style as well as that of a highly introverted family member - like Cheryl, I'm experiencing quite a few 'aha' moments. Very strongly recommended.

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa


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Bought this for my wife who is definitely an introvert. We both took the little quiz that appears early in the book, she scored an 18/20 (big time introvert) and I scored a 12/20 (barely an introvert). The funny thing is throughout most of my life I've considered myself extraverted because I can be loud and talkative in certain circumstances. But in the last couple years I've started to think I was more on the introverted side of things and this little quiz only confirmed that. We're both eager to read it.

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