Friday, January 27, 2012

"There's a quiet storm brewing on the horizon, and I think it's about to come blowing in," says Pete

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.

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.

Pete says:
"There are times when a quiet person is accused of being anti-social. And it's not like you can zing back with 'Oh yeah, well you're pro-social.' In all likelihood it'll be taken as a compliment, as in 'Thanks, I've always been a people person.' As a kid, I often got the question 'Why are you so quiet?' And as a kid I wasn't able to formulate that being quiet wasn't a disease, so my standard answer was simply 'I don't know.' So you grow up, and sometimes you don't fit in, and you wonder, 'Maybe I am broken in some way?' Quiet is a book I wish was around 25 years ago. This is a book for the quiet person you are and for the quiet person you know. They're not broken, and in most cases in no need of therapy or medication. They're doing just fine, perhaps even thriving.

A quiet person will not rush the podium when it comes to public speaking, but are often times better able to express themselves through the written word or through art. Though lacking in the gift of gab, their listening skills are perhaps more astute. Sometimes introverted personalities and extroverted personalities seek each other out as in an 'opposites attract' scenario. They complement each other nicely in many situations. But,
sooner or later, the extrovert will hear the call of the wild and want to party, while the introvert may seek nothing more than a quiet night with a good book. The author suggests many good compromising strategies for introvert/extrovert couples and also describes helpful techniques for raising quiet children. These kids probably won't end up auditioning for 'American Idol' or joining the cast of any reality-based television shows, but they're readers and thinkers and artists and engineers and scientists. They keep their heads down but work just as hard as anyone.

I recommend this book to parents, teachers, business leaders, and anyone else seeking a better understanding of reserved individuals, and learning ways to better utilize their many talents, often unseen and especially unheard. There's a quiet storm brewing on the horizon, and I think it's about to come blowing in."

1 comment:

Kelly Robinson said...

Intriguing subject. I'm a chatterbox married to a quite reserved man. This might be something we both should read.