I was early to meet a friend for coffee at 3rd Place Books this morning, and saw this book. It deeply struck a cord in me that I'd forgotton about until today. Years ago I had a boss [and her name totally does NOT rhyme with Steve] who was simply never happy with my approach. She pounded me on a daily basis to be more aggressive, to speak out more, become louder. One day, we had a manager's summit, and all the manager's reporting to Steve were required to take the Meyer's Briggs personality test. As it turns out, I was her only direct-report with the dreaded I in their results. Her reaction: I had no idea ... but that explains it! All her other managers were fast talkers - big-time complainers about HOW MUCH WORK they had, HOW FULL THEIR PLATES were, HOW THEY WORKED sometimes TEN HOUR DAYS. I would sit in meetings and think how terribly inefficient they must be if they can't get a good day's work done in 8 hours. Hadn't they heard of delegating, multi-tasking? But Steve ate it up. I remember driving home most days that I worked for Steve thinking how she was missing out on a really thoughtful team-member - who could handle almost any project creatively and resourcefully - by trying to change me into something I would never be. So clearly today I was thrilled to see this book.
"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."