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QUIET by Susan Cain Kirkus Star


The Power of Introverts In a World that Can't Stop Talking

by Susan Cain

Pub Date: Jan. 24th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-307-35214-9
Publisher: Crown

An enlightened Wall Street survivor exhorts wallflowers everywhere to embrace their solitude-seeking souls and fully appreciate the power of the lone wolf.

Could up to one-half of a nation obsessed with Jersey Shore narcissism and American Idol fame really be inhabited by reserved, sensitive types? According to Cain, yes—and we better start valuing their insight. Extroverts have their place, but things can quickly go haywire when we start confusing assertiveness with competence—the economic meltdown on Wall Street was the most stunning recent example. Had there been a few more conscientious, contemplative introverts in the boardroom (and had they made themselves heard), Cain writes, the country’s fortunes would now be decidedly different. But today’s prevailing susceptibility to “reward sensitivity,” as embodied by alpha-dog Wall Street types, wasn’t always the norm. Cain provides fascinating insight into how the United States shifted from an introvert-leaning “cult of character” to an extrovert-leaning “cult of personality” ruled by the larger-than-life Tony Robbinses of the world. Readers will learn that the tendency for some to be reserved is actually hard-wired, and as every evolutionary biologist will tell you, innate characteristics are there for a reason—to help humans survive and thrive. The author also boldly tackles introverts themselves, as well as the ambivalence many often feel about being relegated to the corner. “Stick to your guns,” writes fellow introvert Cain. The author’s insights are so rich that she could pen two separate books: one about parenting an introverted child and another about how to make an introvert/extrovert relationship work.

An intriguing and potentially life-altering examination of the human psyche that is sure to benefit both introverts and extroverts alike.