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Friday, December 9, 2016


I recently read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain (2013). 

In this work, SC paints a contrasting picture between the archetypes we have come to know as either introverts or extroverts.  She also details how introverts (her own predisposition) can and do contribute mightily to the human endeavor.  SC also laments the fact that in western cultures it's the extroverts that tend to garner most of the acclaimed leadership roles. 

My biggest takeaways from the book:

  • The Asch studies (1951-56) highlighted the tendency of humans to conform to groupthink, even when one knows that thinking is wrong.
  • "Peer pressure, in other words, is not only unpleasant, but can actually change your view of a problem." (p. 92)
  • "Temperament refers to inborn, biologically based behavioral and emotional patterns that are observable in infancy and early childhood; personality is the complex brew that emerges after cultural influence and personal experience are thrown into the mix." (p. 101)  
  • Once self-aware of one’s placement on the introvert-extrovert continuum, we can situate ourselves in the appropriate "sweet spot" of social stimulation, and thus, optimize our energy and feeling of aliveness. 
  • "Introverts and extroverts also direct their attention differently:  if you leave them to their own devices, the introverts tend to sit around wondering about things, imagining things, recalling events from their past, and making plans for the future.  The extroverts are more likely to focus on what’s happening around them.  It’s as if extroverts are seeing 'what is' while their introverted peers are asking 'what if.'" (p. 168)   
  • We can effectively manage conversations simply by asking the right questions
  • We can help introverted kids learn to navigate life successfully by helping them learn to react to novel people, places, and events. In effect, helping them learn to process overstimulation  
  • Three simple strategies that help introvert children through uncomfortable moments:  smile, stand up straight, make eye contact. (Seems to me to be good advice for us adults, too.)       

My favorite quote:
"I discovered early on that people don’t buy from me because they understand what I’m selling ; they buy because they feel understood." - Salesman (and introvert) extraordinaire Jon Berghoffe. (p. 239) 

An informative read. 

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