Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain

If you’re an introvert, you have probably thought more than once that something is wrong with you. Quick note: nothing is wrong with you. Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and explains how much we lose in doing so. Cain also argues for a balance in society, school, and work that lets introverts be true to themselves and where the two personality types complement each other.

This book helps you see the other side and provides great insight into the world of introversion. It’s great for introverts to learn more about themselves and also great for extroverts to understand introverts a little better.


  1. There is no such thing as a pure extrovert or a pure introvert.
  2. Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured
  3. How could you be shy and courageous?
  4. Why shouldn’t quiet be strong? And what else can quiet do that we don’t give it credit for?
  5. It makes sense that so many introverts hide even from themselves.
  6. We like to think that we value individuality, but all too often we admire one type of individual – the kind who’s comfortable “putting himself out there.”
  7. Introverts are drawn to the inner world of thought and feeling and extroverts to the external life of people and activities.
  8. Introverts recharge their batteries by being alone; Extroverts need to recharge when they don’t socialize enough.
  9. Introverts feel “just right” with less stimulation, as when they sip wine with a close friend, solve a crossword puzzle, or read a book. Extroverts enjoy the extra bang that comes from activities like meeting new people, skiing slippery slopes, and cranking up the stereo.
  10. Introverts: prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict.
  11. Ever tried selling yourself to you?
  12. Respect for individual human personality has reached its lowest point.
  13. How did we go from Character to Personality without realizing that we had sacrificed something meaningful along the way?
  14. You don’t have to be an extrovert to feel alive.
  15. But nowadays we tend to think that becoming more extroverted not only makes us more successful but also makes us better people.
  16. Introverts are uniquely good at leading initiative-takers. Because of their inclination to listen to others and lack of interest in dominating social situations, introverts are more likely to hear and implement suggestions.
  17. The more creative people tended to be socially poised introverts.
  18. Introverts prefer to work independently, and solitude can be a catalyst to innovation.
  19. Where people’s respect for others is based on their verbal abilities, not their originality or insight. You have to be someone who speaks well and calls attention to yourself. It’s an elitism based on something other than merit.
  20. If you want to improve what you’re doing, you have to be the one who generates the move.
  21. Excessive stimulation seems to impede learning.
  22. The brain is incapable of paying attention to two things at the same time.
  23. If personal space is vital to creativity, so is freedom from peer pressure.
  24. Make imagination a hobby.
  25. The solution was not to have his employees work alone, but rather to remove the threat of criticism from group work.
  26. Social Loafing: In a group, some individuals tend to sit back and let others do the work.
  27. Production Blocking: Only one person can talk or produce an idea at once, while the other group members are forced to sit passively.
  28. Evaluation Apprehension: Meaning the fear of looking stupid in front of one’s peers.
  29. Try to think of happy things.
  30. Psychologists often discuss the difference between “temperament” and “personality.” 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.
  31. Temperament is the foundation, and personality is the building.
  32. Every behavior has more than one cause.
  33. Enjoyment appears at the boundary between boredom and anxiety when the challenges are just balanced with the person’s capacity to act.
  34. We have free will and can use it to shape our personalities.
  35. We are like rubber bands at rest. We are elastic and can stretch ourselves, but only so much.
  36. Let’s focus on another difference between introverts and extroverts: their preference for stimulation.
  37. Stimulation is the amount of input we have coming in from the outside world. It can take any number of forms, from noise to social life to flashing lights.
  38. Introverts and extroverts often need a very different level of stimulation to function at their best.
  39. Once you understand introversion and extroversion as for certain levels of stimulation, you can begin consciously trying to situate yourself preferences in an environment favorable to your own personality – neither overstimulating nor understimulating, neither boring nor anxiety-making.
  40. People who are aware of their sweet spots have the power to leave jobs that exhaust them and start new and satisfying businesses.
  41. Understanding your sweet spot can increase your satisfaction in every arena of your life, but it goes even further than that. Evidence suggests that sweet spots can have life-or-death consequences.
  42. There is no one more courageous than the person who speaks with the courage of his convictions.
  43. Sensitive people see faces of people experiencing strong feelings, they have more activation than others do in areas of the brain associated with empathy and with trying to control strong emotions. They can’t help but feel what others feel.
  44. The lower-reactive you are, the cooler your skin, the cooler you are.
  45. Alcohol removes our inhibitions and lowers our arousal levels.
  46. Embarrassment is a moral emotion. It shows humility, modesty, and a desire to avoid aggression and make peace. It’s not about isolating the person who feels ashamed, but about bringing people together.
  47. It’s better to mind too much than to mind too little.
  48. Embarrassment reveals how much the individual cares about the rules that bind us to one another.
  49. Extroverts, in other words, often find themselves in an emotional state we might call “buzz” – a rush of energized, enthusiastic feelings.
  50. Extroverts seem to get an extra buzz from the pursuit and attainment of their goals.
  51. Buzz can cause us to ignore warning signs we should be heeding.
  52. Introverts are “geared to inspect” and extroverts “geared to respond.”
  53. Extroverts find it harder to learn how to avoid the trouble staring them in the face.
  54. Introverts are not smarter than extroverts.
  55. It’s as if extroverts are seeing “what is” while introverted peers are asking “what if.”
  56. Train yourself to spend energy on what’s truly meaningful to you.
  57. The key to flow is to pursue an activity for its own sake, not for the reward it brings.
  58. In a gentle way, you can shake the world.
  59. Words are potentially dangerous weapons that reveal things better left unsaid.
  60. A man has as many social selves as there are distinct groups of persons about whose opinion he cares. He generally shows a different side of himself to each of these different groups.
  61. Do fixed personality traits really exist, or do they shift according to the situation in which people find themselves?
  62. People who are “rejection-sensitive” are warm and loving when they feel secure, hostile, and controlling when they feel rejected.
  63. It’s not always so easy, it turns out, to identify your core personal projects. And it can be especially tough for introverts, who have spent so much of their lives conforming to extroverted norms that by the time they choose a career or a calling, it feels perfectly normal to ignore their own preferences.
  64. I try to tap into my empathy. I take her tone out of the equation and try to get to what she’s trying to say.
  65. Consider that the simplest social interaction between two people requires performing an astonishing array of tasks: interpreting what the other person is saying; reading body language and facial expressions; smoothly taking turns talking and listening; responding to what the other person said; assessing whether you’re being understood; determining whether you’re well-received, and if not, figuring out how to improve or remove yourself from the situation.
  66. The purpose of school should be to prepare kids for the rest of their lives, but too often what kids need to be prepared for is surviving the school day itself.
  67. Why do we accept this one-size-fits-all situation as a given when we know perfectly well that adults don’t organize themselves this way?
  68. If you find something that arouses your passion or provides a welcome challenge, you forget yourself for a while. It’s like an emotional vacation.
Some people are more certain of everything than I am of anything.
*I take no credit for any of these points.

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