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

cascadeofwater, January 24, 2013

[Quote from p. 51] "If we assume that quiet and loud people have roughly the same number of good (and bad) ideas, then we should worry if the louder and more forceful people always carry the day. This would mean that an awful lot of bad ideas prevail while good ones get squashed. Yet studies in group dynamics suggest that this is exactly what happens. We perceive talkers as smarter than quiet types--even though grade-point averages and SAT and intelligence test scores reveal this perception to be inaccurate. In one experiment in which two strangers met over the phone, those who spoke more were considered more intelligent, better looking, and more likable. We also see talkers as leaders. The more a person talks, the more other group members direct their attention to him, which means that he becomes increasingly powerful as a meeting goes on. It also helps to speak fast; we rate quick talkers as more capable and appealing than slow talkers."

In 'Quiet', Susan Cain offers more than mere validation for introverts. She reveals the imbalance of our society, which overprizes extroversion, group work, and dominant communication styles. It is a thoughtful, insightful contribution which resonated deeply for me. I have the sense that this book will still be a bestseller in ten years because of its breakthrough relevance. Perhaps the tide will start to turn toward more sensitivity to those who need a quieter environment, and to a better balance between contrasting styles.
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