Tuesday, May 8, 2012

QUIET by Susan Cain

In her book QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking author Susan Cain presents evidence that the quiet people whom party goers avoid like Yersinia pestis (bubonic plague) actually possess a sizable portion of the world’s creativity, intelligence, compassion, and sensitivity. This is the opposite conclusion drawn by those who attend seminars held by personality gurus like Anthony Robbins (who charges hundreds of dollars in order to drain every ounce of introversion from you in hopes of selling you on “more elite” seminars costing thousands.)  Rick Warren and Joel Osteen, likewise, preach extroversion to their massive audiences, while it is also the gospel taught at The Harvard Business School (once attended by Bush.) Women tend to favor charming, extroverted men, who supposedly will go out to do battle and bring home the bacon as lawyers, if not doctors. Too bad that most criminals are also extroverts (including rapists, con artists, and wife beaters.) On the other hand, here are some of the world’s best known introverts:  Isaac Newton, Vincent van Gogh, Chopin, Darwin, Gandhi, Einstein, Steve Wozniak (creator of the personal computer), Larry Page (founder of Google), Rosa Parks, J.K. Rowling, Steven Spielberg.  Why is this so?  As Cain explains it, thinking in committee (groupthink) is overrated.  Insights come to individuals, not to groups. The very definition of “original” is antithetical to “committee.”  Yes, the world needs extroverts, but it does not only need extroverts---and they are overrated.  Kathe Mazur narrates the audiobook version of this ear-opening and well researched wake-up call. 

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