This is a comprehensive summary of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Covering the key ideas and proposing practical ways for achieving what’s mentioned in the text. Written by book fanatic and online librarian Ivaylo Durmonski. Supporting Members get full access.
Apparently, the world will burn if there are no introverts around. Quiet by Susan Cain explains how thanks to those odd birds who have a hard time expressing themselves we have things like computers and electricity. In a sense, the book is one gigantic study and comparison between introverts and extroverts. Explanation of how these two different types of people think, operate, collide and why you shouldn’t feel embarrassed if you’re one of the quiet ones.
The Core Idea:
While society adores risk-taking alpha people who kind of have loudspeakers embedded in their throats and are addicted by the beam of the spotlight, there are benefits of being sensitive, bookish, and thoughtful introvert with fewer than your mother’s friends online. If you happen to be calm and not so expressive by nature, or you have kids that are like that, don’t freak out. You can still make a valuable contribution to the world.
- The world and every business niche are ruled by loud extroverts.
- Working independently and blocking time to think on your own will both boost your productivity.
- The brains of introverts and extroverts operate differently.
5 Key Lessons from Quiet:
Lesson #1: The World Adores Extroverts
It was fine to be shy and weird till one day the notion of becoming loud attention-seeking narcissistic ruled the world.
This happened in the midst of the 19th century. When the world needed more energetic salesmen to present the rapidly expanding portfolio of goods that would hit the population. Along with that, movies were on a raise and the industry needed more show-offs to entertain the world.
This trend continues.
While being dorky and bookish is becoming a bit more charming these days, every field is mostly dominated by award-oriented talkers who just don’t shut up.
At first glance, you might think, “There’s nothing wrong with that. Introverts love being on their own while extroverts love to communicate. Why don’t let them be?”
That’s what I thought initially, but then the author presented the story of Don…
Don was in high-school. And he and his classmates were participating in a role-playing game. The scenario was simple: They just crash-landed on a deserted island. They salvaged 15 items and their assignment was to rank these items in order of their importance.
One of the kids in the group had a lot of interesting ideas, and actual experience in the field, but since he expressed his views too quietly, no one listened. Yep, the other kids ignored his expertise and cheered the schoolmate who had no prior experience but sounded more energetic about his presentation.
Or in other words, the result of underappreciating quiet people leads to one scary trend: good ideas getting ignored.
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.” Susan Cain
Lesson #2: You Should Work Alone
With the rise of social media platforms, the largest organization, followed by the smaller ones, started to promote a collaborative working space.
And even before the internet ruled the world, people joined local groups and participated in different communities thinking that more people thinking together is preferred than one single dude sitting alone in a room.
While the general proverb is true – two heads think better than one – you should spend more time both working and thinking alone.
Because group thinking destroys creativity.
We shout, we interrupt each other, we criticize, we don’t listen and we’re more likely to obey the loudest person in the room (mentioned in lesson #1).
Since we’re internally programmed to co-op, in a group environment, we tend to obey what the group suggests – even if it’s not true. So, if you have a great idea about creating a revolutionary product, but if your local gathering says it’s stupid, guess what? You will listen to them and you will never create something on your own.
Therefore, if you want to get more work done on a project, or work done in general, work alone.
Here’s an advice from the one and only, Steve Wozniak:
Work alone. You’re going to be best able to design revolutionary products and features if you’re working on your own. Not on a committee. Not on a team.” Steve Wozniak
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