Ironically, I can’t stop talking about this book.
Cain says that we have moved from a culture of character (think Lincoln) to a culture of personality (think Dale Carnegie or Zig Ziglar or any number of celebrities) in the last 100 years or so. We have gone from believing that character was of utmost importance to believing that the most gregarious among us have the best ideas, are the smartest, are the best leaders. Research says this just isn’t true.
Anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of people are considered introverts. These are the people who prefer thinking to talking and quiet dinners over parties. They typically enjoy their own company and must recharge after interactions with groups. They may not have quick answers but generally have thoughtful answers.
We have minimized introverts in education to the point that our desks are arranged in pods and our assignments require multiple group meetings to complete. Introverts may be particularly uncomfortable for most of the school day.
Quotes from Quiet
“We need to do teacher training to educate them about what temperament means. Shyness is painful and you want to help a child with shyness – but the underlying temperament of being a careful, sensitive person is to be honoured, valued and respected.”
“To some extent, we’ve always had an admiration for extroversion in our culture. But the extrovert ideal really came to play at the turn of the 20th century when we had the rise of big business.”
“In our society, the ideal self is bold, gregarious, and comfortable in the spotlight. We like to think that we value individuality, but mostly we admire the type of individual who’s comfortable ‘putting himself out there.”
“The bias against introversion leads to a colossal waste of talent, energy, and happiness.”
“Many introverts feel there’s something wrong with them, and try to pass as extroverts. But whenever you try to pass as something you’re not, you lose a part of yourself along the way. You especially lose a sense of how to spend your time.”
Here is a TED Talk by Susan Cain.
Let me know if you have read this. I would love to talk to you!