- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 10 hours and 39 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: January 24, 2012
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00714PZMQ
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking Audiobook – Unabridged
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I blamed myself - there must be something `wrong with me' because I can't handle the job. I wanted to leave, but thought, if I can't handle this job, how am I going to handle a new job? It'll probably be more of the same. I thought I was just getting soft because I was getting older (I'm in my late 40s).
I've always known I was introverted, but I didn't realize just what all that entailed - I thought it mostly meant `shy' or that I didn't like social settings.
This book taught me more about myself than I've ever known. It read like my biography. Almost every page had a new insight into why I think and feel the way I do. Throughout the book I saw my very own self described in new and empowering ways.
I learned that the job situation I'm currently in - the non-stop deadline demands, interruptions, never being able to work quietly or alone no matter how difficult a project was, phones ringing incessantly, people in my face all day long, etc. - especially when it's work that I actually don't care anything about personally - those are the exact circumstances that trip every one of a strong introvert's triggers. And I was subjecting myself to it 40 hours a week, for months.
It's no wonder I was so miserable and completely exhausted all the time. And as enlightening as it was to learn how many of the traits I've beat myself up for over the years are just a product of my introverted temperament (being highly sensitive, shutting down when subjected to stimulation overload, preferring to think a thing through before I speak - something I never get to do at work, as if it takes me more than 5 seconds to say something, I get interrupted and cut off), the most important thing I got from this book is that it's okay to be myself, it's okay to feel the way I do. There is not something `wrong with me' that I have to `fix.' I am not weak or a failure because I don't feel or behave like my extremely extroverted boss (who thrives in high-energy crisis mode, and is bored unless he's doing 10 things at once - and expects the rest of us to keep up).
And far from it being an age-related `going soft,' what's probably in fact going on is that as I get older, it is becoming increasingly vital to me to be truer to myself.
I also found the information on the history of the "rise of the Culture of Personality" completely fascinating, it really gave me a new insight as to just exactly how we 'grew' this tendency to value extroversion over introversion. It makes so much more sense now.
This book gave me the courage I needed to start taking the steps to fix my work situation. Not only the courage, but the `permission' and the understanding - because I now know there isn't something wrong with me, but instead this is what I need to do to be my best self, and stop killing myself with stress. That I probably can find a place of value in the world by being myself, not trying to force myself to be something I'm not. I know I will meet resistance from my boss (I'd love for him to read this book, but unfortunately I know he won't), and I know I won't instantly fix everything in one day, and that I'll probably always need to be able to stretch myself a bit to do things that are not ideal for me ... but this book taught me that there are ways to make that work, too, if you understand and honor the need for recharging around such tasks, instead of trying to force yourself to do them 8 hours a day with no break. It doesn't have to be all or nothing, in either direction. Basically, I'm not out of the woods yet, but I now see the path out, and I have hope.
I think every introvert should read this book, because it will help you understand why you are who you are, and why that's a beautiful thing, not a character flaw. And I think everyone who knows an introvert should read this book, and quit trying to "fix us."
Which means pretty much the entire country (or world) should read this book. The wealth of information and insights in this book cannot be overstated - especially if you are an introverted type of person who has always felt there was something not quite right about you, or that you somehow needed to change to fit in or succeed. This book will give you back yourself, and in my case, my life. Thank you, Susan Cain, from the bottom of my heart (which is finally beating at a more normal speed because I'm not panicked about going to work for the first time in months).
Edited 11-13-14: It worked! I'm now working half-days at the office and half-days at home, and in a few weeks will transition to working from home full time. I never imagined that could happen. It's amazing what becomes possible when you finally realize you deserve what you already knew you needed.
In "Quiet," Ms. Cain explains the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the 1920s and how it is that today we associate talkative, risk-taking, and action-oriented people with intelligence, beauty, power and success. The Extrovert Ideal is so pervasive that influences our work performance, educational policies, political choices, and even the country's financial health. But the focus of "Quiet" is on exposing the myths and misunderstandings that were born when we as a culture embraced the Extrovert Ideal and turned introversion into a malady to be avoided.
To dispel the misconception that introversion is some kind of sickness or "weirdness", Ms. Cain traces both the biological and cultural basis for introversion and extroversion and their role as evolutionary survival strategies in animals and humans. She interviews scientists who have conducted hundreds of studies to test different theories in an effort to determine how much of our temperament is a result of genetics and/or of our free will.
The best part of "Quiet" is that the insights gleaned from these studies can help introverts take advantage of their special traits and thrive on their own terms in an extroverted world. Since introversion and extroversion are preferences for a certain level of outside stimulation, Ms. Cain advises introverts to find their "sweet spot" --or what scientists call the optimal level of arousal. Scientists also notice that introverts engage in "deliberate practice" or working alone so for those looking for a job, Ms. Cain encourages them to pay attention to the layout of working spaces to determine how much interruption they may have to deal with at work. For those still deciding on a career, the author reminds readers that research shows that introverts are not reward-seeking like extroverts, but rather motivated by the enjoyment they find in pursuing an activity; in other words, by being in what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls the "flow". Ms. Cain offers encouragement to introverts to venture in the extrovert world because we all have the ability to stretch our limits but the optimal way for introverts to do it is in the service of their "core projects," the things they are passionate about. And for those with children, the author dedicates an entire chapter for helping introvert children become confident and comfortable in extroverted environments and situations.
Amid the research and the advice, Ms. Cain calls the readers' attention to those introverts who have made a difference in the world like Rosa Parks and Ghandi. They showed that empathy, thoughtfulness, persistence, compassion, focus and conscientiousness, all characteristics ascribed to introversion, are leadership attributes too.
"Quiet" has not only given me a better understanding of introversion but also of the opposite trait. The same person, who labeled me as "anti-social" also boasted on how easily he could befriend people and in the same breath, complained about how my quietness and solitary pursuits would be hell for him. After reading Ms. Cain's book, now I realize why somebody who can make 100 friends would be so bothered by the one solitude-seeking friend in the group and why introverts and extroverts attract each other. And so, I think, introverts and extroverts will both benefit from reading "Quiet". But for those of us, innies who find joy in doing our own thing, prefer a book than join a party or think monastic silence is bliss, there is no longer any need to feel guilty or like we are oddballs because of our preferences. The message from "Quiet" is clear. Introversion has never been an aberration but a variant of the norm.
I gave it four stars only because it is extremely long, and I found a lot of it tedious to read. I am an excellent reader, and it has taken me most of my summer break to get through the book. I was never bored exactly, but it does have a lot of information. It requires a lot of attention while you read it. I'm so glad that I did, but this should not be approached as light reading.