The Power of Introverts


31 October 2012 by thaliakr

Saturday Auditorium Series Speaker: Susan Cain

Susan Cain (Photo credit: ALA – The American Library Association)

In beautiful language and with trembling intensity, Susan Cain tells us in this TED talk why the world needs introverts, and why we’re in danger of missing out on what they offer.

How’s this for ouchily insightful?

There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.

Her bio and introduction to the talk is below, or you could just press play.

Susan Cain is a former corporate lawyer and negotiations consultant — and a self-described introvert. At least one-third of the people we know are introverts, notes Cain in her new book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Although our culture undervalues them dramatically, introverts have made some of the great contributions to society – from Chopin’s nocturnes to the invention of the personal computer to Gandhi’s transformative leadership. Cain argues that we design our schools, workplaces, and religious institutions for extroverts, and that this bias creates a waste of talent, energy, and happiness. Based on intensive research in psychology and neurobiology and on prolific interviews, she also explains why introverts are capable of great love and great achievement, not in spite of their temperaments — but because of them.

There’s more fascinating stuff from Susan Cain on her website. And of course, her book is available all over the place, including here.

I remember in a Myers-Briggs workshop with the wonderful Nita and Bob, the exercise for testing out whether you were more on the introvert end of spectrum or the extravert end was to go away in two groups. The (possible) introverts were instructed to write a list of things they’d always wanted to tell extraverts. The extraverts were told to… listen to the introverts.

So: we’re listening! Introverts: what would you like to tell the extraverts of the world?


5 thoughts on “The Power of Introverts

  1. Daina says:

    I would say thanks for the entertainment and a bigger thanks for being up the front when we don’t want to. And even though we are harder work to get to know sometimes, it’s usually worth it :)

  2. […] am an introvert, and with that comes a desire, no, a need, to have time to myself. Some days, when the boys wave to […]

  3. […] Susan Cain? You may have seen her fabulous TED talk that I posted a week or two ago, based on her book, Quiet: the Power of […]

  4. […] afternoon, she and I took him out so his dad could get some introvert time. Over lunch she noticed that I was leaning on the cafe table, getting closer and closer to […]

  5. […] Susan Cain? You may have seen her fabulous TED talk that I posted a while ago, based on her book, Quiet: the Power of […]

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