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Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking    by Susan Cain Amazon.com order for
Quiet
by Susan Cain
Order:  USA  Can
Broadway, 2013 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Carrol Wolverton

No World for Quiet People ...

America is the land of the talking, the land of the sound bite, not the land of the think bite. Author, Susan Cain, discusses at length the Harvard Business School model for education of future leaders. It's all about communication and group action with the loudest and most dynamic prevailing. Extroverts are our valued leaders.

The quiet and introverted are flawed, not as popular, not as bright, often discounted. Their opinions don't count. This is most unfortunate because they are often correct and more accurate. They are the thinkers who get things right. Cain makes a great case for introverts. Albert Einstein is the time-honored favorite. J. K. Rowling is a more current example.

Problems occur in government and in corporations when the extrovert-leader types carry the day without all the facts, without enough information, and with disastrous results. I can't help but think of President Clinton and now Obama and how their extroverted personalities carried elections. Seems to me that some of Clinton's policies contributed to our most recent real estate debacle. Taking off the financial controls maybe wasn't one of his better ideas.

Certain peoples, such as Asian peoples and others, have difficult times dealing with American extrovertism. Quiet persistence is their preferred method. Cain quotes an old Japanese proverb: 'The wind howls, but the mountain remains still.' She discusses Gandhi's quiet ways and how his methods prevail.

She notes that naturally shy and introverted people can act out of character to get what they want. They can also use their preferred methods to succeed if they are persistent and stay with their views and beliefs. She advises that corporations and leaders need to take into consideration the dynamic of the more thoughtful, silent personalities. The more quiet make better proactive employees, work well on their own, and produce better outcomes, if allowed.

The book's value is its in-depth discussion of the personalities of introverts and their roles in society. She advises the shy to seek refuge outlets. Insist on time away to regroup and recharge. A danger I see is long-term damage to the person. High anxiety results from operating out of character. Health and personal problems result from doing so for long periods. Yes, it's good to stretch outside of one's comfort zone but maybe not long term. Better to find a nitch where you fit. That's why we have authors, writers, inventors, artists, and other creative people. We used to have librarians. I see a better solution from an individual point of view to seek your own level of comfort for the long haul.

Cain states that most of the more shy will not be as successful as the extroverts and may not make as much money. The noisy society will kill off some ambition and, when possible, steal ideas. Ultimately, at least some will prevail because they are right and persistent. The Bill Gates of America do succeed. My favorite is Craig Newmark of Craigslist, who like Gates, changed the world.

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