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Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking [Format Kindle]

Susan Cain
4.1 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (13 commentaires client)

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Today we make room for a remarkably narrow range of personality styles. We’re told that to be great is to be bold, to be happy is to be sociable. We see ourselves as a nation of extroverts—which means that we’ve lost sight of who we really are. Depending on which study you consult, one third to one half of Americans are introverts—in other words, one out of every two or three people you know. (Given that the United States is among the most extroverted of nations, the number must be at least as high in other parts of the world.) If you’re not an introvert yourself, you are surely raising, managing, married to, or coupled with one.

If these statistics surprise you, that’s probably because so many people pretend to be extroverts. Closet introverts pass undetected on playgrounds, in high school locker rooms, and in the corridors of corporate America. Some fool even themselves, until some life event—a layoff, an empty nest, an inheritance that frees them to spend time as they like— jolts them into taking stock of their true natures. You have only to raise the subject of this book with your friends and acquaintances to find that the most unlikely people consider themselves introverts.

It makes sense that so many introverts hide even from themselves. We live with a value system that I call the Extrovert Ideal—the omnipresent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight. The archetypal extrovert prefers action to contemplation, risk- taking to heed-taking, certainty to doubt. He favors quick decisions, even at the risk of being wrong. She works well in teams and socializes in groups. We like to think that we value individuality, but all too often we admire one type of individual—the kind who’s comfortable “putting himself out there.” Sure, we allow technologically gifted loners who launch companies in garages to have any personality they please, but they are the exceptions, not the rule, and our tolerance extends mainly to those who get fabulously wealthy or hold the promise of doing so.

Introversion—along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness—is now a second- class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Introverts living under the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man’s world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we’ve turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.

The Extrovert Ideal has been documented in many studies, though this research has never been grouped under a single name. Talkative people, for example, are rated as smarter, better- looking, more interesting, and more desirable as friends. Velocity of speech counts as well as volume: we rank fast talkers as more competent and likable than slow ones. The same dynamics apply in groups, where research shows that the voluble are considered smarter than the reticent—even though there’s zero correlation between the gift of gab and good ideas. Even the word introvert is stigmatized—one informal study, by psychologist Laurie Helgoe, found that introverts described their own physical appearance in vivid language ( “green- blue eyes,” “exotic,” “high cheekbones”), but when asked to describe generic introverts they drew a bland and distasteful picture (“ungainly,” “neutral colors,” “skin problems”).

But we make a grave mistake to embrace the Extrovert Ideal so unthinkingly. Some of our greatest ideas, art, and inventions—from the theory of evolution to van Gogh’s sunflowers to the personal computer— came from quiet and cerebral people who knew how to tune in to their inner worlds and the treasures to be found there.

Copyright © 2012 by Susan Cain. From the book QUIET: The Power Of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, published by Crown, a division of Random House, Inc.  Reprinted with permission.


I can't get Quiet out of my head. It is an important book - so persuasive and timely and heartfelt it should inevitably effect change in schools and offices (Jon Ronson The Guardian )

Susan Cain's Quiet has sparked a quiet revolution. In our booming culture, hers is a still, small voice that punches above its weight. Perhaps rather than sitting back and asking people to speak up, managers and company leaders might lean forward and listen (Megan Walsh The Times )

Quiet is a very timely book, and Cain's central thesis is fresh and important. Maybe the extrovert ideal is no longer as powerful as it was; perhaps it is time we all stopped to listen to the still, small voice of calm (Daisy Goodwin The Sunday Times )

A startling, important, and readable page-turner (Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth )

Mark my words, this book will be a bestseller (Guy Kawasaki, author of Enchantment )

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Interesting book 18 septembre 2014
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
It was quite an interesting book to read and I did recognize myself in several occasions.
Some pieces of advice also helped me but only a few because I live in France and it's of course completely different from the US.

I think that book can be interesting to both introverts (to show them they're not alone and that's okay to be introvert) and extroverts (to help them understand that not everyone can do as they do) although I found the author was sometimes a bit "harsh" with extroverts.
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 3,5 stars 15 juillet 2014
Par Leïla
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Susan Cain's book shows how our society from school to the labor world is made for extroverts people and the difficulty introverts, who represents 30 to 50 % of the population, have to deal with it. She also put a chapter full of advices for parents with introverts children, which makes sense since our occidental societies's extroverts bias impacts their education.

At times I found it redundant but I really enjoyed her academic approach. I also think that this book might not only be helpful for introverts but also for the labor world actors.

My oldest son is an extrovert, my youngest an introvert and their father an extrovert. The kids didn't take the test, the category they belong to is really obvious. The funny thing is that you would think that I'll have more "affinities" with my youngest and their father with the oldest but the truth is that our entourage considers that my oldest son and me are as thick as thieves, not the other way around. And when I complain about my youngest to his father, his answer is that we are so much alike. So not funny, but it's the living proof that we need both types.
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4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 few interesting parts lost in a long book 29 septembre 2013
Par mickey
Format:Format Kindle
The subject of this book is very important. Personnality psychology could change your life or even the world. Thus, everyone should learn about his or her personnality. But this book may not be the best way to do it.
It's very talkative, there's a lot of boring passages where the author talks in great lengths about all places she visited and the people she met or admires. My fast reading skills were very useful !
It's a very american book, it's all about american culture. There's an interesting part at the beginning about self-improvement in the U.S. but otherwise it's quite uninteresting for non-american people (for instance the whole chapter about asian-american students in california...). The chapter about education was also very "american" and since I don't have kids I just fast-read it.
There are interesting ideas and studies here and there but beware there's a lot of sorting out to do !
My advice : watch the lecture on TED and if you like susan cain, buy the book, otherwise find an other one.
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 Eye-opening 7 mars 2013
Par Treena B.
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I bought this book (Kindle version) on the basis of the Guardian review. I liked it so much, I was sorry when it finished, and I have just bought a paper copy to offer as a present to a family member. I find it particularly thought-provoking, perhaps because I would consider myself on the introvert side of the scale. It has some very interesting considerations for parenting a "shy" child.
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 Very Interesting 28 octobre 2014
Par Haidji
This book is very interesting. It can help you to understand and appreciate the value and challenges of introverted (and extroverted) personality tendencies in yourself and others.
This book is well written and full of interviews, scientific studies, anecdotes, and advice.
I recommend this book.
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 You go, Quiet! 28 juin 2013
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I liked Quiet. While you can feel the author has a bit of an axe to grind with extroverts, let's keep in mind this is an American book written in the context of contemporary American culture. Someone had to speak up for introverts (isn't that a contradiction though? ;0) in a world that only seems to glorify the qualities of grandiosity, self-aggrandizement, brashness, confidence. I even discovered my own inner introvert, and began paying more attention to her...!
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Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Awesome, for all introverts and their relatives. Excellent, à offrir à tous les timides et leurs proches, à tous les instituteurs aussi.
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