How the Author of ‘Quiet’ Delivered a Rousing Speech –

More on the power of introverts, a meme that keeps reappearing–even thought this is from a NYTBR that I stumbled across, printed last April 2012 on the author Susan Cain:

My book is about the power of being quiet. About the perils of a society that appreciates good talkers over good ideas. And about the terrible pressure to entertain, to sell ourselves and never to be visibly anxious. I believe all this passionately — which puts me in an interesting pickle. Promoting my work requires doing the very thing my book questions: putting down my pen and picking up a microphone. Now, in what I’ve come to think of as my Year of Speaking Dangerously, I’ve gone on national TV to talk about being the kind of person who dislikes going on national TV. I let my friends talk me into having a big book party, even though my book advises introverts to stay home on New Year’s Eve if they feel like it (I usually feel like it). And in February I took the stage at the 2012 TED conference before an audience of 1,500 people to critique a society that favors the kind of person who craves an audience.

via How the Author of ‘Quiet’ Delivered a Rousing Speech –


3 thoughts on “How the Author of ‘Quiet’ Delivered a Rousing Speech –”

  1. I think the author does a really good job of dispelling some of the issues people have with introverts. The examples she uses show that being introverted doesn’t mean being anti-social. Introverts can make good leaders because of how they view the world, but they still have to be leaders. Here is the TED talk she gave
    Her bio mentions that she was a negotiations consultant. That shows she understands what kind of personalities it takes to have success when interacting with other people.

  2. I thought this was a very intriguing article. So often “shy” or “quiet” people are criticized. Yet, we hear famous quotes like, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” You even hear song lyrics that read, “You say everything when you say nothing at all.” Then the bible reads in Ecclesiastes, “The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.”

    Remaining quiet can be a wonderful tool amongst society with communication endeavors. So what does it exactly mean to be quiet? Is it simply not talking? Is is only writing books? Is is staying quiet in an argument? Who is to say that public speaking is more effective than writing a solid, intellectual book that can touch people? Who is to say that winning an argument is shouting louder, when it just might be the right thing to stay quiet? The author points out that Rosa Parks, Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Steven Spielberg, J.K. Rowling, Charles Schulz do fine once they find their mode of expression.

    In Model UN class we are taught that we need to be eloquent, clear, concise, respectful, and wise speakers. I ,myself, love talking- I believe that it is right for one to interact with their peers and to take a stance in the world. Sitting down doesn’t get you very far, but it is also smart to realize that being quiet, to listen, is a crucial tool of communicating.

  3. I found this article deeply insightful and eye-opening for me as a reader. Ironically, I also found it deeply entertaining and was mesmerized by the author’s delightfully blunt and humorous choice of words. I have often considered the paradox of introverts, the desire to be by one’s self in a world where the consent of others means so much. In fact, in our modern society today, the opinion of others and how you are perceived by your peers sometimes matters above all other social factors. It is simply to difficult to survive by only relying on oneself for companionship, so although a large percentage of the population may thrive on individuality and isolation, if they wish to survive in society they are forced out of their shell. From a young age we are encouraged, especially as members of the church, to cultivate our social skills. Specifically, our ability to lead and the speak publicly in front of our peers or even elders emphasizes the need to interact with others. I found this excerpt from Susan Cain’s book refreshing in its blunt honesty, and her ability to put into words feelings that I have long shared. Her book focuses primarily on the idea of “the power of being quiet”. I refer back again to my upbringing in the LDS church, where we are taught to open our mouths and share our personal feelings and ideas from childhood. When I read the title, I thought her book was written and intended for those awkward souls who go through life without a friend or really any social interaction. In reality, Cain has provided us with an insightful commentary on the individuals who simply don’t need to talk. It is not a matter of having nothing to say, but rather choosing what to say and when. I remember following our lesson on Public Speaking we discussed the example of a (Japanese?) diplomat who could command an audience of any size or importance with only a few simple words. These words were concise but powerful, and above all else, they were thought-provoking and controversial. If only all diplomats, politicians, and members of the LDS faith could learn ‘the power of being quiet’.

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