Susan Cain. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop. Talking. New York: Crown Publishing, , pages. Reviewed by Lisa A. Gardner. The more yeses you give, the more introvert you are. Susan Cain says there are no % pure introverts or. PDF | On Jan 1, , Kapil D Regmi and others published Book Review: Cain, S . (). Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking. The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking, Susan Cain.
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9 Best-Loved Stories by Susan Cain. THE. POWER. OF. INTROVERTS .. In researching my book, QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World. That Can't Stop . Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Cain, Susan. Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking / Susan Cain.—1st ed. p. cm. 1. Originally Answered: Where can I download a PDF of Quiet: The Power of In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows.
The Role of Free Will and The Secret of Public Speaking for Introverts The amygdala sounds the alarm when we see novel or potentially threatening stimuli, such as a snake. How strong a response the amygdala sends and how easily it can be restrained are two biological factors that contribute to high- and low-reactive temperaments. T emperament is not destiny, but it does place limits on what we can do. One of Kagans mentees, Carl Schwartz, has demonstrated this by picking up where his mentor left off. Schwartz recruited the participants of Kagans earlier longitudinal studies, who were now adults. Schwartzs question was a simple one: would the patterns of high-reactivity and low-reactivity that Kagan had identified in infancy still be detectable decades later? To test this, Schwartz examined his subjects responses to viewing novel faces while their brains were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging fMRI , a technique that allows researchers to examine changes in the brains use of oxygen.
Children frolic in man-made streams and waterfalls. Sta wave amiably as they cruise by in golf carts. Wear whatever you want: This campus is presided over not by nattily attired professors wielding words like protagonist and case method, but by a benign Santa Claus— like figure in a Hawaiian shirt and sandy-haired goatee.
With an average weekly attendance of 22, and counting, Saddleback Church is one of the largest and most in uential evangelical churches in the nation. Evangelical leaders have the ear of presidents; dominate thousands of hours of TV time; and run multimillion-dollar businesses, with the most prominent boasting their own production companies, recording studios, and distribution deals with media giants like Time Warner.
Saddleback also has one more thing in common with Harvard Business School: I consult a signpost, the kind you see at Walt Disney World, with cheerful arrows pointing every which way: A nearby poster features a beaming young man in bright red polo shirt and sneakers: Give tra c ministry a try! Like HBS, evangelical churches often make extroversion a prerequisite for leadership, sometimes explicitly.
A senior priest at another church confesses online that he has advised parishes recruiting a new rector to ask what his or her Myers-Briggs score is. He discovered his introversion as a junior at Claremont McKenna College, when he realized he was getting up early in the morning just to savor time alone with a steaming cup of co ee. He enjoyed parties, but found himself leaving early. He took a Myers-Briggs personality test and found out that there was a word, introvert, that described the type of person who likes to spend time as he did.
At rst McHugh felt good about carving out more time for himself. But then he got active in evangelicalism and began to feel guilty about all that solitude.
He even believed that God disapproved of his choices and, by extension, of him. Since when is solitude one of the Seven Deadly Sins? Contemporary evangelicalism says that every person you fail to meet and proselytize is another soul you might have saved.
It also emphasizes building community among con rmed believers, with many churches encouraging or even requiring their members to join extracurricular groups organized around every conceivable subject— cooking, real-estate investing, skateboarding.
So every social event McHugh left early, every morning he spent alone, every group he failed to join, meant wasted chances to connect with others. He looked around and saw a vast number of people in the evangelical community who felt just as con icted as he did.
He became ordained as a Presbyterian minister and worked with a team of student leaders at Claremont College, many of whom were introverts. The team became a kind of laboratory for experimenting with introverted forms of leadership and ministry. They focused on one-on-one and small group interactions rather than on large groups, and McHugh helped the students nd rhythms in their lives that allowed them to claim the solitude they needed and enjoyed, and to have social energy left over for leading others.
He urged them to find the courage to speak up and take risks in meeting new people. A few years later, when social media exploded and evangelical bloggers started posting about their experiences, written evidence of the schism between introverts and extroverts within the evangelical church nally emerged. There are probably quite a few [of you] out there who are put on guilt trips each time [you] get a personal evangelism push at church.
In a universal church, there should be room for the un-gregarious. Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture. He argues that evangelism means listening as well as talking, that evangelical churches should incorporate silence and mystery into religious worship, and that they should make room for introverted leaders who might be able to demonstrate a quieter path to God.
Religious leaders from Jesus to Buddha, as well as the lesser-known saints, monks, shamans, and prophets, have always gone off alone to experience the revelations they later shared with the rest of us.
When nally I nd my way to the bookstore, McHugh is waiting with a serene expression on his face. With his short brown hair, reddish goatee, and sideburns, McHugh looks like a typical Gen Xer, but he speaks in the soothing, considered tones of a college professor. We head to the main Worship Center, where Pastor Warren is about to preach. With its sky-high ceiling crisscrossed with klieg lights, the auditorium looks like a rock concert venue, save for the unobtrusive wooden cross hanging on the side of the room.
A man named Skip is warming up the congregation with a song. The lyrics are broadcast on ve Jumbotron screens, interspersed with photos of shimmering lakes and Caribbean sunsets. Miked-up tech guys sit on a thronelike dais at the center of the room, training their video cameras on the audience.
Did Tony base his program on megachurches like Saddleback, I wonder, or is it the other way around? Pastor Warren takes the stage. As the service wears on, I feel the same sense of alienation that McHugh has described. McHugh, as if reading my mind, turns to me when the service is over.
There was no emphasis on quiet, liturgy, ritual, things that give you space for contemplation. Greeters, the informal atmosphere, meeting people around you—these are all motivated by good desires. At a place like Saddleback, you can start questioning your own experience of God.
Is it really as strong as that of other people who look the part of the devout believer? Is it any wonder that introverts like Pastor McHugh start to question their own hearts? He does so because he wants to spare others the inner con ict he has struggled with, and because he loves evangelicalism and wants it to grow by learning from the introverts in its midst. But he knows that meaningful change will come slowly to a religious culture that sees extroversion not only as a personality trait but also as an indicator of virtue.
A cold and drizzly evening in Menlo Park, California. Thirty unprepossessing-looking engineers gather in the garage of an unemployed colleague named Gordon French. They call themselves the Homebrew Computer Club, and this is their rst meeting. Their mission: The garage is drafty, but the engineers leave the doors open to the damp night air so people can wander inside.
In walks an uncertain young man of twenty-four, a calculator designer for Hewlett-Packard. Serious and bespectacled, he has shoulder-length hair and a brown beard.
He takes a chair and listens quietly as the others marvel over a new build-it-yourself computer called the Altair , which recently made the cover of Popular Electronics. The young man, whose name is Stephen Wozniak, is thrilled to hear of the Altair. When he was eleven he came across a magazine article about the rst computer, the ENIAC, or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, and ever since, his dream has been to build a machine so small and easy to use that you could keep it at home.
And now, inside this garage, here is news that The Dream—he thinks of it with capital letters—might one day materialize. To the Homebrew crowd, computers are a tool for social justice, and he feels the same way. But that night he goes home and sketches his rst design for a personal computer, with a keyboard and a screen just like the kind we use today.
Three months later he builds a prototype of that machine. And ten months after that, he and Steve Jobs cofound Apple Computer. He has learned over time to open up and speak publicly, even appearing as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, where he displayed an endearing mixture of sti ness and good cheer.
I once saw Wozniak speak at a bookstore in New York City. A standing-room-only crowd showed up bearing their s Apple operating manuals, in honor of all that he had done for them. Wozniak identi es that rst meeting as the beginning of the computer revolution and one of the most important nights of his life. So if you wanted to replicate the conditions that made Woz so productive, you might point to Homebrew, with its collection of like-minded souls.
You might conclude that people who hope to be innovative should work in highly social workplaces. And you might be wrong. Consider what Wozniak did right after the meeting in Menlo Park. Did he huddle with fellow club members to work on computer design? Although he did keep attending the meetings, every other Wednesday. Did he seek out a big, open o ce space full of cheerful pandemonium in which ideas would cross-pollinate?
When you read his account of his work process on that rst PC, the most striking thing is that he was always by himself. Wozniak did most of the work inside his cubicle at Hewlett-Packard. He hit a few keys on the keyboard—and letters appeared on the screen in front of him.
It was the sort of breakthrough moment that most of us can only dream of. And he was alone when it happened. Intentionally so. In his memoir, he offers this advice to kids who aspire to great creativity: In fact, the very best of them are artists. That advice is: Work alone. Not on a committee. Not on a team. From to , an era best remembered for its ethos of stultifying conformity, the Institute of Personality Assessment and Research at the University of California, Berkeley, conducted a series of studies on the nature of creativity.
The researchers sought to identify the most spectacularly creative people and then gure out what made them di erent from everybody else. They assembled a list of architects, mathematicians, scientists, engineers, and writers who had made major contributions to their elds, and invited them to Berkeley for a weekend of personality tests, problem-solving experiments, and probing questions.
Then the researchers did something similar with members of the same professions whose contributions were decidedly less groundbreaking. One of the most interesting ndings, echoed by later studies, was that the more creative people tended to be socially poised introverts. As teens, many had been shy and solitary. Why should this be true? Do quiet personalities come with some ineffable quality that fuels creativity?
Yet increasingly we do just the opposite. We like to believe that we live in a grand age of creative individualism. We look back at the midcentury era in which the Berkeley researchers conducted their creativity studies, and feel superior.
Unlike the starched-shirted conformists of the s, we hang posters of Einstein on our walls, his tongue stuck out iconoclastically.
We consume indie music and lms, and generate our own online content. But the way we organize many of our most important institutions—our schools and our workplaces—tells a very di erent story. The New Groupthink elevates teamwork above all else.
It insists that creativity and intellectual achievement come from a gregarious place. It has many powerful advocates. The New Groupthink is embraced by many corporations, which increasingly organize workforces into teams, a practice that gained popularity in the early s.
By an estimated half of all U. A recent survey found that 91 percent of high-level managers believe that teams are the key to success.
The consultant Stephen Harvill told me that of the thirty major organizations he worked with in , including J. The amount of space per employee shrank from square feet in the s to square feet in , according to Peter Miscovich, a managing director at the real estate brokerage rm Jones Lang LaSalle. Today, working in teams and groups is highly valued. We are designing products to facilitate that. Even subjects like math and creative writing, which would seem to depend on solo ights of thought, are often taught as group projects.
According to a nationwide survey of more than 1, fourth- and eighth-grade teachers, 55 percent of fourth-grade teachers prefer cooperative learning, compared to only 26 percent who favor teacher-directed formats. Only 35 percent of fourth-grade and 29 percent of eighth-grade teachers spend more than half their classroom time on traditional instruction, while 42 percent of fourth-grade and 41 percent of eighth-grade teachers spend at least a quarter of class time on group work.
Among younger teachers, small-group learning is even more popular, suggesting that the trend will continue for some time to come. The cooperative approach has politically progressive roots—the theory is that students take ownership of their education when they learn from one another—but according to elementary school teachers I interviewed at public and private schools in New York, Michigan, and Georgia, it also trains kids to express themselves in the team culture of corporate America.
You have to be someone who speaks well and calls attention to yourself. Williams also identi es leadership training as a primary bene t of cooperative learning. This teacher was kind and well-intentioned, but I wonder whether students like the young safety o cer would be better o if we appreciated that not everyone aspires to be a leader in the conventional sense of the word—that some people wish to t harmoniously into the group, and others to be independent of it.
Often the most highly creative people are in the latter category. While extroverts tend to attain leadership in public domains, introverts tend to attain leadership in theoretical and aesthetic fields. Outstanding introverted leaders, such as Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Patrick White and Arthur Boyd, who have created either new elds of thought or rearranged existing knowledge, have spent long periods of their lives in solitude.
Hence leadership does not only apply in social situations, but also occurs in more solitary situations such as developing new techniques in the arts, creating new philosophies, writing profound books and making scientific breakthroughs. The New Groupthink did not arise at one precise moment. Cooperative learning, corporate teamwork, and open o ce plans emerged at di erent times and for di erent reasons.
But the mighty force that pulled these trends together was the rise of the World Wide Web, which lent both cool and gravitas to the idea of collaboration.
On the Internet, wondrous creations were produced via shared brainpower: Linux, the open-source operating system; Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia; MoveOn. These collective productions, exponentially greater than the sum of their parts, were so awe-inspiring that we came to revere the hive mind, the wisdom of crowds, the miracle of crowdsourcing.
Collaboration became a sacred concept—the key multiplier for success. But then we took things a step further than the facts called for. We came to value transparency and to knock down walls—not only online but also in person. We failed to realize that what makes sense for the asynchronous, relatively anonymous interactions of the Internet might not work as well inside the face-to-face, politically charged, acoustically noisy con nes of an open-plan o ce.
Instead of distinguishing between online and in-person interaction, we used the lessons of one to inform our thinking about the other. Youth, told NPR. Another management consultant told me something similar: The fresher your methodologies of thinking, the less you want boundaries. The companies who use open office plans are new companies, just like the World Wide Web, which is still a teenager.
A signi cant majority of the earliest computer enthusiasts were introverts, according to a study of 1, computer professionals working in the U. Smith, a consultant and software developer in Silicon Valley, referring to the practice of producing software by opening the source code to the online public and allowing anyone to copy, improve upon, and distribute it.
Many of these people were motivated by a desire to contribute to the broader good, and to see their achievements recognized by a community they valued. Their collaborations took place largely in the ether. This is not an insignificant detail. When the research psychologist Anders Ericsson was fteen, he took up chess.
He was pretty good at it, he thought, trouncing all his classmates during lunchtime matches. Ericsson wondered what had happened. I knew he was studying, going to a chess club, but what had happened, really, underneath? How do extraordinary achievers get to be so great at what they do? Ericsson has searched for answers in fields as diverse as chess, tennis, and classical piano.
In a now-famous experiment, he and his colleagues compared three groups of expert violinists at the elite Music Academy in West Berlin. The researchers asked the professors to divide the students into three groups: Then they interviewed the musicians and asked them to keep detailed diaries of their time. They found a striking di erence among the groups. All three groups spent the same amount of time—over fty hours a week— participating in music-related activities.
All three had similar classroom requirements making demands on their time. But the two best groups spent most of their music-related time practicing in solitude: Ericsson and his cohorts found similar e ects of solitude when they studied other kinds of expert performers.
College students who tend to study alone learn more over time than those who work in groups. Even elite athletes in team sports often spend unusual amounts of time in solitary practice. When you practice deliberately, you identify the tasks or knowledge that are just out of your reach, strive to upgrade your performance, monitor your progress, and revise accordingly. They reinforce existing cognitive mechanisms instead of improving them. Deliberate Practice is best conducted alone for several reasons.
It takes intense concentration, and other people can be distracting. It requires deep motivation, often self-generated. The Homebrew meeting was the catalyst that inspired him to build that rst PC, but the knowledge base and work habits that made it possible came from another place entirely: Woz had deliberately practiced engineering ever since he was a little kid.
Ericsson says that it takes approximately ten thousand hours of Deliberate Practice to gain true expertise, so it helps to start young.
In iWoz, Wozniak describes his childhood passion for electronics, and unintentionally recounts all the elements of Deliberate Practice that Ericsson emphasizes. First, he was motivated: Because he entered countless science fairs, he says, I acquired a central ability that was to help me through my entire career: Patience is usually so underrated.
I mean, for all those projects, from third grade all the way to eighth grade, I just learned things gradually, guring out how to put electronic devices together without so much as cracking a book.
Third, Woz often worked alone. This was not necessarily by choice. Like many technically inclined kids, he took a painful tumble down the social ladder when he got to junior high school. He hated small talk, and his interests were out of step with those of his peers. As a young boy, Charles Darwin made friends easily but preferred to spend his time taking long, solitary nature walks. As an adult he was no different. And in contemporary workplaces, these are surprisingly hard to come by.
One of the side bene ts of being a consultant is getting intimate access to many di erent work environments. Tom DeMarco, a principal of the Atlantic Systems Guild team of consultants, had walked around a good number of o ces in his time, and he noticed that some workspaces were a lot more densely packed than others.
He wondered what effect all that social interaction had on performance. The purpose of the games was to identify the characteristics of the best and worst computer programmers; more than six hundred developers from ninety-two di erent companies participated.
Each designed, coded, and tested a program, working in his normal o ce space during business hours. Each participant was also assigned a partner from the same company. The partners worked separately, however, without any communication, a feature of the games that turned out to be critical. When the results came in, they revealed an enormous performance gap. The best outperformed the worst by a The top programmers were also about 2.
The half who performed above the median earned less than 10 percent more than the half below—even though they were almost twice as good.
It was a mystery with one intriguing clue: Sixty-two percent of the best performers said that their workspace was acceptably private, compared to only 19 percent of the worst performers; 76 percent of the worst performers but only 38 percent of the top performers said that people often interrupted them needlessly.
A mountain of recent data on open-plan o ces from many di erent industries corroborates the results of the games. Open- plan o ces have been found to reduce productivity and impair memory. They make people sick, hostile, unmotivated, and insecure.
Open-plan workers are more likely to su er from high blood pressure and elevated stress levels and to get the u; they argue more with their colleagues; they worry about coworkers eavesdropping on their phone calls and spying on their computer screens. They have fewer personal and con dential conversations with colleagues. Indeed, excessive stimulation seems to impede learning: Another study, of 38, knowledge workers across di erent sectors, found that the simple act of being interrupted is one of the biggest barriers to productivity.
Even multitasking, that prized feat of modern-day o ce warriors, turns out to be a myth. Scientists now know that the brain is incapable of paying attention to two things at the same time. What looks like multitasking is really switching back and forth between multiple tasks, which reduces productivity and increases mistakes by up to 50 percent.
Many introverts seem to know these things instinctively, and resist being herded together. Backbone Entertainment, a video game design company in Oakland, California, initially used an open o ce plan but found that their game developers, many of whom were introverts, were unhappy.
But it turns out they prefer having nooks and crannies they can hide away in and just be away from everybody. The managers assumed that their shoe designers would want office space with plenty of access to each other so they could brainstorm an idea they probably picked up when they were getting their MBAs.
Luckily, they consulted rst with the shoe designers themselves, who told them that actually what they needed was peace and quiet so they could concentrate. This would not have come as news to Jason Fried, cofounder of the web application company 37signals.
For ten years, beginning in , Fried asked hundreds of people mostly designers, programmers, and writers where they liked to work when they needed to get something done. He found that they went anywhere but their o ces, which were too noisy and full of interruptions.
But he prefers passive forms of collaboration like e-mail, instant messaging, and online chat tools. His advice for other employers? Erase it from memory. The people Fried interviewed were saying out loud what creative people have always known.
You once said that you would like to sit beside me while I write. Listen, in that case I could not write at all. For writing means revealing oneself to excess; that utmost of self-revelation and surrender, in which a human being, when involved with others, would feel he was losing himself, and from which, therefore, he will always shrink as long as he is in his right mind. Even the considerably more cheerful Theodor Geisel otherwise known as Dr. Seuss spent his workdays ensconced in his private studio, the walls lined with sketches and drawings, in a bell-tower outside his La Jolla, California, house.
Geisel was a much more quiet man than his jocular rhymes suggest. He rarely ventured out in public to meet his young readership, fretting that kids would expect a merry, outspoken, Cat in the Hat—like figure, and would be disappointed with his reserved personality. Osborn was a founding partner of the advertising agency Batten, Barton, Durstine, and Osborn BBDO , but it was as an author that he really made his mark, beginning with the day in that a magazine editor invited him to lunch and asked what his hobby was.
There is no subject of greater importance. You must give it the time and energy and thoroughness it deserves. Osborn did. He wrote several books during the s and s, in fact, each tackling a problem that had vexed him in his capacity as head of BBDO: For Osborn, the solution was not to have his employees work alone, but rather to remove the threat of criticism from group work.
He invented the concept of brainstorming, a process in which group members generate ideas in a nonjudgmental atmosphere. Brainstorming had four rules: Be freewheeling. The wilder the idea, the better. Go for quantity. The more ideas you have, the better. Build on the ideas of fellow group members.
Osborn believed passionately that groups—once freed from the shackles of social judgment—produced more and better ideas than did individuals working in solitude, and he made grand claims for his favored method.
In another case, 15 groups brainstormed one and the same problem and produced over ideas. One of the rst studies to demonstrate this was conducted in Dunnette was con dent that the executives would bene t from the group process. He was less sure that the research scientists, whom he considered more introverted, would profit from group work. Dunnette divided each set of forty-eight men into twelve groups of four. Each foursome was given a problem to brainstorm, such as the bene ts or di culties that would arise from being born with an extra thumb.
Each man was also given a similar problem to brainstorm on his own. Then Dunnette and his team counted all the ideas, comparing those produced by the groups with those generated by people working individually.
The results were unambiguous. The men in twenty-three of the twenty-four groups produced more ideas when they worked on their own than when they worked as a group.
They also produced ideas of equal or higher quality when working individually. And the advertising executives were no better at group work than the presumably introverted research scientists. Since then, some forty years of research has reached the same startling conclusion. Studies have shown that performance gets worse as group size increases: Groups brainstorming electronically, when properly managed, not only do better than individuals, research shows; the larger the group, the better it performs.
The same is true of academic research—professors who work together electronically, from di erent physical locations, tend to produce research that is more in uential than those either working alone or collaborating face-to-face. What created Linux, or Wikipedia, if not a gigantic electronic brainstorming session? We fail to realize that participating in an online working group is a form of solitude all its own.
Instead we assume that the success of online collaborations will be replicated in the face-to-face world. Participants in brainstorming sessions usually believe that their group performed much better than it actually did, which points to a valuable reason for their continued popularity—group brainstorming makes people feel attached.
A worthy goal, so long as we understand that social glue, as opposed to creativity, is the principal benefit. Psychologists usually o er three explanations for the failure of group brainstorming. The rst is social loa ng: The second is production blocking: During the —89 basketball season, for example, two NCAA basketball teams played eleven games without any spectators, owing to a measles outbreak that led their schools to quarantine all students.
Both teams played much better higher free-throw percentages, for example without any fans, even adoring home-team fans, to unnerve them. The behavioral economist Dan Ariely noticed a similar phenomenon when he conducted a study asking thirty-nine participants to solve anagram puzzles, either alone at their desks or with others watching. But they performed worse. But recent research in neuroscience suggests that the fear of judgment runs much deeper and has more far-reaching implications than we ever imagined.
Between and , just as Osborn was promoting the power of group brainstorming, a psychologist named Solomon Asch conducted a series of now-famous experiments on the dangers of group in uence.
Asch gathered student volunteers into groups and had them take a vision test. He showed them a picture of three lines of varying lengths and asked questions about how the lines compared with one another: His questions were so simple that 95 percent of students answered every question correctly. But when Asch planted actors in the groups, and the actors con dently volunteered the same incorrect answer, the number of students who gave all correct answers plunged to 25 percent.
The Asch experiments demonstrated the power of conformity at exactly the time that Osborn was trying to release us from its chains. What was going on in the minds of the kowtowers? For decades, psychologists puzzled over this question. Today, with the help of brain-scanning technology, we may be getting closer to the answer. Berns and his team recruited thirty-two volunteers, men and women between the ages of nineteen and forty-one.
The volunteers played a game in which each group member was shown two di erent three-dimensional objects on a computer screen and asked to decide whether the rst object could be rotated to match the second. The results were both disturbing and illuminating. When the volunteers played the game on their own, they gave the wrong answer only But when they played with a group whose members gave unanimously wrong answers, they agreed with the group 41 percent of the time.
Remember, what Asch wanted to know was whether people conformed despite knowing that the group was wrong, or whether their perceptions had been altered by the group.
If the former was true, Berns and his team reasoned, then they should see more brain activity in the decision-making prefrontal cortex. That is, the brain scans would pick up the volunteers deciding consciously to abandon their own beliefs to t in with the group. That was exactly what happened—the conformists showed less brain activity in the frontal, decision-making regions and more in the areas of the brain associated with perception. Peer pressure, in other words, is not only unpleasant, but can actually change your view of a problem.
These early ndings suggest that groups are like mind-altering substances. What does this have to do with social fear?
And Berns and his team found something very interesting about these moments. They were linked to heightened activation in the amygdala, a small organ in the brain associated with upsetting emotions such as the fear of rejection.
Many of our most important civic institutions, from elections to jury trials to the very idea of majority rule, depend on dissenting voices. But when the group is literally capable of changing our perceptions, and when to stand alone is to activate primitive, powerful, and unconscious feelings of rejection, then the health of these institutions seems far more vulnerable than we think.
Steve Wozniak collaborated with Steve Jobs, after all; without their pairing, there would be no Apple today. Every pair bond between mother and father, between parent and child, is an act of creative collaboration. Research also suggests that population density is correlated with innovation; despite the advantages of quiet walks in the woods, people in crowded cities bene t from the web of interactions that urban life offers.
I have experienced this phenomenon personally. When I was getting ready to write this book, I carefully set up my home o ce, complete with uncluttered desk, le cabinets, free counter space, and plenty of natural light—and then felt too cut o from the world to type a single keystroke there.
I did this for exactly the reasons that champions of the New Groupthink might suggest: I could toggle back and forth between observer and social actor as much as I wanted.
I could also control my environment. Each day I chose the location of my table—in the center of the room or along the perimeter—depending on whether I wanted to be seen as well as to see.
Usually I was ready to exercise this right after only a few hours—not the eight, ten, or fourteen hours that many office dwellers put in.
The most e ective teams are composed of a healthy mix of introverts and extroverts, studies show, and so are many leadership structures. We also need to create settings in which people are free to circulate in a shifting kaleidoscope of interactions, and to disappear into their private workspaces when they want to focus or simply be alone.
Our schools should teach children the skills to work with others— cooperative learning can be e ective when practiced well and in moderation—but also the time and training they need to deliberately practice on their own. At Pixar Animation Studios, the sixteen-acre campus is built around a football- eld-sized atrium housing mailboxes, a cafeteria, and even bathrooms. The idea is to encourage as many casual, chance encounters as possible.
At the same time, employees are encouraged to make their individual o ces, cubicles, desks, and work areas their own and to decorate them as they wish. Similarly, at Microsoft, many employees enjoy their own private o ces, yet they come with sliding doors, movable walls, and other features that allow occupants to decide when they want to collaborate and when they need private time to think. These kinds of diverse workspaces bene t introverts as well as extroverts, the systems design researcher Matt Davis told me, because they o er more spaces to retreat to than traditional open-plan offices.
I suspect that Wozniak himself would approve of these developments. Every day at What set these interactions apart was how low-key and relaxed they were.
That was what collaboration meant for Woz: Nature, Nurture, and the Orchid Hypothesis Some people are more certain of everything than I am of anything.
What if I bore the audience? What if I throw up onstage? My boyfriend now my husband , Ken, watches me toss and turn. I stare at the ceiling, tears welling.
What happy things? Who could be happy in a world of podiums and microphones? This helps, for approximately ve seconds. I turn over and watch the alarm clock. But rst I have to get through today. I dress grimly and put on a coat. Ken hands me a sports water bottle lled with Baileys Irish Cream.
I take the elevator downstairs and settle into the car that waits to ferry me to my destination, a big corporate headquarters in suburban New Jersey. The drive gives me plenty of time to wonder how I allowed myself to get into this situation. I recently left my job as a Wall Street lawyer to start my own consulting rm. But when an acquaintance who is general counsel at a big media company asked me to run a seminar for his entire executive team, I agreed— enthusiastically, even!
Then I feel guilty for involving the rest of the city in my drama. The event organizer escorts me to the auditorium. I ask for directions to the bathroom, and, in the privacy of the stall, gulp from the water bottle. For a few moments I stand still, waiting for the alcohol to work its magic. And even if you are very introvert or very extrovert, that is not a predictor of your behavior in each situation.
It would be like saying that all men like contact sports. A lot of men do, but not everyone. Shyness VS Introversion People often confuse shyness with introversion. And that makes sense actually, because the two can look similar and overlap. Susan Cain says that shyness is the fear of social disapproval and humiliation, while introversion is the preference for environment that are not overstimulating.
Shyness is painful for the shy individual, while introversion is not. You can confuse them easily because the external behavior may look the same. The introvert does not speak because he is observing, processing data and information in his head.
But to the external observer the two look very similar. Amygdala helps us detect changes in the environment, especially threats and dangers. Introverts are naturally more highly alert to changes high reactivity , which makes them more prone to the release of cortisol and stress. Tat makes introverts more reactive and sensitive in general. Seeking or Avoiding Stimuli Introverts prefer less stimulation. Once I taught two back. The Wednesday night class discussions were always lively and animated.
But consider this question: Why do so many high-functioning people look back at high school as the worst time of their lives — and why do we accept this as normal? As adults. I also know how hard it is for teachers when students are reluctant to participate in class. But in the Thursday night class. But for schoolchildren. Larry Page. Which is extraordinary.
George Orwell. Steven Spielberg. Some of those students wrote me letters when the class was done. I was surprised each and every time. Charles Darwin.
Albert Einstein. This made my job so much harder and — on a day. In response to the article. I could see it leading to perfectionism and harsh self judgement with regard to parenting skills. A few of us. I fervently recommended this groundbreaking Atlantic magazine article. In other words. For parenting. For those who missed it. Dobbs author of the original article posted his own answer to the question. Here it is: And anxious hypervigilance sends a message that the world is perhaps too dangerous to handle.
It has another meaning too. I would add. You put your arm around the kid and say. Your house burns down. All is lost. Small expressions of support and confidence and reassurance send the message that though the world can bring trouble. And instead of freaking out. Best example offered to me was. Using divorce as an example. Orchid kids will be disrupted more than others by divorce. I love this advice.
Belsky told me. Instead of seeing these kids as vulnerable to adversity. I asked this question of Jay Belsky. But I want to answer one more question you might be wondering about: What if your child is subject to harsh. These days. Once during law school. I have a career as a professional public speaker! It took me a while to get there. The mere prospect of giving a lecture used to make me want to throw up.
I got so nervous that I had to bolt for the restroom on the way to class. I struggled a lot with following question: If public speaking requires brio and dynamism. When I first started.
Then you can step off stage and go right back to being yourself. You can craft your stories beforehand. He dazzles sold-out crowds of London theatregoers. So I tried to look for examples of low-key yet masterful speakers — and found the author Malcolm Gladwell. Then I came across this fascinating interview with Gladwell.
It has nothing to do with extroversion. But in the meantime. On the extroverted side of the equation. In many ways he is very. For example. When I was in high school. I hardly ever address him by his real name. In college. I was always an introvert. Instead I call him Gonzo. I talked on the phone five hours a night. I seem to be getting more introverted as I get older.
My Gonzo is the same way — he throws himself with great passion and charisma into just about everything he does. And I gather that when he was a very young man. But all of this is anecdotal. According to research psychology.
Studies show that the personality of a yearold can be predicted with remarkable accuracy from early adulthood on. Today Gonzo is still the same person — no one would ever call him an introvert — but his attentions are directed in a decidedly more interior direction.
Despite the variety of situations that we experience in a lifetime — all of them influencing who we are and how we grow — our core traits tend to remain constant. But when it comes to keeping marriages stable and raising children. This makes evolutionary sense. Also in chimps and monkeys. All of these traits grow more pronounced with age. They will also more emotionally stable. If you were the tenth most introverted person in your high school class. High levels of extroversion probably help with mating.
For more from Susan Cain and the Quiet Revolution.
The power of introverts 9 best-loved stories by Susan Cain. Flag for inappropriate content. Related titles. Jump to Page. Search inside document. Are You an Introvert or an Extrovert? Crown Publishing Group.