Excerpt for Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking | Book Summary by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking | Book Summary

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



Chapter 1: THE RISE OF THE "MIGHTY LIKEABLE FELLOW": How Extroversion Became the Cultural Ideal

Chapter 2: THE MYTH OF CHARISMATIC LEADERSHIP: The Culture of Personality, A Hundred Years Later

Chapter 3: WHEN COLLABORATION KILLS CREATIVITY: The Rise of the New Groupthink and The Power of Working Alone


Chapter 4: IS TEMPERAMENT DESTINY? Nature, Nurture, And The Orchid Hypothesis

Chapter 5: BEYOND TEMPERAMENT: The Role of Free Will (And The Secret of Public Speaking for Introverts)


Chapter 7: WHY DID WALL STREET CRASH AND WARREN BUFFETT PROSPER? How Introverts and Extroverts Think (And Process Dopamine) Differently


Chapter 8: SOFT POWER: Asian-Americans and The Extrovert Ideal



Chapter 10: THE COMMUNICATION GAP: How to Talk to Members of the Opposite Type

Chapter 11: ON COBBLES AND GENERALS: How to Cultivate Quiet Kids in A World That Can't Hear Them

The Book at a Glance


Final Thoughts

Now What?


This book is powerful in its own way, as it gives a voice to the introverts of this world. That is very significant because as many as one-third to half the people in the world are introverts. Introvert refers to the people who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who invent and create but are not likely to present their ideas; who are more productive working on their own rather than in a team.

These people are usually labelled as quiet or reserved or even reclusive, but they also make many contributions to society — this is evident in everything from art done by van Gogh to the invention of the computer. If, like me and the author, you are an introvert, you will find yourself nodding and (silently) agreeing with all that she has written. You will understand her frustration of our extroverted world, and passion for finding balance between the two personality types.

This book is actually so convincing, sensible, and genuine it should inevitably effect change in schools and offices. It's also a clever idea to write a book that communicates to introverts – a huge percentage of the reading public – how awesome and undervalued we are. This book is relevant to all, whether you are an introvert or not.

Even extroverts have introverts in their life and can gain value from a book that makes sense of their behavior. Overall, it’s an examination into the value society places on introverts and the science that makes people more or less outgoing.


Chapter 1: THE RISE OF THE "MIGHTY LIKEABLE FELLOW": How Extroversion Became the Cultural Ideal

The chapter starts off by focusing on the story of a young boy living on a farm in rural America in the early 20th century. His family is poor and he fears following in their footsteps, and many other things. He is inspired by confident people and good public speakers, and dreams of being one himself. In college, he attempts public speaking competitions but loses at first. He is determined and keeps trying, and it pays off as soon he starts winning and is admired by others. By the time he completes college, his family is still poor but the industrial revolution has created a business orientated world. He starts off as a salesman, using his speaking ability to sell meat for numerous years. He then decides to settle down and start teaching public speaking classes at night schools. This becomes an instant success and he eventually opens his own learning institute and goes on to write books stating how important it is to overcome insecurities and speak well in the business environment.

This transition from farm boy to business owner occurred about the same time at the rise of the Extrovert Ideal. Culture changed in such a way that it affected every aspect of people’s lives and their way of dealing with others. There was a shift from the culture of character to the culture of personality. The culture of character valued those who were serious, self-disciplined, and honorable. This culture focused more on how one acted in private than in public. During the rise of industrial America, the culture of personality took hold and Americans became concerned with how others perceived them. Suddenly every person wanted to be a performer in the spotlight, noticed by everyone, which led to mass urbanization. At this time, people started interacting more with strangers than neighbors and citizens became employees. Self-help books were an important part of this transition and soon they turned from religious discussions to ways for improving yourself in order to be more noticeable. Books that may seem like a way for people to improve their lives actually caused a sense of unease in most people, as these ideals were too hard to live up to. Soon advertisements took advantage of these insecurities that had been created and added to the beliefs that one had to be a certain way in public to be successful. Of course psychology started to focus on this culture and Alfred Adler even coined a popular term known as the Inferiority Complex. This was a way for people to explain their anxieties as a psychological complex. Schools, colleges, and even parents tried their best to eradicate shyness or the introvert personality from children and saw it as a kind way of preparing them for the real world. Once in the working world people were expected to be a certain way in order to be seen as the ideal employee. This pressure obviously led to insecurities, anxieties, and breakdowns. This, in turn, spurred pharmaceutical companies into creating anti-anxiety medication and advertising it for the people who didn’t fit in.

The Extrovert Ideal is not new and limited to the modern age, but can even be a part of our genes, as some scientists say. People that live in countries that were populated by migrants tend to be more extroverted, as these traits are passed down from generation to generation. Even as far back as the Greek and Roman societies, extroversion and being socially accepted was important. Even in religious contexts this trait was desirable, especially in lively priests who could inspire others.

Now in the modern age, this culture of personality has increased to the point where status, income, and self-esteem are viewed as positive and redeeming qualities and where each person has to shape an online and offline personae of extroversion. As time goes by, more people consider themselves to be shy, because meeting the increased standards of fearless self-presentation is impossibly difficult. This said, even having social anxiety and being pathologically shy is seen as a disease, not a disadvantage. In the 21st century, self-help books are still the means for selling extroversion and implying that most people are unable to improve their lives by being themselves. Even the common Toastmaster’s group encourages fake disingenuous behavior in order to succeed in business and life. People don’t even realize that we transitioned from character to personality but lost something meaningful along the way.

Takeaways from this chapter:

  • The Extrovert Ideal is in our DNA.

  • Changing from a culture of character to a culture of personality drastically influenced our perceptions and actions.

  • All industries took advantage of this way of thinking by making money from people’s insecurities and anxieties.

  • This concept of personality was thoroughly studied by psychologists and is part of the popularity of the term Inferiority Complex.

  • Carl Jung distinguished between these two personality types and outlined their basic traits.

  • Self-help books enhanced this view that one needs to be a certain way to be successful in any area.

Chapter 2: THE MYTH OF CHARISMATIC LEADERSHIP: The Culture of Personality, A Hundred Years Later

This chapter starts with a discussion on how the writer experienced attending a Tony Robbins Unleash the Power Within conference. She views him as the self-help king with an impressive client list and a fat bank account. Being at this conference is to determine the characteristics of the Extrovert ideal. He states during the seminar that power is unleashed through high energy.

The whole seminar creates the idea that business and life success is dependent on facing social fears in an extroverted manner.

The day ends with a firewalk, after spending hours getting pumped up enough to not burn. Many of the people start to imitate Tony and act powerful or superior. During the show he does attempt upselling and uses a variety of techniques to get people to buy into the idea and the products. Most don’t notice it, though, as it seems he truly believes in it and helps others by giving them the energy to be who they want to be.

When the culture of personality began, society had to develop extroverted personality for mostly selfish reasons – as a way to stand out from the crowd. However, as it has progressed, we now view being extroverted as a way to improve ourselves but also help others by sharing our gifts with the world.

Next she visits Harvard Business School to determine whether an extroverted personality is needed to succeed in business. She notices how the students and their surrounding campus all fit together and seem perfectly normal with nothing out of place. She speaks to some students who mention that she won’t find any introverts there and that their grades and status depend on extroversion.

She does find a few introverts at HBS, but they seem to blend in well with the others and you can only tell them apart by their demeanor. Those who like to spend time alone do not have much chance at HBS and feel that they need to change who they are because they are expected to act confidently. The school also focuses on making sure quiet people talk more and their grades are dependent on participation. There is also extreme pressure to be social in order to succeed at this school, which is exhausting for those who are introverted.

Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-5 show above.)