Quiet (Susan Cain) - Book Summary

Quiet – The Power of Introverts delves into the strengths and needs of both introverts and extroverts. The following summary will clarify the states in which they feel comfortable and can maximize their potential.

This book is suitable for

  • Those who want to understand more about introverts;
  • Team leaders who want to connect introverts and extroverts;
  • Anyone who wants to know the source of the power of introverted souls.

Susan Cain, the famous introverted writer, is also a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. Her works delve deeply into exploiting the hidden strengths of introverted souls in modern society.

Chapter 1. Extroverts often need a clear motivation, a competitive environment to strive for, while introverts always want to withdraw in their own space to reflect.

We often only judge people's nature by whether they are introverted or extroverted. In theory, this is pretty simple. Extroverts are very sociable and liberal, they always want to go out to make friends and be the center of attention. For them, social status is directly expressed through relationships, so make friends with as many people as possible, the number of people interested in social networks must be as much as possible.

In terms of success, extroverts are usually very optimistic and liberal. They gather knowledge from those around them and always try to burn the stage to succeed. For example, after losing a sum of money on the stock exchange, they do not hesitate to reinvest a larger amount to compensate.

Introverts, on the other hand, often try to stay calm and think carefully after each mistake. For example, if they lose money on the stock exchange, they will sit and analyze. Careful thinking and sensibility helps introverts do well in calculated jobs, like securing profits in the stock market in times of crisis. Throughout history, many important landmarks have been built by this type of person, notably Schindler's List or Theory of Relativity.

They can do that because they always work independently or with a small group, from which they can talk more about personal or social issues. Contrary to the sociable personality, who likes to make a lot of new friends, even if they are just social friends of extroverts, introverts focus on only a few relationships but are very close and profound.

Chapter 2. Most introverts are very sensitive to their surroundings.

Sensitivity is the next characteristic feature of the introverted personality. They often receive information from people around in an unusually thorough manner. For example, if they're playing a jigsaw puzzle, they'll spend their time looking closely at other things related to the picture.

Therefore, introverts always prefer to spend time in conversations about true values ​​instead of some small talk about their classmates' vacations. When extroverts chat in a few polite sentences, introverts talk about earth's climate change.

Taking information too carefully is also a characteristic manifestation of the fragile, gentle personality of introverts. Negative events or words have a great influence on them, so they are very sensitive and easily affected by daily judgments from people around them. As a result, they are always afraid of the court of their own conscience, they are acutely aware of the consequences their actions will have on others.

Introverts are very concerned about whether people around them see them in a positive way, this is also the reason why they are afraid to make friends and do not want to be asked too many questions. It can be concluded that this type of person is very emotional, sensitive to changes and sensitive to images, sounds, sadness and stimulants such as coffee or alcohol.

From here, we can also distinguish between introverts and shy people. If shy people are afraid of negative comments from people around, introverts just need a quiet space to think. For example, Bill Gates is an introvert, but he never seems to care about other people's prejudices about him. Meanwhile, Barbra Streisand is the lively and outgoing type, but she has a severe stage fright, which is called the "shy extrovert" type.

Chapter 3. Introverts' brains are more sensitive to outside influences.

Everyone's preferences are different. There are people who feel most comfortable and focused when sitting in a quiet library. For them, going to noisy and bustling spaces and bars is extremely strange and confusing. On the contrary, there are people who find such crowded places to feel like home, so they will go crazy if they are forced to sit in the library all afternoon.

Why is that?

To answer this question, scientists performed an experiment on infants. They put an alcohol-soaked cloth under the children's noses, and while playing recordings of balloons exploding, they reacted very differently. In which, 20% of them began to cry loudly and move their limbs very strongly. In contrast, up to 40% of babies lying still did not respond.

These responses are controlled by the brain's emotional control system, called the amygdala. This is where the senses first pass data, then it decides how to process this data. Those with sensitive amygdala, they are always responsive to all changes around them, so places with a quiet space are the ideal destinations for them. Conversely, people who are not too sensitive, such as the indifferent and calm children above, will prefer to go to noisy places.

Chapter 4. Introverted children are like orchids, they can only thrive in the right environment.

It is not only biological characteristics or genetics that determine human nature. Experiences, especially childhood experiences, also have a very strong impact on that.

If extroverted children are like dandelions, which can easily grow or move anywhere, then orchids are the right comparison for introverted children. They can only bloom under the right conditions, otherwise, their whole life will be just plain and faded grass.

So how can parents build the right environment if their child is an introvert? Appreciate, sympathize and give them a perfect start. It is important for parents to recognize their children's introverted personality first, and then find out why they feel uncomfortable under certain circumstances, especially in crowded places. people.

After knowing the situations that children are afraid of, the best way is for parents to regularly expose children to such situations. For example, if your child is afraid of public speaking, you can practice getting your child to speak in front of a few trusted people at first, then gradually increase the number of listeners. Gradually, we realize that we are completely capable of public speaking.

If raised in the right environment, introverted children will be confident in themselves and comfortable expressing their abilities. On the contrary, if they are put under pressure, they are easily bored, scared and may even develop some breathing disorders.

Chapter 5. Westerners often favor extroverts.

Do you appreciate someone who is lively, attention-grabbing, fun-loving, or someone who sits quietly in a corner and listens? In the West, the answer is clear and obvious, extroverts are intelligent and talented, not only because of their sociability but also in their interestingness and connection.

Extroverts are often more attractive and energetic, while introverts are gloomy, boring, and a bit odd, some even look as if they come from the planet. other crystals. Therefore, Westerners often appreciate extroverts. The author felt this very well when he attended a seminar by inspirational speaker Tony Robbins. They rank extroverts at the top, which indicates that this trait is key to one's victory in this competitive world.

That's also why professors at the Harvard Business School consider it an important task to turn all their students into extroverts. Programs always include going to seminars and working in groups, even hanging out with friends of the opposite sex is also a mandatory task.

Contrary to this context, most students in Korea or Japan would rather bury their heads in books than go to bars with friends. At seminars, they listen attentively and focus on taking notes, freedom of speech is considered disrespectful, impolite, arrogant and ignorant.

Chapter 6. Extroversion was a “trend” 150 years ago.

Dale Carnegie lived in a small town in Missouri in the early twentieth century. At that time he had the typical look of an introvert: thin, weak and always shy, far from the image of a famous speaker. Everything changes when a speaker from the adult education center moves to town and realizes Dale's talent.

Actually, Dale is a very ambitious person, he always tries his best to develop his skills. As time went on, he became a master speaker and became popular throughout the school. Later, as a soap and bacon marketer, he won over all customers with his friendly smile and trusting handshake. Finally, Dale founded the Dale Carnegie Center with the aim of helping entrepreneurs overcome their anxieties and insecurities about themselves. Unexpectedly, his "life-changing" process very realistically reflects a transition from rural to urban ethos of twentieth-century America.

In the nineteenth century, Americans lived in small communities and people were bound together. As long as you work hard, behave properly and stand up for others, people will know you by themselves. However, as the economy boomed and disrupted the social structure then, more and more people moved from the countryside to crowded, bustling and competitive cities, where a fixed belief existed. In order to be successful, you must know how to “market” yourself. Since then, people often admire those who are always full of energy and charisma.

Chapter 7. Introverts can sometimes become extroverts.

Through many experiences, ambitious introverts will eventually be cornered into some situation where it is imperative to act like extroverts. For example, as a teaching professor, how can an introvert and shy person like her convey all her knowledge and enthusiasm to the students? This was when she was forced to put her introverted nature aside. The professor behaved like a true extrovert: She strode into the lecture hall with long, confident strides, her voice clear and precise, her posture completely natural and relaxed. As a result, the students were completely absorbed in the lecture, constantly asking her for advice, and the session was successful beyond imagination.

After accomplishing the goal of giving students interesting and effective lectures, the professor returned to being himself as usual, still loving the silence and completely relaxing with the reading time. alone in the corner of the library. Of course, being extroverted is hard work for some people. However, the case of the female professor above demonstrates that introverts can completely extrovert for a short time if it is imperative for them to achieve their goals.

Chapter 8. Companies should not build a work environment suitable only for extroverts.

Many leaders strive to create a dynamic and competitive work environment, suitable for extroverts in the belief that it will be the best place to grow. As a result, most employees work in an open environment, in the form of group discussions and presentation of work results through Powerpoint presentations.

So how will introverts manage in those group meetings? Surrounded by aggressive colleagues, a series of challenges piled on top will engulf them in pressure. Will they be able to reveal and develop their potential in such an environment?

Many great achievements of the world in the last few decades have proven the effectiveness of teamwork, such as the operating system of Wikipedia or Linux. It's possible that a good team is behind the success of these achievements, but people have overlooked one key point: ideas for discussion will not arise in the open work environment or in the public domain. meetings, which came about when the owner sat alone in front of the computer screen in the office.

In fact, great ideas often come when people work independently. Steve Wozniak invents Apple's first personal computer in his personal office. JK Rowling wrote the Harry Potter classic series completely independently.

A workspace designed for extroverts will most likely cause the company to squander the desirable potential of introverts. Steve Wozniak emphasizes that he knows a lot of great inventors who are artists, and they only show their talent most when working independently. As a leader, if you are lucky enough to have such people, don't try to force them into noisy group discussions, create a space for them to develop their own big ideas.

To solve this problem, create a workspace that is flexible for both types of people: giving them the opportunity to exchange ideas, as well as suitable private workspaces. The movable partition is an ideal suggestion, when needed, the partition can be pulled down to exchange ideas with people around.

Chapter 9. A true leader is one who has the ability to combine the strengths of both types.

How can managers tap into the two distinct strengths of introverts and extroverts? To answer this question, the scientists asked several groups of students to do a simple task, folding t-shirts, under the direction of an introvert or extrovert.

For groups with extroverted instructors, although they follow the rules very accurately and quickly, they do not go overboard with individual recommendations for faster and more efficient folding solutions. In contrast, groups with introverted instructors may not be too active, the morale of the members is not enhanced, but they always respect each individual's opinion, trying to do everything possible to make the most of it. good ideas.

It can be concluded that, in the workplace, the extroverted leadership style is suitable for simple tasks that need to be solved quickly and accurately. As for those who want to contribute their own personal ideas, the introverted leadership style is the right style for them.

Another difference between the two leadership styles was evident during the 2008 financial crisis. Extroverted leaders make quick decisions based on scant information. Many of them venture capital with their own capital. When everything fell apart, they had to pay a very heavy price for that recklessness. In contrast, introverted leaders often gather and research a lot of information before making a decision, they are especially careful with their capital investment. So their company is less affected by the economic downturn.

It can be said that if you need to make a quick and decisive decision, go to an extrovert, but in cases that require carefulness, it is best to listen to an introvert. In addition, extroverts also need to appreciate the unique values ​​of their introverted colleagues, because both types of people have strengths that are worth learning.

Chapter 10. Both types of people can maximize their results through cooperation.

The interactions between two opposing types of people are often misunderstood. When conflict breaks out, extroverts tend to be angry, loud, and dominant. Introverts will often admit to losing in arguments, simply because they're not interested in it. Only when the two sides are willing to open their hearts and stand on the other's position to think, the problem will be resolved.

Franklin D.Roosevelt, the American president during World War II, is a typical extrovert. He was lively and energetic, enjoying socializing with many friends and partying all night. His Lady Eleanor, on the other hand, was an introverted woman who was always timid and somewhat eccentric, always enjoying conversations about big affairs and trying to get out of parties as soon as possible.

However, the power couple uses that huge difference to make up for each other's shortcomings. Eleanor made a liberal like Franklin begin to care about children who were being tortured by hunger and racism. When the lady discovered that Marian Anderson, a black singer, was not allowed to perform at Constitution Hall, she and her husband used political power to get her the right to perform in front of the Lincoln Memorial on the holiday. Easter.

It can be concluded that, both personality traits can complement each other perfectly. Sometimes, extroverts need deep conversations rather than a few jokes. On the contrary, their abundant and youthful energy will be a new source of energy instead of making the quiet, gloomy world of introverts more colorful. This is exactly what leaders need to do, the outstanding features of the two personality traits when combined will bring unexpected effects.


Through the book, the author wants to emphasize that both introverts and extroverts have their own characteristics, which can bring value to the people around them. And whoever they are, they need the right environment to realize and develop their potential.

Besides, the book also answers the question:

“What is the difference between introverts and extroverts?”

First, extroverts prefer a dynamic and motivating environment, while introverts prefer to sit quietly alone and reflect;

A lot of introverts are overly sensitive to fluctuations happening around them;

Introverted children are very much like orchids, only able to thrive in a truly suitable environment.

“Why do extroverts often have more advantages?”

Westerners attach great importance to extroverts;

The preference for extroverts has existed for 150 years;

“How can both types of people reach their full potential?”

Companies should not build a work environment only suitable for extroverts;

A good leader will know how to reconcile these two types of people when working in groups;

Both types of people can develop their talents if they can be combined.