Want to Participate in the Quiet Revolution? Here Are a Few Questions For You


revolution1 Want to Participate in the Quiet Revolution? Here Are a Few Questions For YouWhat would it look like if we could really make our culture more balanced between action and contemplation, between introverts and extroverts? What if we started in our own lives? What if we did it TODAY?

I propose that readers of this site work together to make concrete changes in our personal lives — changes that will enable us to live more productively and also more authentically.

For example: long-time readers of this blog know that this is my Year of Speaking Dangerously — in which I’ll train to become the best and bravest speaker I can be. I’m doing this because the better I speak, the more I can advance my ideas, especially once my book comes out in January. I’ve done plenty of speaking before, but this year I’m focused on communicating in a style that’s authentic to my personality. Therefore my role model is not, say, Tony Robbins (a hyper-kinetic, extroverted speaker) but Malcolm Gladwell (who is introverted, cerebral, and famously powerful at the podium.)

Are you also interested in becoming a a more genuine and effective speaker? Would you like to work on this together?

If the answer is yes, I’ll ask you to join your local Toastmasters club (I’ll supply more info in future posts) and share your progress and stumbling blocks here. We’ll also use this site to share ideas, tips, and strategies, and to invite expert guests to share their expertise. (You don’t have to be a practiced speaker to participate; this project should be especially helpful for people who are scared stiff of the podium.)

But this public speaking project is only the beginning. There are many other personal, yet world-changing, projects we could launch from this site — for example:

-Becoming the best parent you can be to your introverted or sensitive child.

-Leading your organization in a quietly effective way.

-Writing the story, novel, op-ed, etc. that you’ve always wanted to.


More details to come. For now, I’d appreciate if you’d answer a few questions:

1. Does the general idea — of concrete projects that we undertake together, in real time — appeal to you?

2.  Of the projects listed above (public speaking, parenting, leadership, and writing) which, if any, interest you?

3.  Are there any *other* joint projects you’d like to see this website launch, ideas that I haven’t mentioned above?

If you like the general idea of joint projects, please take the time to comment, either below or via a personal note to me. The more feedback I get, the better I can design this to suit your needs. Thank you!




share this Want to Participate in the Quiet Revolution? Here Are a Few Questions For You


  1. Mac on 07.07.2011 at 08:52 (Reply)

    1. Yes

    2. Public speaking

    3. Effective online communications: videos, Skype, etc

    1. Susan Cain on 07.07.2011 at 08:56 (Reply)

      Thanks, Mac. Re: effective online video communications — I could use that one, too! Haven’t figured out video posting yet, but it’s on my to-do list.

  2. Melisa LaVergne on 07.07.2011 at 09:28 (Reply)

    1. Yes
    2. Public speaking and writing
    3. I’d like to figure out a way to help my organization harness the talents of introverts more effectively. A group effort where we could compare the results at various organizations and share ideas that have worked could be interesting.

    1. Susan Cain on 07.07.2011 at 15:07 (Reply)

      Brilliant idea, this #3. I’m actually planning to take to the road next year, speaking to corporations and other organizations about this very thing, and would LOVE to hear everyone’s real life stories. If you have any good ones, please send ‘em right away, even before we launch a formal project around this. I’m also going to consult a business school professor I know, who is very interested in the gifts of introversion, to weigh in.

  3. Mannie on 07.07.2011 at 10:07 (Reply)

    I love this website and all the thoughts, ideas and activities expressed and planned. I need to speak more dangerously, also. I’m going to be 50 next year and my introversion has impeded me from having a more professional and lucrative career. An additional diagnosis may be social anxiety.

    I have been a enthusiastic fan of Carl Jung for over 10 years since completing my graduate degree in counseling. It’s frustrating to try explaining introversion to friends, colleague, etc. A majority of people think introverts are hermits in a cabin in the middle of nowhere.

    I’d like to become more expressive in my speaking and writing. I’m checking into finding a Toastmasters Club in my area!

    1. Susan Cain on 07.07.2011 at 15:09 (Reply)

      That’s great that you’re checking into Toastmasters, Mannie! I’ll post more info about this soon, but in the meantime wanted to say that if there’s more than one club in your area, it’s worth attending a few different ones as a guest to see where you feel most comfortable. Also, if you’re in the NYC area by any chance, there’s a great Toastmasters-like place that is specifically geared to anxious speakers. Let me know and I’ll find the name for you. Not to worry if not — many TM members enroll b/c of anxiety issues.

      1. Rachael on 18.07.2011 at 02:30 (Reply)

        Hi Susan.
        Just found this site through your NY Times article.
        I was hoping you could provide the name of the group you mentioned for anxious speakers in the NYC area.
        Really Interested in reading your coming book.
        Thank you for helping to promote the introversion is not an illness to be cured idea further in the public consciousness. It is one that I have struggled for years with trying to communicate to others on a personal level.

        1. Susan Cain on 18.07.2011 at 09:37 (Reply)

          Thanks, Rachael! The group I mentioned is: The Public Speaking Center of New York. Here is the website: http://www.speakeeezi.com. It is run by Charles di Cagno, who is wonderful. I write about my experiences there in my coming book. Best of luck.

  4. Joe BW Smith on 07.07.2011 at 13:52 (Reply)

    Thank you for scaring the hell out of me and inspiring me all at the same time.

    Questions answered-

    1. Yes.

    2. All of the above interest me, but I would rank them, writing, leadership, parenting, public speaking.

    3. I would agree about the earlier comment about organizational engagement of introverts.

    Great post as usual!

  5. Christine on 07.07.2011 at 14:07 (Reply)

    1. Yes
    2. Writing, parenting, leadership. I’m especially interested in thinking more about what it takes to be an introverted parent. My oldest daughter is very sensitive, but she is not an introvert, and my youngest daughter is a happy-go-lucky extrovert too, as far as I can tell. My biggest struggle is that both of them want to be with people - especially me!! - all the time. So how can introverted parents nurture themselves and teach their extroverted children how to engage productively with introverts (including their introverted parent)?

  6. Nate on 07.07.2011 at 14:18 (Reply)


    1. Yes
    2. Public speaking
    3. None I can think of

    I want to add that your below quote hit me like a ton of bricks:

    “The universal longing for heaven is not about immortality so much as the wish for a world in which everyone is always kind.”

    This had such meaning to me that I surprised myself by tearing up upon reading it. Perhaps it takes being a shy introvert to truly appreciate the context here. A world which only seems to value extroverts is often a cruel one. I’ve included it among a list of meaningful quotes that I will pass on to my son when he is old enough.

    A side story: Years ago, during a business road trip in the car with my then boss, he told me about how his wife was planning another party for the coming weekend. He let out a sigh and said: “Sue always gets energized when people come over and socialize - I just get exhausted and can’t wait for them to leave so that I can have some quite time - that is how I recharge.” I’ve often recalled that conversation with him in that car 20 years ago because nobody since has expressed MY thoughts so succinctly. Introverts do not often commiserate amongst themselves. They should.

    Your Times article (which brought me here) was also wonderful.

    For all the great advances our society has made in accepting others nobody has yet led the charge for the introvert! An introverted leader is not an oxymoron! You already are doing a fine job of proving that. Thank you.

    1. Susan Cain on 07.07.2011 at 15:17 (Reply)

      What a lovely note, Nate, thank you. Also love the idea of you storing up quotes to pass down to your son. I think of doing that too. And planning to open up e-mail accounts for my kids and to write them letters, send them photos, etc — a real-time documentation of their lives, and words of wisdom as I think of them. I actually got that idea from a Google ad!

  7. Susan Cain on 07.07.2011 at 14:51 (Reply)

    I’ve been getting a lot of feedback to this post via personal letters, and thought I’d share some of them (in each case with the writer’s permission) here in the comments section, for everyone to see.

    Here’s the first one:

    “It’s hard to pin myself down on the shyness/introversion scales. I know I prefer
    quiet. Sometimes and on some levels I am afraid of being judged and sometimes
    on other levels I am not. I hate public speaking, especially impromptu because
    I know I process information like an introvert and want time to plan and think
    through my responses. Generally I do not communicate enough as the leader of an
    organization that requires constant communication in order to motivate and
    inform my members. The general idea of concrete projects that we undertake
    together, in real time appeals to me. Of the projects you suggested, the most
    appealing to me are public speaking and leadership. Another project might be
    communication in general. As an introvert I stay in my head and I know what I
    believe. I find it difficult to communicate enough to satisfy extroverts need
    for constant communication. I hope this helped and I look forward to working on
    projects together.”

  8. Susan Cain on 07.07.2011 at 14:53 (Reply)

    Here’s another reader letter:

    Hi Susan,

    I discovered your blog not too long ago and I’m really enjoying your articles.
    I am both extremely shy and introverted. For the past year I have been actively
    working on both – becoming less shy and more comfortable in my own skin.

    This is in response to your quiet revolution post: I’m just starting
    toastmasters. I went to my first meeting back in May and then chickened out on
    the last few (This group only meets twice a month). I think having a support
    system where we could bounce ideas off each other would be a huge help. For me,
    I’m interested being able to seek clients and communicate effectively with
    them. My fear of saying something stupid or not having anything to say at all is
    standing in the way of me doing the work that I want to do.

    I’m not a parent, but I think educating people on how to raise sensitive
    children is extremely important. I learned from a very early age that it was not
    ok to be quiet. I’m slowly trying to unlearn that now.

    I would also be interested in writing/blogging and interacting online. I find
    social media extremely overwhelming, though I very much want to be a part of it.

    I look forward to reading your book when it comes out.

    Enjoy the rest of your week!

  9. Susan Cain on 07.07.2011 at 14:55 (Reply)

    Here’s another reader letter, from Amy:

    I found you only recently through your NY Times op ed and I’m delighted I
    did. Your daily email is like a refuge for me. Just reading the subject line
    is calming!

    I love your idea of projects, per your email today.

    I am both an introvert (INFJ) and a highly sensitive person (I feel a little
    silly writing that designation but, indeed, a little of the outside world
    goes a long way for me lol!). I do communications for nonprofits. This
    actually fits me as an INFJ because I am evolving a concentration on working
    with individuals, or working individually with people in larger
    organizations, to help them put their vision to work in their

    I have a half-time staff job, but I need to attract more work. I think of it
    as attracting clients I want to work with. I started working on a simple
    website months and months ago and, just like my resume was, it’s really hard
    for me to work on it. I can boost/support other people day in and day out
    but it feels very vulnerable for me to put myself front and center, even
    though I have some wonderful skills to offer to the right people!

    I also do photography, but nowhere near enough of it. People love my photos.
    I like to capture what other people pass by or don’t notice — the little
    mundane things that have magic or meaning.

    I’m sorry to ramble on! What I’m trying to say is that I’m 57 and it’s time
    for me to let loose my own quiet individual voice in the world. But it’s
    scary! So I would love to have an online community of people who are trying
    to do the same thing in their own ways.

    Thanks much for asking for feedback and for reading my email.

  10. Tim Larison on 07.07.2011 at 14:55 (Reply)

    1. Does the general idea — of concrete projects that we undertake together, in real time — appeal to you?
    Yes - it will be good to have a support system here.

    2. Of the projects listed above (public speaking, parenting, leadership, and writing) which, if any, interest you?

    writing and parenting. I’m pretty much over my public speaking fears thanks to being in Toastmasters for 10 years (excellent organization for people who need help with that)

    3. Are there any *other* joint projects you’d like to see this website launch, ideas that I haven’t mentioned above?

    Maybe an assignment like “attend a networking event this week and report back how that went for you” (such as a chamber of commerce meeting, community organization, etc). Engaging in small talk in a crowd of people you don’t know very well is a different skill than public speaking, and one I find challenging at times.

    1. Susan Cain on 07.07.2011 at 15:18 (Reply)

      Your #3 is a great idea. Also, when we do the pub speaking project, I’m sure readers would *love* to hear more about your experiences with TM.

  11. Susan Cain on 07.07.2011 at 15:11 (Reply)

    From another reader:

    “I really enjoy your site. Your post today asks what I am interested in working
    on: Writing is what interests me. Short articles. Yes, I am an introvert in this
    extroverted world!”

  12. Brittany on 07.07.2011 at 16:42 (Reply)

    Hi Susan!
    I’ve read several of your posts before and love them, I’m looking forward to reading your book when it comes out! Another blogger recently told me that you had written a post about public speaking, so I decided to check your site again.

    I think it’s awesome that you are a member of Toastmasters and will be writing about that experience soon. I recently joined myself to confront my fear of public speaking for my “Shyness Project” (http://theshynessproject.wordpress.com/)this year, where I’ve been doing things that scare me or that are things I always thought I couldn’t do. I think public speaking will allow me to share more ideas too, and if I ever get a chance to write a book one day I hope this will help me have the courage to go on interviews or give talks like you do.

    I look forward to reading your experiences in Toastmasters! Take care!

    1. Susan Cain on 07.07.2011 at 21:22 (Reply)

      A shyness project, what a great idea! Please keep us posted as to how it goes — and participate in our public speaking project, if you’d like, so you can share your TM experiences with others here. Good luck!

  13. rajnish on 07.07.2011 at 17:28 (Reply)

    2. First writing and then public speaking
    3. I have been reading your articles for almost two weeks now. In most of the articles that I read, you mentioned the name of the introverts (one or more) who have been successful in their field (such as Malcolm Gladwell in this article). If possible, I would expect a list of introverts in different fields, such as successful introverts who became CEOs. That will help us to choose our role model. In addition, I would also like to see a group of introverts under one name (such as introvert.com). Like for the other minority and disadvantaged group (may not necessarilly be in terms of access to resources), the web can be used to raise the awareness among the general public about introverts and also can act as the pressure group to internalize the introverts in the schools, organizations, etc. Further, a scale to measure the extent of discrimination against introverts vis-a vis extroverts (in different realm) should be constructed , with the help of academics. This is very neglected area, although it does have a wider implication for the society. Finally, I was wondering whether the statement that “Americans live in an “extroverted society”that rewards extrovert behavior and rejects introversion” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraversion_and_introversion) is a documented fact!!!

  14. Debye on 07.07.2011 at 17:39 (Reply)

    1). Yes
    2). Leadership
    3) Organizational engagement of extroverts

    I’m an INFP librarian who has learned to be extroverted when necessary, but
    I prefer to be behind the scenes. I have trained myself to be able to speak to
    groups, but joining Toastmasters?? In a word, NEVER. I just couldn’t do it. The
    very thought gives me an anxiety attack. But I can lead quietly in my library and
    I’ d like to do better. I spend a lot of time after work recharging, maybe too much.
    Reaching out to some groups with common interests is helping some. But I can
    still find ways to talk myself out of going to meet new people. I’m still that shy, nervous,
    embarrassed at 46. Sigh. I think your site will give me the encouragement I need.
    Thank you.

  15. Susan Cain on 07.07.2011 at 18:16 (Reply)

    Another reader letter:

    1. Does the general idea — of concrete projects that we undertake together, in
    real time — appeal to you?

    2. Of the projects listed above (public speaking, parenting, leadership, and
    writing) which, if any, interest you?

    3. Are there any *other* joint projects you’d like to see this website
    launch, ideas that I haven’t mentioned above?

    Yes, please…Succeeding in business as a self-employed, sole-proprietor

  16. Susan Cain on 07.07.2011 at 20:52 (Reply)

    From Mary Hrovat:

    The general idea of tackling concrete projects as part of a group of other
    introverts does appeal to me. I’m introverted and also shy in certain areas. I’m
    a writer and an editor, but for a couple of years I’ve done far more editing
    than writing, largely because I’m scared to put my thoughts out there for other
    people to see. It seems like it might be helpful if I could both provide support
    to and accept support from others who are similarly stymied-not to discuss
    specific pieces of writing or read each other’s work, necessarily, but to share
    notes on how we’re tackling the project of expressing ourselves, our successes
    and setbacks, etc. Best of luck with your public speaking project!

  17. Susan Cain on 07.07.2011 at 21:06 (Reply)

    From a reader:

    “Susan, your suggestion to join Toastmasters is taking root in my psyche. Always
    terrified of public speaking it is about time I confronted my fears.”

  18. Dork on 07.07.2011 at 22:08 (Reply)

    I’m a shy introvert, who is also chronically ill-not really the best combination for this world!
    1. Yes
    2. Writing, Public Speaking, and Leadership
    I loved writing as a child, but then got steered into a more practical field. Now I can barely make myself write. Some of it is a lack of time (grad school and work), but I also don’t know how to get started or if it is even worth my time (I could be using the time to do something more productive, something that will get me ahead in my actual career field). Susan, could you write a post about how got back into writing after being a lawyer and your writing process?

    I don’t have too much of a problem with leadership if it’s in a small group. But public speaking part gets to me in a larger group. Also, I can get overshadowed by the extroverts. I’ve thought about taking an improv class or doing Toastmaster, but time and money (and-I’ll be honest-fear!) are always issues. Part of the public speaking problem is not being able to think quickly. I need time to think over stuff in quiet; I can’t do that in a meeting or class when everyone else is talking-it’s just too much to handle at once.

  19. Susan Cain on 07.07.2011 at 22:36 (Reply)

    Thx for your note, Dork. So many people here have expressed an interest in writing that I will definitely do a post some time on how I made the transition. I too was originally steered into a more practical field.

    RE: Toastmasters — you know it’s practically free? :)

    As for the problem of not being able to think quickly — most introverts find they have to prepare much more than extroverts do, and then they’re fine. This can work in classroom settings too, if you just anticipate what the topics are that will be covered.

    Good luck!

  20. Trailer Dweller on 08.07.2011 at 07:06 (Reply)

    3. How to stand up for your right to be an introvert.

    I am an introvert, but not shy. I need to be alone in relative peace and quiet to recharge my energy. I work as a receptionist, requiring me to interact with dozens of people every day. I use my lunch hour to be by myself, walking or reading. I was fired from a job for being ‘aloof’ because I could not bring myself to spend every lunch hour socializing with fellow department members, listening to them discuss grandchildren (I have none), the messier elements of eldercare (cleaning up after diarrhea), bitching about husbands (I love mine dearly), and gossiping about whoever was not in the room.

    In my neighborhood, my husband and I just want to be left alone. Respect our property and allow us to live in peace. I enjoy gardening or just sitting on my porch knitting or watching the sunset. I do not care to participate in the middle-of-the-street gossip and bitch sessions, so naturally, I become the target of verbal and other harassment.

    You are correct that this culture penalizes the introvert. It is time that we demanded our right to our own personality and way of dealing with life!

    1. Danielle on 11.07.2011 at 10:44 (Reply)

      I know how you feel. I too had to give up a job because I refused to take part in the same type of conversations and because I seemed aloof (because I kept my private life to myself) and also because I wouldn’t spend the day smiling a Miss Universe smile five days a week.

      Frustrated at not having my rights respected by that HR Director and her staff, I looked up the Privacy Act (protected by two separate provincial laws) as well as the Labour law pertaining to the employee’s unpaid lunch hour… and I hit paydirt…

      Now, when I go to job interviews, I explain the three provincial articles of law I looked up which state that no one is allowed to stick their noses in an employee’s private life without that employee’s written consent and that since the employee’s lunch hour is unpaid, the law considers it “private time” during which an employee can do what he/she wants so long as it is not prejudicial to the company.

      If the HR Director is insistant, I remind her that I am applying for a job, not registering in a dating service and that I refuse to join in such outrageous conversations because they go against my moral values, also because I am here to concentrate 100% of my time to company business and to avoid being wrongly and illegally accused of backstabbing, something I do not care to be involved in.

      Then I hold her gaze. The look on her face tells me what kind of HR Director I am dealing with and if it’s worth taking the job or not.

      It’s one of those MasterCard moments… PRICELESS!

  21. [...] reading recommendations, I first want to say thanks for the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response to the QUIET Revolution projects idea. Look for a kick-off of the public speaking project next [...]

  22. Ken Redeker on 09.07.2011 at 10:48 (Reply)

    Love this idea, and I want to participate. I love your articles. I am an introvert, and I am terrified of public speaking. I also have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and that makes it even harder. My friend and filmmaker, Dave McGowan is creating a documentary film on my life with OCD. I have started telling more people about my OCD, and eventually I am going to have to speak publicly about my disorder. Here is a link to where you can view our 5-minute promotional video. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1595667475/embrace-the-fear-my-life-with-ocd?ref=card

    Please share this link with others. Thank you.

    1. Brittany on 09.07.2011 at 15:14 (Reply)

      I checked out your site, good luck with sharing your story in a documentary Ken!

  23. Danielle on 09.07.2011 at 16:36 (Reply)

    Leading your organization in a quietly effective way is something I want to tackle in my next job.

    Not only will I stick an article about successful introverts at my desk, but I intend to give a copy of your book (I can’t wait for it to come out) as well as a copy of the article about successful introverts to all (including the HR Director and other managers and employees) as a reading gift from me to change their attitudes about us introverts. Hopefully this will create a better work environment for all introverts working for my employer. The worst that can happen is that I get fired for my effort, in which case it will be a confirmation that working there was a mistake.

    I have not yet subscribed to Twitter nor Facebook because a lot of Canadian employers check to see if their prospective employees are listed and read their comments and inscriptions before hiring them. If they find anything they dislike, their CVs go in the trash can. As if we don’t have enough problems trying to find a job.

    So, I may not be in a position to join your projects in real time but I’ll be with you in thought and will keep reading your blog.

  24. Amy on 09.07.2011 at 19:30 (Reply)

    I joined Toastmasters about 6 years ago. The cool thing about Toastmasters is that there different roles to do in the club (word of the day, timer, ah counter, speech evaluator). I started out small by doing the word of the day and after I had been a member for a few months started giving speeches. You can start slow and build up to doing more as you begin to feel more comfortable. I would definitely suggest visiting a few clubs so that you can join the club that is right for you.

  25. Phil Holmes on 10.07.2011 at 14:01 (Reply)

    First, thank you for your cogent and tremendously empowering blog. If you will excuse the phrase, I feel inspired to be… a militant introvert. That is not the right phrase; it’s my pent-up frustration talking. Confident introvert? Perhaps that is better.

    Now to your questions.

    - Yes, the general idea is appealing to me. While I love to live in my head, and recognize that there are changes I can make there that will be transformative, I also know that concrete external action must not be avoided.

    - I am not a parent and likely will not be, so I don’t know of any changes I can make in that regard; however, I am a corporate trainer who does quite a bit of leadership training (often making use of the MBTI), and I can and will do even more to limit the subtle (and sometimes overt) type-bashing that sometimes occurs in those sessions. And when you mentioned writing, I sighed. My job over the past few years has become increasingly busy, loud, and ennervating, and of all of the things that I have had to relinquish in response to that environment, the time and room and - headspace? distance? clarity? - to write are the things I miss the most. So, writing feels the best to me and resonates most deeply.

    - I found your website only today, so I am not sure that I am quite ready to give you or your readers a lot of advice about additional projects; however, I will think about it.

    One thing does come to mind. We need better public relations, and your blog and your writing are strong and sure steps in that direction. We have too easily and quickly ceded “definitional ground” to our extraverted friends, neighbors, relations, and colleagues. They are more comfortable in the public arena, or at least they are louder there, and I worry (for myself) that I have too quickly accepted their definition of my own and other introverts’ behavior. That’s why I love the “16 things I believe” on the first page of your blog. They are pithy and they have power and meaning - if widely communicated, they might change perceptions of introversion. For example, “There’s a word for ‘people who are in their heads too much’: thinkers.” We need to communicate just that sort of message to the rest of the world - that we are not failed extraverts, but successful introverts, who do not so much need to be coached to be louder but rather need to be listened to more often by those who talk too damned much.

    1. Susan Cain on 10.07.2011 at 21:28 (Reply)

      Phil, thx much for your note. I wanted to ask you more about your experience with MBTI training. Most of what I know about MBTI I learned from reading, but a couple of years ago I participated in a seminar that did some of the MBTI exercises, and was horrified by the “type-bashing” you mentioned. The only practical example given of how to distinguish an introvert from an extrovert was their behavior at the office Christmas party, which of course quickly led to jokes about introverts’ retiring ways.

      So I’d love to hear more about your experiences.

      Also, I love your concept of not ceding “definitional ground.” Thx for putting it that way.

      1. Phil Holmes on 11.07.2011 at 22:51 (Reply)

        Susan, thanks for your generous comments.

        I use the MBTI mostly as a team-building tool - either to help new teams learn about their members or to help existing teams figure out why they may not be working as well as they could. The type-bashing that I mentioned is not caused by the instrument itself, of course, but rather by the existing biases in the room; and of course, sometimes the biases reside in the facilitator.

        It is tremendously difficult to be objective when it comes to psychological type, because our non-preferred functions often seem alien and, frankly, wrong to us. This last comment takes us a bit closer to Jungian psychology than both the limitations of your comments function and the limitations of my understanding of Jung should allow, but it’s fascinating material.

        What strikes me when I am facilitating MBTI sessions is the mutual reinforcement that occurs among people of similar preferences. This mutual reinforcement narrows everyone’s field of vision, and thus it enables more reinforcement. For example, if the team is primarily extraverted, the members will tend to describe the introverts in pejorative ways, and each pejorative description will trigger another even more pejorative description, which in its turn seems to trigger more equally pejorative descriptions; one gets the sense that there is a kind of relief at play here, that the tension that had been building up between the types is being released.

        I am also struck by how jarringly wrong people can be about types that are different from their own. MBTI practitioners talk about how each of us has E and I behaviors, etc., but so often I encounter E’s and I’s who seem about as likely to undertand their counterparts as a snake can imagine a barrel roll. This is a depressing experience. If I want extraverts to understand me as an introvert, I must at the same time be willing to cross my own perceptual boundaries and attempt to see life as an extravert. That’s part of my message when I train. I just don’t know how often the message is received.

  26. Dana on 10.07.2011 at 20:45 (Reply)

    Susan, I look forward to Sunday evenings when I get your weekly updates. But today I wished I had been reading everyday! I’ll try to figure out how to change that.

    To answer your questions:
    1. Yes. Collaboration is powerful stuff when used in the right context and for the right reasons. This seems the perfect setting and group of people to do that.
    2. Writing. I’ve been trying to get a blog started for months now. I have lots to write about and I already know I’m a good writer. People implore me to start my blog! But I realize I’m not procrastinating so much as shielding my inner life. Ten years ago I decided to switch from the corporate world to the academic life and started tutoring writing. After just one semester, the director of the Writing Center recommended that I teach some developmental classes. The first time I walked into a classroom, I knew exactly what to do. And I knew then that I was introverted but not at all shy. It was amazing release. I had been “accused” of being shy and quiet by my overly extroverted mother (loud dirty jokes and all!) all my life. That was all over and done with in about 10 seconds. I’d be teaching now if I weren’t waiting for an organ transplant. That sucks. But I want the blog to take the place of that activity for me.
    3. I can’t think of other joint activities right now. I’m thinking. I did like the idea of attending a networking meeting next week. I also find it challenging to engage one-on-one with a complete stranger.

    I love what you’re doing here. Keep speaking dangerously. And I feel more encouraged when I read your posts to get the technical issues of the blog solved so I can share my world.

  27. [...] many of you read last week, we’re launching the QUIET Revolution, in which readers of this site work together to make concrete changes in our personal lives — [...]

  28. Ken Redeker on 11.07.2011 at 01:36 (Reply)

    1. Yes, I like this project
    2. Public speaking, writing, and leadership
    3. None I can think of

    A friend of mine is producing a documentary film on my Obsessisvie Compulsive Disorder, and he has told that I am going to have to get used to public speaking which I hate. I am also writing my memoirs.

  29. kmarie on 11.07.2011 at 12:40 (Reply)

    1. Yes!
    2. All of them
    3. I’d be interested in something having to do with memorization and public speaking. When I get in front of the camera or a student, my mind goes blank even though I’ve memorized something.
    * This may be covered in Toastmasters…I love your site and doing this together

  30. Michelle on 11.07.2011 at 14:30 (Reply)

    1. Yes
    2. Writing & parenting a creative & gifted child
    3. Not that I can think of at this time.

  31. Danielle on 11.07.2011 at 17:32 (Reply)

    Thanks for the kick in the pants, Susan. I just finished writing my first short story of actual events in my life. It felt good. The blockage is melting away.

  32. Melissa on 12.07.2011 at 11:36 (Reply)

    For me currently, I would be most interested in active collaboration regarding parenting, leadership, and writing. I am an adequate public speaker for my job/volunteer life right now and don’t quite feel like taking on any more in that regard.

  33. Charity on 13.07.2011 at 17:29 (Reply)

    1. Yes

    2. All, but particularly parenting and writing.

    3. I’m not sure I totally understand the “joint projects” concept, but as someone else mentioned, small-talk skills would be lovely, specifically knowing what questions to ask people I’ve just met that show my interest but aren’t nosy. I have trouble recognizing the line and err on the side of saying nothing (and looking disinterested). Oh, and perhaps some mindfulness-type stress-reduction methods for managing anxiety when speaking with people.

  34. Deborah Lynn on 13.07.2011 at 22:15 (Reply)

    I love the idea of joint projects, so I’m in!

    I am in career transition and have always wanted to learn to speak effectively in public … now is the time! Thanks for the encouragement.

  35. Deborah Lynn on 13.07.2011 at 22:17 (Reply)

    I am interested in public speaking, leadership and writing.

  36. James on 28.08.2011 at 16:14 (Reply)

    Public speaking and writing; personally, I feel that writing is easier, but that’s precisely why I think I should get better at speaking, because I am not good at it yet.

  37. Karen Allendoerfer on 11.02.2012 at 09:10 (Reply)

    I am interested in public speaking, writing, parenting, and teaching. I am especially interested in introversion in K-12 schools and helping introverted students (and teachers) navigate the school experience successfully.

  38. Ardra A on 13.02.2012 at 13:36 (Reply)

    I am an introvert. I am interested in parenting,public speaking and leadership. I suggest you include teaching too in this. And by teaching I mean methods for extroverted teachers teaching introverted students as well as introverted teachers teaching extroverted students.

  39. Joanne on 22.02.2012 at 07:11 (Reply)

    Yes, I am interested in your proposals. I am a librarian with another masters in school administration, love my job and enjoy public speaking! (figure that combination) I’m fairly certain 3 of my adult children are introverts while the other 2 are extroverts~all ivy league graduates (I also have a lovely daughter in law from Finland!) I’ve been using what I’ve learned from “Quiet” to help them recognize and appreciate each others qualities. I’ve suggested they read the book.
    I would be interested in writing and leadership as I love both and would be happy sharing this information with others.

  40. Gordon W Stewart on 30.12.2012 at 00:04 (Reply)

    Hi Susan, I joined ToastMasters in Victoria BC back in March 2012, someting I’ve wanted to do for 8 years. I encourage everyone who wants to improve their speaking to join! One fellow Toastmaster did her speech on your story regarding introverts. You are a great inspiration. Hope you visit us up in Canada.

  41. Delphine on 17.11.2013 at 18:04 (Reply)

    1. Definitely yes
    2. public speaking, leadership
    3. discover who we are and learn to be the best of ourself
    try to insert these teachings in children education as early as possible. understand that you don’t have to feet to a stereotype but just be the best you can be and learn to consider your qualities as well as your flows should be at the centre of our education. if we don’t know who we are, how could we know who we want to be and what we want to do? and what we can do?

    Thanks for this book and thanks for putting yourself and your ideas out.

Leave a comment

Quiet: The Book

- Wall Street Journal

Bill Gates names "The Power of Introverts" one of his all-time favorite TED Talks.

Best Nonfiction Book of 2012

QUIET has been voted the best nonfiction book of 2012
by Goodreads.com


1. There’s a word for “people who are in their heads too much”: thinkers.

2. Our culture rightly admires risk-takers, but we need our “heed-takers” more than ever.

3. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation.

Read More

Join the Quiet Revolution
Susan on Facebook