Reading Ideas for the Weekend: Stage Fright in Hollywood, A Golden Age for Introverts, and More


Hi everyone,

Here are some reading picks for the weekend:

1. New Study Investigates Stage Fright in Elite Actors: This is an article describing interesting research on 136 elite actors. One key takeaway:

“The things we normally think might affect stage fright simply don’t. Confidence was the only predictive variable…Professional status, experience, success, age, or levels of [introversion or e]xtraversion didn’t seem to matter. Stage fright is still a function of each new situation and the amount of confidence they have going into that situation. Confidence allows one the luxury of focusing on the performance rather than possible negative outcomes.”

(The photo to the left is Laurence Olivier, who was well-known for stage fright.)

2. Four Ways Technology Can Enable Your Inner Introvert: witty Atlantic magazine essay describing how our always-on society is creating a golden age for introverts.

3. And finally, this quote from Moby Dick: “…all deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore.” (Thx to David Noller for sharing this quote!)

4. And one final reading suggestion: Gilead, our first QUIET Online Book Club reading pick. Remember, we’ll meet online to talk about the book on Tuesday, August 16, 8 to 9 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (with the discussion continuing through the next day). If you haven’t ordered your copy yet, you can get it here.

Happy reading, and have a great weekend.





  1. Barb Markway on 29.07.2011 at 12:56 (Reply)

    I just read Four Ways Technology Can Enable Your Inner Introvert. I am slow to get on the social networking bandwagon due to some not so successful back/neck surgeries and chronic arm pain. I’m trying to do more now, and I am finding that I have a lot of social anxiety about social media! My 19-year-old son seems befuddled that I don’t “get” twitter and that I spend way too much time thinking about how I’m going to come across in my messages. He says I overthink things (which I’m sure is true), but I also know there is probably some social etiquette regarding social media, and I’m one who likes to know the “rules”. I know I can’t be the only one who has similar concerns. I bet a lot of introverts may not comment on these message boards, even though they probably have useful things to add. So while I agree with a lot of his points, I also think technology/social media can be difficult for introverts. Some of us pick up so much from “vibes” and nonverbals that just aren’t available in this format. OK. I’ve stared at this for too long now, I’m going to embrace that it’s not perfect and just click reply :)

  2. Susan Cain on 29.07.2011 at 20:32 (Reply)

    That’s an interesting perspective, Barb. Two questions for you: (a) would it help if you spend a bunch of time online to learn the “rules” that are important to you? Once you’ve done that, you’ll have comfort that you’re not violating them; and (b) i think the reason many introverts feel more comfortable online is that, whether or not they use their real name, their screen presence doesn’t REALLY feel like them. It’s like the analogy I’ve used elsewhere — like going to a party dressed in costume. I wonder if looking at it this way would help some.

    1. Barb Markway on 30.07.2011 at 11:06 (Reply)

      Thanks for the suggestions, Susan!

  3. Danielle on 30.07.2011 at 07:31 (Reply)

    I can understand that even the best actors can suffer from a bad case of stage fright. However, I was taken aback some years ago when a well-known actor was presenting during the Oscars (or was that the Emmies, I forget which) and he just went tongue-tied and just stood there unable to say a word when the teleprompter went dead. I was surprised to see he hadn’t prepared by learning his lines or at least writing his lines on a card as a precautionary measure to get himself out of this predicament.

    This said, although Sir Laurence Olivier suffered from stage fright, it never transpired in his movies or plays. I once read that it was so easy for him to get into his role that after a play, he went into his dressing room and got angry because he couldn’t understand how he was able to get into his role with such ease.

    I wish I could have such a problem. I was once filmed during a job interview practice and I was so nervous my mouth went completely dry to the point where my upper lip got “glued” to my front teeth and the more I tried to forget the camera the more I became aware of it and had trouble concentrating on my words. Thank God it was just a practice run. I have less problems during the real thing because I always have a complete list of job interview questions on CD at home and practice them until I know them by heart. That way, I feel more in control during the interview. It generally pays off. I have a better chance of getting the job when I come properly prepared.

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