My TED Talk


tedtalk My TED TalkHere it is, the latest installment in my Year of Speaking Dangerously — a TED talk in Long Beach, California. Hope you enjoy!

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  1. Phil Holmes on 03.03.2012 at 08:47 (Reply)

    Susan, thank you for a beautiful and moving presentation. Your final request for introverts - that we show the world what we carry inside, because the world needs us - was unexpectedly touching. Once again, you inspire us to enter more fully and confidently into this loud and clanging world.

  2. jack B on 03.03.2012 at 09:47 (Reply)

    Wow this book says something for timing in my life. I am not an introvert(would say I far somewhere in the middle) but I’ve been bowled over by a trend that I think starts in our schools (Win! Be First! Be Popular!) and has permeated up to everyday jobs - yup even the 10$ hr ones. Employers want “outgoing”, “dynamic”. It seems social competance has almost an equal footing to experience. I’ve been unemployed far too long and know that “window dressing” and “first impressions” play a major role but to what extent?. I have said to my wife often over the last few years that they may as well hang up a sign in their lobby “Introverts Need Not Apply”

  3. Suchitra on 03.03.2012 at 10:07 (Reply)

    Susan, Thank You!

    I love your beautifully crafted book and how brilliant you have been at ensuring the conversation is happening in all these major forums from Time magazine to Tedtalks.

    Thank you for putting yourself out there so this critical conversation becomes mainstream.

    I am hopeful that this both helps the workplace transform and gives us introverts permission to be true to ourselves and ensure our ideas are shared.

  4. Jonna Gram-Petersen on 03.03.2012 at 11:49 (Reply)

    Dear Susan Cain

    I want to thank you for your TED-talk. I’m not an intravert, but I see the power in our differensies through astrology, and I see the need for all of us to know, and for this you have won a big battle.

  5. Marta on 03.03.2012 at 12:18 (Reply)

    I enjoyed every second of your talk. I have been saying the same (to myself, mostly) for soooooo long!! And the final statement, “speak softly”, why don’t people understand that IT IS nicer (for me, happy to know that it is for us) to listen when the message comes with a soft respectuous calm voice…

    I can’t wait to read the book. I would give it right away to my whole family and a bunch of friends if it were available in Spanish. Is it? Is it going to be? I hope I can see it soon on the bookshelves of our best book shops when I get back to Spain. I want to spread the word!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

    Ps: How scary had to be getting up on TED’s stage…

  6. Sherri H on 03.03.2012 at 12:25 (Reply)

    Susan, thank you for bringing this message to our culture. As an introvert, I have experienced all the feelings and pressures to conform that you mention in this wonderful speech. Your book has helped me see myself in a new light. Like Phil, I was very touched by your request for us introverts to show the world what we carry inside. We have a lot to offer.

  7. Pret on 03.03.2012 at 12:31 (Reply)

    Awesome! Thank you for doing this. Of course, I liked reading your book more than watching you speak, :) but I do appreciate very much your getting this message out. We all have much to learn around this topic.

  8. Rebecca on 03.03.2012 at 20:12 (Reply)

    Beautifully presented! Your blog has changed the way I view my students and how I teach. It’s also put me on a path toward self-acceptance. I look forward to reading your book. Thank you so much.

  9. Amy on 03.03.2012 at 21:15 (Reply)

    Great presentation! I feel very inspired!

  10. Shirish on 04.03.2012 at 00:49 (Reply)

    Thanks Susan for opening up and speaking for all of us.

  11. Starthrower on 04.03.2012 at 08:27 (Reply)

    Susan, When I contacted you a year ago and shared some of my entries, about introversion from a social networking site for students, I knew that you would take this very important topic and touch many. I have been reading your blog for the past year, shared in the excitement and anticipation of your book release, and now I am listening to as many of your interviews and presentations as I can. Five years ago I said the same thing to my college of education professors, “Stop the madness! Just stop it.” Oh how I love to hear you validate, and back all of us that have been pointing out how detrimental the madness is, only to have it fall on deaf ears. Thank you again Susan. I’m sure I will be thanking you for years to come! BTW,your speaking was beautiful.~

  12. Robyn on 04.03.2012 at 11:53 (Reply)

    Thank you so much for your insight, Susan. The comments from your talk that I identified with the most me:

    About your grandfather ending conversations early for fear he was taking up too much of someone’s time (I do this all the time!) and how we value personality in our current culture, over character. That is so sad… I believe it is one of the reasons we have lost the love for humankind. The being “kind” is missing from being human.

    Really enjoyed the video and can’t wait to read your book!

  13. Tawny on 04.03.2012 at 12:00 (Reply)


    Congratulations on your blog, your book and subsequent interviews, and on your TED talk. So gratifying to see your passion and ideas be shared with so many people, and to see them so well-received.

  14. Colleen on 04.03.2012 at 13:15 (Reply)

    I think LinkedIn provides an environment suited to introvert networking.
    I wonder if there is a correlation between the placement one has on the gradient scale and the preference they have to receiving technology information such as email/IM/text.
    How are introverted children faring as technology changes the way we communicate?
    How does Montessori’s holistic approach fare in response to the introvert versus extrovert development?

  15. Sharon on 04.03.2012 at 15:14 (Reply)

    A couple of tears came to my eyes while I listened to the end of your Ted Talk.

    For the first time in my life, I heard someone say, “It’s fine to be an introvert - in fact, don’t change.”. Recently, I’ve given up trying not to be an introvert but I had resolved that I was inherently flawed. I thought there was something wrong with me for desiring periods of seclusion, quiet time and simply opting to listen more than talk.

    From experience, I’ve learned that the easiest battle to win is when your opponent underestimates you (I learned it during Tang Soo Doo classes). Extending it to other areas of my life…others underestimate me because I am quiet…but it’s in listening that I learn and in contemplation that I figure out how to solve problems.

    Thank you very much Susan!!!

  16. Scott Clark on 04.03.2012 at 16:08 (Reply)

    Beautifully done!

  17. indiana on 04.03.2012 at 20:06 (Reply)

    i enjoyed your talk immensely. especially the bits exhorting schools to return to individual learning. and solitude. it’s a gift.

  18. Missy on 04.03.2012 at 22:59 (Reply)

    Susan, thanks so much for your TED talk. It was very moving for me. I posted it on my Facebook page with a “Introverts of the world unite!” comment and then quickly deleted it, thinking I was being too grandiose. Then, just decided to send it to my mom. Funny. Anyway, I very much value your passion for this topic and your bravery for bringing it to the world. Congratulations on your book and your Year of Speaking Dangerously!

  19. Anne on 04.03.2012 at 23:33 (Reply)

    Hi Susan,

    Amen. I’m so glad this is being brought to the attention of the masses. As a management and entrepreneurship student at DePaul University’s College of Commerce, I often struggle with the constant group work and the overpowering expectation of extroverted camaraderie.

    I can’t wait to read your book. I know I will find it very inspiring.

    Thank you.


  20. Bryant Avery on 05.03.2012 at 00:00 (Reply)

    Absolutely beautiful. Thank you!

  21. Maria on 05.03.2012 at 11:58 (Reply)

    I have watched and shared your TED talk with everyone. Very gregarious of me. I think your work has surfaced at just the right time and I am very excited about it. Thank you so much. Now I have to get back to my books.

  22. BarbWilliams on 05.03.2012 at 12:07 (Reply)

    Thank you for your book, it is changing my life


  23. Katherine c on 06.03.2012 at 12:46 (Reply)

    I hv been one of those who feel the pressures of having to be extroverted and I struggle with it constantly being in an industry and social circles that prize out going personalities. I am glad that I stumbled upon your talk and I will indeed make this year my Year of Speaking Softly. And I am glad to say that the moment I embraced my natural predisposition for solitude, I began writing again.

  24. Alexander A on 07.03.2012 at 03:03 (Reply)

    Only one word describes this: beautiful. You’ve said everything I’ve been telling myself, more elegantly than I ever could.

    As a college student, I can directly identify with your points on schools and learning. There is hardly an area I can get to on an entire campus that is quiet (even the libraries are mainly group study!). And I have no doubt in my mind that this adversely affects me and my coursework. Alas, such is the way of the world.

    I must thank you for this amazing presentation, and I will most definitely be buying your book!

  25. Joe S. on 08.03.2012 at 01:07 (Reply)

    As with most TEDs, very interesting. You, however, combined the typical TED knowledge with a kind and graceful wisdom.
    Because I hide my introvert tendencies under the guise of humor (I’m f’n hilarious;), I’m often mistaken as an extrovert. I’m sure other posters here can relate, being an introvert can be excruciating in public situations. I work for myself alone (happily) most of the time, and when I need to go into sales mode it can be quite challenging. My flight response kicks in at about 7 or more people. I do believe, however, the reason for my higher than average close rate is BECAUSE of my introversion. Extroverted sales people tend to talk too much and often talk past the customer… It’s amazing what you can learn verbally and non-verbally when you’re QUIET and observant.

    Thanks for the beautiful presentation. You are a true inspiration!

    ~ J

  26. Melody on 09.03.2012 at 10:35 (Reply)

    Thank you for this lovely TED talk. (I also read your introvert manifesto. It’s wonderful.) This is the first time I have heard the word “ambivert.” What a nice way to put it. Just yesterday I was trying to explain to someone how I feel sort of half-and-half introvert/extrovert. Ambivert makes sense to me. However, from my experience, sometimes being an ambivert is less like “having the best of both worlds” and more like being pulled between two worlds. Either way, thank God for quiet.

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  28. Susanne on 15.03.2012 at 06:55 (Reply)

    Thank you for standing up for introverts, for writing the book and giving the great TED talk. You made me cry for joy simply by recognizing and validating my qualities and preferences. And thank you for sharing the story about your grandfather — a powerful story about a quiet kind of power.

  29. Ankur on 17.03.2012 at 23:22 (Reply)

    Great TED video ! You have put up all available reasons which come in the mind of each Introvert across the world.

    The passion with which you supported introverts was fascinating.

    One point which you did not say but were obvious from the presentation is that just because someone is an introvert does not mean he/she cannot have good sense of humour.

  30. Rachel Fox on 18.03.2012 at 11:02 (Reply)

    I really enjoyed your TED talk and have posted it a few places since. You speak so well (interesting, amusing, smart…) and in fact I doubt many extros or ambis could do better.

    I hope your work does have some effect on how schools and workplaces structure our lives. We need more flexbility… more consideration for how different people like to work and think.

  31. Elisabeth on 19.03.2012 at 16:38 (Reply)

    My reaction to your brilliant talk was exactly the same as Susanne’s. I am now 32, and until I read your book, because of reactions from other people I’d always believed that something was wrong with me and was trying to fight against it. I socialised, tried hard to talk a lot, and believed that parties were better than books etc. I think I sometimes really made a fool of myself by doing all these things.

    All this has now changed as I have just found my true inner self. Thank you for writing the book! You have validated my life, my career choice, and my preferences when it comes to spending my time, communicating, working, networking and much more.

    Thank you, Susan, for going out there and telling the world the truth about introverts!

    1. An introvert from india on 24.06.2012 at 16:06 (Reply)

      i was having the same problems and believed sth was wrong with me..though i am good at studies, i always felt i would never accomplish anything i wanted n tried to modify myself to be like extroverts…. but now, after seeing this video and all these comments, i m feeling good…thank u all

  32. Adele on 20.03.2012 at 00:49 (Reply)

    My introvert boyfriend sent this to me; his extrovert girlfriend. The more I listened to your speech, I decided that I’m quite possibly an introvert who has been conditioned to be extrovert in order to successfully fit in with my peers. I’m in graduate school and EVERY project is a group project. In order to “get points” for participating, you have to talk. It doesn’t matter what you say, as long as you say something. I also find that the quiet people tend to do all the behind scenes work but the outgoing people are good at presenting the material so the professors tend to think they are the team leaders.

    I really came to this site to let you know that you gave a great speech. You have a great style; fun, easy to follow and understand. Great job.

    1. Susan Cain on 20.03.2012 at 10:46 (Reply)

      Thank you Adele! (what kind of grad school are you in?)

  33. Elisabeth on 20.03.2012 at 04:42 (Reply)

    Hello, it’s me again. I’d like to add something:

    I am starting to wonder whether my own grandfather (although I never really got to know him as he passed away while I was still very young) was an introvert too. My Grandma sometimes tells us that he usually did not say very much, but the things that he said were always very well thought through. Also, he’d bought loads and loads of books all through his life, which he meant to read after retirement (and then, sadly, never got round to doing that as he passed away shortly after retirement). In the end, he’d actually accumulated so many books to fill an entire room, his ‘library’. It seems that I have probably inherited quite a few character traits from him, not just my enthusiasm for books and for languages, but I also, e.g., find concentrating on my work at the computer quite hard when sitting in full daylight, so I always draw the curtains - just as he did.

    My Grandma, on the other hand, is one of the most extroverted people who I know. She can easily make lots of new acquaintances, on train journeys for example. While I was travelling with her as a child, she once told me (reading my book) ‘Look, this is how it should be done’ and then started socialising with all those strangers around us. She is now way over 90 and still as active, modern, gregarious and chatty as ever. She can also talk and phrase things extremely well. (Even the young lads love her by the end of the train journey!)

    We sometimes have big family get-togethers, and I realise that some family members never bring their partner. According to my Grandma, that is because he or she is not a ‘family person’ (I am translating this from another language as my first language is not English), adding a comment along the lines of ‘How can someone not be a family person?’. I now realise that this means ‘How can someone not be an extrovert?’ or ‘How can someone actually admit openly that he or she is not an extrovert?’.

    I do really love and admire my Grandma, she is an amazing person, but I no longer agree with her on a couple of points. I think the time has come to orientate myself more towards what my Grandfather would have said or done or preferred.

  34. mehill on 20.03.2012 at 05:38 (Reply)


    Your story about your family is very interesting. I have similar behavior in my family. My sister is an extrovert and she is very disapproving of introverted members of the family who are not like her. She has a son who is introverted and was diagnosed with schizophrenia although he is supposedly in remission now - but that is another story. She keeps trying to pathologize the behavior of members of the family who are introverts.

    I feel for your grandfather. It is one thing to be an introvert; it is another to be rejected for it. I think it is important to honor who we are.

    1. Elisabeth on 24.03.2012 at 10:26 (Reply)

      Thanks for your reply to my message, I really appreciate it. I don’t think (although I can’t tell because I wasn’t around then!) that my grandfather was rejected for his introversion. He was simply not like the many other extroverts in his family. It seems the actual problem is that to extroverts introverts are probably just boring and dull.
      I am still very careful about what I tell other people about my introversion because the few times I’d actually said ‘I’m an introvert’, I was looked as if I’d just said ‘I need mental treatment’. Most people are probably not aware of the extraversion-introversion distinction because in today’s world only extraversion is what seems to matter and be permissible.

    2. Tara on 09.04.2012 at 16:11 (Reply)

      I have an aunt who is like that…she is an extrovert, and also has a terrible habit of talking an an aggressive, booming voice. She will enter a conversation and completely hijack it, oblivious to the suppressive effect she has on everyone else. She has always-unconsciously-displayed her disapproval of my introverted personality. Throughout my life she has always cut me down with her unthinking words and attitudes. Just the other day my uncle mentioned I should talk to a lawyer (regarding a botched wisdom tooth removal), and my aunt snorted, “she’s too timid!” When I was a child I idolized her, but now that I am older I feel like I am beginning to hate and resent her. She is always talking like being quiet and thoughtful are bad things, as if *I* am bad for being that way, and I am sick and tired of it.

      “It is one thing to be an introvert; it is another thing to be rejected for it.” Elizabeth, that is a very true statement.”

  35. Hidi on 30.03.2012 at 14:47 (Reply)

    Your TED Talk was amazing. I really hope the audience and the people watching were inspired by your speech. Sometimes the misunderstanding of introversion can be fustrating at times. Anyway, I have your book, and I cannot wait to get started. Thank you :)

  36. Mhgal on 24.04.2012 at 19:00 (Reply)

    I’ve often wondered why, of all the Bible verses, my favorite has always been “Be still and know that I am God”. Whenever there is drama or controversy around me, my mind automatically repeats “Be still, be still, be still”. Now I know why.
    It’s strange to finally know why I’ve always felt different from brother and sisters - all extroverts. I do have one brother who is closer to me in temperament, and when we were younger, would just look at each other and shake our heads when the rest of our family was involved in their drama.
    Many of my good friends get really pissed off when they’re not the center of attention, so how we stay friends, I don’t know - but it works.
    After watching this video, maybe I’ll have an answer for all of my family and friends who call me boring - all with much love, of course! LOL!

  37. Mhgal on 24.04.2012 at 19:01 (Reply)

    …and it explains why I just don’t get people who want to be on Jerry Springer or reality shows…

  38. Stephen on 23.05.2012 at 23:26 (Reply)

    Thank you so much. My wife and I really enjoyed your TED talk. Your talk really helped me understand her better :)

  39. An introvert from india on 24.06.2012 at 15:50 (Reply)

    Thank you very much for such an inspiring TALK…It was really total bliss!!! Now i’m feeling good to be an introvert, probably first time in my life… I’ve never came across the concept of introvert-extrovert ever.
    I have been criticized many times for not being an extrovert, by parents,teachers,friends, since my childhood and i hated myself for being this way…but now i’m feeling very comforting, knowing i’m not alone and not a fault-piece made by the God….:)

  40. roay on 10.07.2012 at 23:43 (Reply)

    hi everyone. could anyone help me to find the text of this speaking? my english listening skill is not good enough to understand whole of speaking well.
    best regards.

  41. Nicole on 13.07.2012 at 12:22 (Reply)

    I’ve just watched your Ted talk and you spoke directly to my soul! Thank you!

  42. EduardoASaad on 23.07.2012 at 00:54 (Reply)

    Dear Susan,

    I’m Eduardo, 45 year old from Mexico.

    I so appreciated your TED talk…

    I will buy your book on kindle and read it. But, even now, I feel it will bring gifts to me, as your talk brought gifts of kindness and sincerity that I appreciate very much.

    This is very much my type, my way of being.
    I think that finding people… even just one person… (female companion for me) that is of my type in this way… will be a beautiful thing.

    I just really appreciate the gentleness and kindness of some of these gifts that you conveyed on your talk.

    I wish you many blessings… take care.

  43. Michael on 05.11.2012 at 05:00 (Reply)

    Dear Susan,

    I can’t find the words to express how much gratitude I feel about the positive change you might be sparking with your book, your talk and the whole quite revolution to the world. Since my youth I was struggling with the idea that I am not very social and that’s wrong, and my environment didn’t helped me either to overcome the guilt. And since as a person I tend to think too deeply in a way that there is always space for doubt, it wasn’t easy to just accept who I am and get back my lost self-esteem for the years to come. All I wonder now is, how more positively would I perceive myself if I read such a book 15 years ago. I bet a lot of your readers feel similarly.

    Things are not lost though, the last minutes of your talk helped me so much to re-appreciate the good things that are left inside me and inspires me to continue sharing the things in my trunk with the world.

    Thank you very much!

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  45. Steve Light on 06.06.2013 at 04:34 (Reply)

    I actually cried watching this video. I’m not afraid to admit it lol

    It was so moving, thank you Susan, I know just how much courage that took for you to get up there and do the talk.

    Wonderful x

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

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