Browsing: Leadership

How to Overcome the Fear of ‘Putting Yourself Out There’

In honor of Arianna Huffington’s marvelous book THRIVE, I want to write about a very specific aspect of well-being: freedom from fear of sharing one’s ideas.


Should you ‘fake it til you make it’?


Gandhi Explains Why Restraint Was His Greatest Asset


Excerpt from “Quiet” | Chapter: “Soft Power

In the West, passivity is a transgression. To be “passive,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means to be “acted upon by an external agency.” It also means to be “submissive.” Gandhi himself ultimately rejected the phrase “passive resistance,” which he associated with weakness, preferring satyagraha, the term he coined to mean “firmness in pursuit of truth.”


The Yin and Yang of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.


Paul Graham Explains Why Meetings Thwart the Flow of Creativity

Managers, take note!


Networking For Introverts, w/ Susan Cain and Marie Forleo (video)

Networking for Introverts” — in which I chat with the lovely Marie Forleo on Marie TV.


The Power of Quiet Connectors

Stop “networking” and start searching for kindred spirits! Robyn Scott, owner of a company called “Intros” and author of “The Power of Quiet Connectors“, says that the best connectors are private, modest, and low-key.


How to Transcend Political Difference: Make Everyone Sit Still

red-blue-chairsIn this season of government shutdown, it’s worth thinking about the mystery of political polarity. How intractable is it, really?


Why “no innovation happens with 10 people in a room.”

Paul English, co-founder of Kayak, on why “no innovation happens with 10 people in a room“: “We’re known for having very small meetings, usually three people. There’s a little clicker for counting people that hangs on the main conference room door. The reason it’s there is to send a message to people that I care […]


7 Ways to Use the Power of Powerless Communication

Have you ever noticed that some people avoid using question marks in their emails? They will say: “Can you call me to discuss.” Or: “When should we meet for dinner.” I think they’re trying to signal power, but these linguistic bids for dominance never fill me with respect. They just get my back up. Some […]


Ang Lee is a sensitive, QUIET director, says ‘Life of Pi’ star Adil Hussain

Here is “Life of Pi” star Adil Hussain, on what it’s like to work with the quietly inspirational Ang Lee. He is a silent co-musician with an added responsibility of being the conductor of the most complex orchestra. You’ll always feel that he’s only with you, co-creating; but he’s with everybody at the same time, […]


Three Inspiring Introverts from 2012 — and a QUIET Giveaway!

Introverts have been changing the world for a long time, from Van Gogh to Charles Darwin to Steve Wozniak. But revolutionary introverts don’t belong only to history. Quiet people innovate, inspire and educate us every day. Here are three inspiring introverts who made the news in 2012. Do you have others to add to the […]


How to Level the Playing Field for Introverts and Extroverts

Hi everyone, here’s a guest post from the insightful Ben Dattner, of Dattner Consulting, and author of The Blame Game, on how organizations can harness the strengths of their introverted employees. Do you have other ideas to add? Would love to hear them. In the meantime, here’s Ben: “The fantastic success of Susan Cain’s Quiet […]


Are Some of the Best Doctors Cerebral Introverts?

Hi everyone, happy new year! Today’s post is very personal, but it has a larger point too. My father was a gastroenterologist and medical school professor in New York City. Every day he would take care of his patients, come home and have dinner with the family, and then, after the rest of us had […]


Be Assertive, But Not Too Much

Quick: what’s the #1 quality of a good leader? If you’re like most people, you probably think of intelligence, charisma, self-discipline. In a study by Daniel Ames, a Columbia Business School professor, and Francis Flynn, a professor at Stanford Business School, these were the strengths mentioned most frequently by employees asked to describe their colleagues’ […]


Three Introverted CEOs and What You Can Learn From Them

1. Douglas Conant, the much-celebrated and beloved former CEO of Campbell Soup. In addition to famously turning around his company, Conant is well-known for his quietly humane touch. Like many introverts, he’s interested in building alliances one person at a time. For example, during his tenure at Campbell, he wrote over THIRTY THOUSAND handwritten letters to […]


Why Creative People Are Rarely Seen as Leaders

We are in love with the word “Eureka,” and for good reason.  Creativity is magic: the ability to create something out of nothing, to make connections that others don’t see. Everyone wants to work for, or invest in, the world’s most creative companies. Especially today. CEOs rank creativity as the most important leadership skill for successful […]


Does Feminism Make Room for Shy or Introverted Girls?

Here’s an excerpt from a wonderful piece in Feministing by intellectual powerhouse Courtney Martin, questioning whether contemporary feminism makes room for shy or introverted girls. Courtney articulates something I’ve worried about for years – in our efforts to instill confidence in young women, are we promoting an ideal of sassy outspokenness that’s just as confining […]


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

What 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 […]


Is President Obama an Introvert?

In yesterday’s New York Times op-ed on political leadership styles, David Brooks describes President Obama as a non-hierarchical but passive, thoughtful yet aloof leader: “I would never have predicted he would be this sort of leader. I thought he would get into trouble via excessive self-confidence. Obama’s actual governing style emphasizes delegation and occasional passivity. […]


What Kind of Workplace Culture Works For You?

Back when I was a lawyer, I worked for a firm whose culture I loved – it was a quirky and intellectual place, as law firms go. I stayed years longer than I should have, because I liked the culture so much. I thought about this today, when I attended the World Innovation Forum (#WIF11), […]


Inspiration, Leadership, and the Souls of Others

“He who should inspire and lead his race must be defended from travelling with the souls of other men, from living, breathing, reading, and writing in the daily, time-worn yoke of their opinions.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson What do you think of this idea? I disagree with the notion that we should avoid traveling with the souls of […]


Introverted Executives Find Ways to Shine

That’s the title of an article in last week’s Wall Street Journal. The article introduces introverted leaders like Doug Conant, the much-celebrated chief of Campbell Soup (whom I wrote about here) and Tim Miller, the CEO of Rally Development Software, whom I interviewed for my book. Tim has many impressive qualities — smarts, humility, and determination among […]


If He Can Do It (Public Speaking), So Can You

If you fear public speaking, this story will inspire you. (It was posted on my Psychology Today blog, in response to my article on “Why You Fear Public Speaking, And What To Do About It.“) “My story is that I started out with SEVERE communication apprehension. It was so bad in my early twenties that […]


What to Read This Weekend: Why Nice Baboons Finish First, Leadership Requires Solitude, and Humans are Naturally Empathic

Hi everyone, Here are this weekend’s reading suggestions: 1. “Solitude and Leadership”: This brilliant essay by William Deresiewicz was just nominated for a National Magazine Award. It was adapted from a speech the author gave to the plebe class at West Point, and argues that leadership and moral courage require quiet contemplation. It also says […]


More Strategies for Introverts at Work

Douglas Conant’s recent Harvard Business Review blogpost on being an introverted boss (Conant is the CEO of Campbell Soup) has generated some wonderful commentary in the blogosphere. Here is a very useful posting from Nancy Ancowitz, author of “Self-Promotion for Introverts.” “If you’re having a hard time getting a word in edgewise at boisterous meetings, […]


The Campbell Soup CEO is an Introvert, and Shares His Strategies

Here’s a Harvard Business Review blogpost from Campbell Soup CEO Doug Conant, on being an introverted boss. Conant shares some of his strategies for introverted leadership, including (interestingly) letting people know that he’s shy, not aloof. There is one strategy he doesn’t share, though, but for which he is well-known: writing handwritten notes of appreciation to […]


“The People Who Are Crazy Enough to Think They Can Change the World, Are the Ones Who Do.”

This is probably the first and last time you’ll find me quoting an advertisement as inspiration.  But I love this 1997 ad from Apple. “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they […]


Public Speaking for Introverts (Courtesy of Robert F. Kennedy)

“Be yourself. Don’t feel you need to mimic the testosterone level of a motivational speaker. You will look and feel fake. Robert Kennedy never tried to copy Martin Luther King’s rhetorical skills. RFK was soft-spoken. He owned that. And as a result, was every bit as affecting as King.” This quote comes from a terrific Harvard […]


Why Aren’t the Japanese Looting?

In tones of awe, many news outlets are starting to raise this question. Also: why are supermarkets cutting prices, and vending machine owners handing out free soft drinks? Why haven’t the Japanese devolved into a brute “every person for himself” mentality? Where did this breathtaking display of social unity come from? But we shouldn’t be […]


Enchantment for Introverts: Seven Tips From Guy Kawasaki, an Introvert Who Has Enchanted Millions of People

On August 10, 2008, Guy Kawasaki posted a shocking tweet. It read: “You may find this hard to believe, but I am an introvert. I have a “role” to play, but I am fundamentally a loner.” Kawasaki was the original evangelist for Apple’s Macintosh computer. He’s a well-known venture capitalist who has been called the […]


Are Asian-Americans Too Quiet to Lead U.S. Businesses?

Um. Of course not. This would seem a strange question to, say, the 1.2 billion people in China whose economy enjoys more than 10% annual growth and a $250 billion trade surplus with the U.S., on the strength of home-grown leadership. But in the U.S., there’s a terrible dearth of Asian-American leaders. Asian-Americans are a […]


Is Introverted Leadership the Secret to Huffpo’s Success?

In the wake of this week’s announcement that AOL will buy the Huffington Post for $315 million, the New York Times ran a cover story on the dynamic duo behind Huffpo’s success. It was called “Big Personality and Behind-the-Scenes Executive Prove a Top Team.” You know who the big personality is: Arianna Huffington – she […]


Why Our Leaders Aren’t More Creative (and What to Do About It)

We are in love with the word “Eureka,” and for good reason.  Creativity is magic: the ability to create something out of nothing, to make connections that others don’t see. Everyone wants to be more creative.  Everyone wants to work for, or invest in, the world’s most creative companies. Especially today. CEOs rank creativity as […]


Introverted Leaders: Three Reasons Larry Page Will Succeed as Google CEO (As Long As He Avoids One Fatal Misstep)

Last week, Google announced that current Google CEO Eric Schmidt will step down, while co-founder Larry Page – who is often described as shy, private, and reserved – will take his place.  Page’s mission: to make the company nimbler, more innovative, and more appealing to creative engineers with breakthrough ideas. Some have questioned whether the […]


What Amy Chua (and David Brooks) Didn’t Tell You: The Real Reason “Chinese Mothers are Superior”

While researching my book, I met Tiffany Liao, a soft-spoken Taiwanese-American high school senior from Silicon Valley.  She’d been a shy and quiet child, she told me.  When she accompanied her parents to their friends’ houses, she always brought a book. The grown-ups praised her.  She’s so studious, they marveled. It’s hard to imagine Caucasian-American […]

Quiet: The Book

- Wall Street Journal

Best Nonfiction Book of 2012

QUIET has been voted the best nonfiction book of 2012


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.

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