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What to Read: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

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October 25, 2016
What to Read
Wendy Mertz

What's On the Bookshelf
Over the years, we’ve had numerous conversations with industry leaders and often one of the topics that we discuss is the latest book read. We thought it would be fun to share some of these booklover conversations with our readers. Here are what our industry leaders are reading.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
by Susan Cain
[Review by Wendy Mertz, Hard Rock International]

Usually, when I pick up a book it tends to be a bit of “mental chewing gum.” What I mean by that is, when you read the book, it is for the sake of being lost in the story and not much else.  My Kindle is full of books from authors like James Patterson, Jeffery Deaver and Dean Koontz.  I am in technology so I also have read J.K. Rowling, Jim Butcher and J.R.R. Tolkien’s gems, The Lord of the Rings (all of them) and The Hobbit.  But I have also been interested in what drives people, why they do what they do, and books related to this broad topic.

For many years, businesses have invested in tests and tools to understand and leverage people’s core personalities.  These tools are used during the hiring process, team building and new staff induction to make the transition into an organization easier.  The reason companies embrace these tools is because regardless of what people do, experiences they have had, and changes made in their lives, core personality traits tend to always exist.  From Myers-Briggs or DiSC to Predictive Index, they all focus on providing information about the core traits in a person. Typically, one of the traits identified in these tests is to determine whether a person is an introvert or an extrovert… which brings me to the book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain.

It begins by describing typical core differences between the two personality traits.  For example, extroverts tend to take more risk in their personal and professional lives, while introverts tend not to do so or they do so with great anxiety.  Another is that extroverts tend to be more talkative and voice their thoughts and opinions, while introverts tend to think about what they want to say and do so with few words.  The differences in these personality traits have been discussed and debated for years.  Cain opines that companies and teams are more successful when they leverage people with both types of personalities.

The book explores this topic with interesting stories about relationships between extroverts and introverts (Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt), how organizations have succeeded (and failed) because of the dominance of one trait or the other, and how it is important to leverage the traits of both.  It also discusses how introverts, while “quiet,” have made significant differences in our world and should be given the opportunity to be heard.  Cain refers to the successes of Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak and Rosa Parks, all introverts, and where we would be as a society if they did not stand up and were not heard.  The book is an interesting read for extroverts who want to better understand introverts, and for introverts who want to understand how to break out and engage in the conversations.  By the way for those who don’t know me (and those who do), yes, I am an introvert.
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