Unabridged Access

03 November 2016

Staff Listens: Susan Cain’s Quiet

Our rotational associate Conor shares his latest listen, Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

I almost didn’t listen to Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking for a few reasons. First, tending toward introversion myself and having just started to work in a field that basically starts with the word “public”, I worried that it might justify my natural solitude at a time when I needed to push myself to be more outward-oriented. Second, I thought it might be too hard to listen to a book with an academic bent in audio form. But I took a chance, and Susan Cain and her work’s narrator, Kathe Mazur, soon assuaged me.

To be sure, Quiet celebrates quieter folk and such avowed introverts will of course enjoy this title. They’ll not only enjoy hearing about their creative wellsprings, but also gain some helpful tips on topics like raising children that might resemble their personalities all too closely, how/when to be a “pretend extrovert” for a reason that matters to them, and ensuring their internal reserves of energy aren’t depleted by living in our extroverted world. (Yours truly found his own “restorative niche” while listening to this title both on the subway and while taking an entire Saturday night to emboss all the volumes in his personal library with an ex libris plate.)

But Cain doesn’t give extroverts short shrift. Instead, she delves into the pros and cons of being at any spot on the introversion/extroversion spectrum. Above all, she implicitly argues for the importance of balance between these poles for the world to work—Cain just thinks the equilibrium needs to be recalibrated.

Readers who might fear to become listeners should dive right in. Cain peppers her work with helpful aspects that let the listen digest her words on the go—plenty of anecdotes and illustrative examples as well as several sets of yes/no questions for the listener to diagnose her own place on the introverted/extroverted scale. Intrepid listeners are rewarded for their daring with Cain’s well-researched, comprehensive, and compelling audiobook.

To get an idea of what you’re in for with this audiobook, you can listen to an episode of Susan Cain’s podcast “Quiet: The Power of Introverts”:

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