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Quiet, Please: Unleashing 'The Power Of Introverts', A test for you

 
 
Reply Tue 31 Jan, 2012 11:12 am
Quiet, Please: Unleashing 'The Power Of Introverts'
by NPR Staff - All Things Considered
January 30, 2012

The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Book by Susan Cain

From Gandhi to Joe DiMaggio to Mother Teresa to Bill Gates, introverts have done a lot of good work in the world. But being quiet, introverted or shy was sometimes looked at as a problem to overcome.

In the 1940s and '50s the message to most Americans was: Don't be shy. And in today's era of reality television, Twitter and widespread self-promotion, it seems that cultural mandate is in overdrive.

Susan Cain — who considers herself an introvert — has written a new book that tells the story of how introversion fell out of style. She talks with NPR's Audie Cornish about Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking.

The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Book by Susan Cain

On the difference between introversion and shyness

"Introversion is really about having a preference for lower stimulation environments. So it's just a preference for quiet, for less noise, for less action. Whereas extroverts really crave more stimulation in order to feel at their best. ...

"Many people believe that introversion is about being antisocial, and that's really a misperception. Because actually it's just that introverts are differently social. So they would prefer to have a glass of wine with a close friend as opposed to going to a loud party full of strangers.

"Now, shyness, on the other hand, is about a fear of negative social judgment. So you can be introverted without having that particular fear at all, and you can be shy but also be an extrovert."

On the culture of character vs. the culture of personality

"To some extent, we've always had an admiration for extroversion in our culture. But the extrovert ideal really came to play at the turn of the 20th century when we had the rise of big business. Suddenly, people were flocking to the cities, and they were needing to prove themselves in big corporations, at job interviews and on sales calls. ...

"We moved from what cultural historians call a culture of character to a culture of personality. During the culture of character, what was important was the good deeds that you performed when nobody was looking. Abraham Lincoln is the embodiment of the culture of character, and people celebrated him back then for being a man who did not offend by superiority. But at the turn of the century, when we moved into this culture of personality, suddenly what was admired was to be magnetic and charismatic.

"At the same time, we suddenly had the rise of movies and movie stars. Movie stars, of course, were the embodiment of what it meant to be a charismatic figure. So, part of people's fascination with these movie stars was for what they could learn from them and bring with them to their own jobs."

Before becoming a writer, Susan Cain practiced corporate law for seven years and then worked as a negotiations consultant.
Aaron Fedor/Courtesy Random House

Before becoming a writer, Susan Cain practiced corporate law for seven years and then worked as a negotiations consultant.

Read Cain's Recent Opinion Piece In 'The New York Times'
'The Rise of the New Groupthink'

On how today's workplaces are designed for extroverts

"It's quite a problem in the workplace today, because we have a workplace that is increasingly set up for maximum group interaction. More and more of our offices are set up as open-plan offices where there are no walls and there's very little privacy. ... The average amount of space per employee actually shrunk from 500 square feet in the 1970s to 200 square feet today.

"Introverts are much less often groomed for leadership positions, even though there's really fascinating research out recently from Adam Grant at [The Wharton School of business at the University of Pennsylvania] finding that introverted leaders often deliver better outcomes when their employees are more proactive. They're more likely to let those employees run with their ideas, whereas an extroverted leader might, almost unwittingly, be more dominant and be putting their own stamp on things, and so those good ideas never come to the fore."

On the value of working alone

"None of this is to say that it would be a good thing to get rid of teamwork and get rid of group work altogether. It's more just to say that we're at a point in our culture, and in our workplace culture, where we've gotten too lopsided. We tend to believe that all creativity and all productivity comes from the group, when in fact, there really is a benefit to solitude and to being able to go off and focus and put your head down."

On whether extroverts should be offended by 'Quiet'

"My criticism in the book is not of extroverts at all, but rather of the extrovert ideal. I actually find extroversion to be a really appealing personality style. ... Many of my best friends truly are extroverts, including my beloved husband."

Quiet Quiz: Are You an Introvert or an Extrovert?
Excerpted from: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

To find out where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum, answer each question True or False, choosing the one that applies to you more often than not.

1. ______ I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities.

2. ______ I often prefer to express myself in writing.

3. ______ I enjoy solitude.

4. ______ I seem to care about wealth, fame, and status less than my peers.

5. ______ I dislike small talk, but I enjoy talking in depth about topics that matter to me.

6. ______ People tell me that I'm a good listener.

7. ______ I'm not a big risk-taker.

8. ______ I enjoy work that allows me to "dive in" with few interruptions.

9. ______ I like to celebrate birthdays on a small scale, with only one or two close friends or family members.

10. ______ People describe me as "soft-spoken" or "mellow."

11. ______ I prefer not to show or discuss my work with others until it's finished.

12. ______ I dislike conflict.

13. ______ I do my best work on my own.

14. ______I tend to think before I speak.

15.______ I feel drained after being out and about, even if I've enjoyed myself.

16. ______I often let calls go through to voice mail.

17. ______If you had to choose, I'd prefer a weekend with absolutely nothing to do to one with too many things scheduled.

18. ______ I don't enjoy multitasking.

19. ______ I can concentrate easily

20. ______ In classroom situations, I prefer lectures to seminars.

The more often you answered True, the more introverted you are. This is an informal quiz, not a scientifically validated personality test. The questions were formulated based on characteristics of introversion often accepted by contemporary researchers.
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sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 31 Jan, 2012 11:23 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
1. ______ I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities.

Tough one, it's largely linked to communication. In a deaf/ signing group I like large groups. So I guess F -- even though I definitely prefer one-on-one with hearing people, it's more about lipreading than personality.

2. ______ I often prefer to express myself in writing.

Prefer? Maybe. Toss-up.

3. ______ I enjoy solitude.

True. Just not too much.

4. ______ I seem to care about wealth, fame, and status less than my peers.

My peers don't seem to care that much either. False?

5. ______ I dislike small talk, but I enjoy talking in depth about topics that matter to me.

Eh. Both.

6. ______ People tell me that I'm a good listener.

True.

7. ______ I'm not a big risk-taker.

False.

8. ______ I enjoy work that allows me to "dive in" with few interruptions.

True.

9. ______ I like to celebrate birthdays on a small scale, with only one or two close friends or family members.

Either.

10. ______ People describe me as "soft-spoken" or "mellow."

Dunno. I think so.

11. ______ I prefer not to show or discuss my work with others until it's finished.

False.

12. ______ I dislike conflict.

False. (I mean, I don't go looking for it, but I don't mind it much if it's necessary for whatever reason.)

13. ______ I do my best work on my own.

Both (sometimes alone, sometimes with a group, depends on the group).

14. ______I tend to think before I speak.

True.

15.______ I feel drained after being out and about, even if I've enjoyed myself.

Depends.

16. ______I often let calls go through to voice mail.

N/a.

17. ______If you had to choose, I'd prefer a weekend with absolutely nothing to do to one with too many things scheduled.

True.

18. ______ I don't enjoy multitasking.

Falsity false false. I multitask the livelong day.

19. ______ I can concentrate easily

True-ish. Depends again. (On what might be distracting me, on my mood, on what I'm working on, lots of things.)

20. ______ In classroom situations, I prefer lectures to seminars.

False.

So I seem to be not clearly one or the other, but somewhere in between.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Jan, 2012 03:25 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
1. True
2. True
3. True
4. True
5. True
6. People tell me that I'm a good listener.
I can't remember if anyone has mentioned suchly. But probably true.
7. True
8. True
9. True
10. People describe me as "soft-spoken" or "mellow."
You have to ask them. I suppose that's what most people will say.
11. Not applicable I suppose.
12. True
13. True
14. I guess false
15. False
16. I often let calls go through to voice mail.
Only when I'm avoiding bill collectors.
17. Somewhat false though I personally wouldn't for the most part schedule anything on the weekend. If someone else had suggested something to do then I would rather do that thing then nothing at all.
18. False.
19. I guess false
20. Oddly enough, I prefer seminars over the very impersonal big scale lecture
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Jan, 2012 03:36 pm
I had 14 Ts out of 20 and a couple I'm not sure about. So, I guess I'm a border-line introvert.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Jan, 2012 03:40 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
I had about 16 yeses...but it is no surprise I tend to think prior to speaking and acting.

I've been called a "thinker"
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Jan, 2012 04:40 pm
T= more or less true
F = more or less false
B = both, meaning I will prefer one way or the other sometimes
D = depends
D and B are pretty much the same; I chose one or the other to fit the sentence slightly better at the time.

1. ___B___ I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities.
2. ___B___ I often prefer to express myself in writing.
3. ___T__ I enjoy solitude.
4. ___F__ I seem to care about wealth, fame, and status less than my peers.
These aren't high needs among my peers.
5. ___F__ I dislike small talk, but I enjoy talking in depth about topics that matter to me.
6. ___T___ People tell me that I'm a good listener.
7. ___F___ I'm not a big risk-taker.
8. ___T___ I enjoy work that allows me to "dive in" with few interruptions.
9. ___B___ I like to celebrate birthdays on a small scale, with only one or two close friends or family members.
10. __D___ People describe me as "soft-spoken" or "mellow."
11. __F___ I prefer not to show or discuss my work with others until it's finished.
12. __D__ _I dislike conflict.
13. __B___ I do my best work on my own.
14. __D___I tend to think before I speak.
15.__ D___I feel drained after being out and about, even if I've enjoyed myself.
16. __T___I often let calls go through to voice mail.
17. __D___If you had to choose, I'd prefer a weekend with absolutely nothing to do to one with too many things scheduled.
18. __F___ I don't enjoy multitasking.
19. __T___ I can concentrate easily
20. __F___ In classroom situations, I prefer lectures to seminars.


Ugh, sloppy questionaire, in my opinion. Even questions 1 and 2 are a mess.

Cain's premise, though, re the nature of the current work place as a generalization, fits in at least somewhat with the view of the fellow, Matthew Crawford, who wrote the book I am reading and mostly liking so far, Shop Class as Soul Craft, an inquiry into the value of work.

My last job was being one of a two person firm - where we worked creatively individually and also worked creatively together. I don't think being introverted or outgoing had a thing to do with that.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Feb, 2012 03:08 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:


1. ______ I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities. Don't care one way or the other.

2. ______ I often prefer to express myself in writing. No.

3. ______ I enjoy solitude. Yes.

4. ______ I seem to care about wealth, fame, and status less than my peers. Don't know anybody who cares about this stuff.

5. ______ I dislike small talk, but I enjoy talking in depth about topics that matter to me. No. I like both.

6. ______ People tell me that I'm a good listener. Yes.

7. ______ I'm not a big risk-taker. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

8. ______ I enjoy work that allows me to "dive in" with few interruptions. I work at home alone. This is how I work.

9. ______ I like to celebrate birthdays on a small scale, with only one or two close friends or family members. No.

10. ______ People describe me as "soft-spoken" or "mellow." NO!

11. ______ I prefer not to show or discuss my work with others until it's finished. Don't care one way or the other.

12. ______ I dislike conflict. Yes.

13. ______ I do my best work on my own. See above comments.

14. ______I tend to think before I speak. No.

15.______ I feel drained after being out and about, even if I've enjoyed myself. Sometimes.

16. ______I often let calls go through to voice mail. Yes,

17. ______If you had to choose, I'd prefer a weekend with absolutely nothing to do to one with too many things scheduled. All I've got is weekends with nothing to do.

18. ______ I don't enjoy multitasking. True.

19. ______ I can concentrate easily. No.

20. ______ In classroom situations, I prefer lectures to seminars. Both are OK.



I've never thought of myself as an introvert. But I don't think that anyone is all one thing or another. I think people are more complex than that. And circumstances and situations can change preferences.
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Feb, 2012 01:17 pm
1. ______ I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities.
mostly true
2. ______ I often prefer to express myself in writing.
very true
3. ______ I enjoy solitude.
ohh YES!
4. ______ I seem to care about wealth, fame, and status less than my peers.
very true
5. ______ I dislike small talk, but I enjoy talking in depth about topics that matter to me.
true
6. ______ People tell me that I'm a good listener.
true
7. ______ I'm not a big risk-taker.
echhhhhh...I take risks without much of a 2d thought
8. ______ I enjoy work that allows me to "dive in" with few interruptions.
maybe so
9. ______ I like to celebrate birthdays on a small scale, with only one or two close friends or family members.
generally true
10. ______ People describe me as "soft-spoken" or "mellow."
I wouldn't know
11. ______ I prefer not to show or discuss my work with others until it's finished.
generally (but not universally) true
12. ______ I dislike conflict.
all too true
13. ______ I do my best work on my own.
true
14. ______I tend to think before I speak.
sometimes Smile
15.______ I feel drained after being out and about, even if I've enjoyed myself.
not true
16. ______I often let calls go through to voice mail.
very often
17. ______If you had to choose, I'd prefer a weekend with absolutely nothing to do to one with too many things scheduled.
depends
18. ______ I don't enjoy multitasking.
very, very true
19. ______ I can concentrate easily.
generally true
20. ______ In classroom situations, I prefer lectures to seminars.
FALSE
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