What is it like to be an introvert in a world that seems to be outgoing and extraverted? Could it be painful? Is the introvert given the message that she or he is somehow not living up to societal standards? Is it wrong or shameful to be introverted?

Well known introverts include Chopin, Gandhi and Mother Teresa people manifesting great love and wisdom, not in spite of their introversion but because of it! As you watch, think about the introverts in your life; do Susan Cain’s words ring true?

Who is she:

Susan Cain is an attorney who wrote: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”.

This talk has had about 12.5 million views and Bill Gates says that it is his favorite talk. She starts with her memory of summer camp where she got the message that it was not OK to be a quiet, book loving kid. She was expected to be “Rowdy”, not mellow and for a long time she went along with the charade.

Why should you view:

With about 130 million people in the United States who self identify as introverted, it is important to understand this population, their temperament and characteristics.

She gives three concrete calls to action to aid others in understanding, treasuring and celebrating the contributions of introverts.

Discussion questions:

  1. She makes the point that approximately 1/3 of the population is introverted; what are the characteristics of introversion and how does it differ from shyness?
  2. What are you – an introvert, or an extravert or someone in the middle? If you are an introvert has it been a handicap? Describe.
  3. What is your preferred level of arousal (check the information on the Yerkes-Dobson law in the chapter on Motivation). Do you believe that she is correct when she says that the predominant arousal style in the United States is high stimulation? Please cite evidence to support your conclusion.
  4. What is the relationship between introversion and creativity?
  5. What are some group dynamics that lead to bad results when trying to discover truly great creative responses to problems? Have you ever experienced this in your own life? How did it work out?
  6. What does she think would be the consequences of empowering introverts, instead of excluding them?

Making connections:

Here is a link to a National Public Radio story about Susan Cain’s book:

The power of introverts with Susan Cain


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