Reading guide for Quiet by Susan Cain

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The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

by Susan Cain

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  • First Published:
    Jan 2012, 352 pages
    Jan 2013, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Stacey Brownlie

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About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!


At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "Quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society?from van Gogh's sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.

Questions and Topics for Discussion

  1. Based on the quiz in the book, do you think you're an introvert, an extrovert, or an ambivert? Are you an introvert in some situations and an extrovert in others?
  2. What about the important people in your lives—your partner, your friends, your kids?
  3. Which parts of Quiet resonated most strongly with you? Were there parts you disagreed with—and if so, why?
  4. Can you think of a time in your life when being an introvert proved to be an advantage?
  5. Who are your favorite introverted role models?
  6. Do you agree with the author that introverts can be good leaders? What role do you think charisma plays in leadership? Can introverts be charismatic?
  7. If you're an introvert, what do you find most challenging about working with extroverts?
  8. If you're an extrovert, what do you find most challenging about working with introverts?
  9. Quiet explains how Western society evolved from a Culture of Character to a Culture of Personality. Are there enclaves in our society where a Culture of Character still holds sway? What would a twenty-first-century Culture of Character look like?
  10. Quiet talks about the New Groupthink, the value system holding that creativity and productivity emerge from group work rather than individual thought. Have you experienced this in your own workplace?
  11. Do you think your job suits your temperament? If not, what could you do to change things?
  12. If you have children, how does your temperament compare to theirs? How do you handle areas in which you're not temperamentally compatible?
  13. If you're in a relationship, how does your temperament compare to that of your partner? How do you handle areas in which you're not compatible?
  14. Do you enjoy social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and do you think this has something to do with your temperament?
  15. Quiet talks about "restorative niches," the places introverts go or the things they do to recharge their batteries. What are your favorite restorative niches?
  16. Susan Cain calls for a Quiet Revolution. Would you like to see this kind of a movement take place, and if so, what is the number-one change you'd like to see happen?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Broadway Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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