Our world prizes extroverts — but Susan Cain makes a case for the quiet and contemplative.

Why you should listen

Susan Cain is a former corporate lawyer and negotiations consultant -- and a self-described introvert. At least one-third of the people we know are introverts, notes Cain in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Although our culture undervalues them dramatically, introverts have made some of the great contributions to society – from Chopin's nocturnes to the invention of the personal computer to Gandhi’s transformative leadership. Cain argues that we design our schools, workplaces, and religious institutions for extroverts, and that this bias creates a waste of talent, energy, and happiness. Based on intensive research in psychology and neurobiology and on prolific interviews, she also explains why introverts are capable of great love and great achievement, not in spite of their temperaments -- but because of them.

How did Susan write her talk (in a week)? Watch this interview >>

What others say

“I prefer listening to talking, reading to socializing … I like to think before I speak (softly).” — Susan Cain

Susan Cain’s TED talk

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