Episode #317: Susan Cain – The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking

Susan Cain is the author of the world-wide bestseller Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking, which has been translated into 40 languages, is in its seventh year on the New York Times best seller list, and was named the #1 best book of the year by Fast Company magazine, which also named Cain one of its Most Creative People in Business. LinkedIn named her the 6th Top Influencer in the world. Her writing has appeared in the The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. Her record-smashing TED talk has been viewed over 20 million times and was named by Bill Gates one of his all-time favorite talks. Cain has also spoken at Microsoft, Google, the U.S. Treasury, the S.E.C., Harvard, Yale, West Point and the US Naval Academy. She received Harvard Law School’s Celebration Award for Thought Leadership, the Toastmasters International Golden Gavel Award for Communication and Leadership, and was named one of the world’s top 50 Leadership and Management Experts by Inc. Magazine. She is an honors graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School.

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“The point is we need both ways of being.  There’s no way to run a company well without both.  The best teams are made up of introverts and extroverts.”

Show Notes:

  • Leaders who sustain excellence =
    • Understand that soft is hard and hard is soft.  Soft skills = essential skills.  They are hard, but essential to develop.
  • Leaders in corporate America surprise Susan
    • She expected a lot of resistance from others, but her ideas have been embraced.
  • The responsibility Susan feels for making “introverting so hard” a cool thing to say… It wasn’t before her book.
    • People would hide the fact they were an introvert prior to Quiet being published and/or lie on personality tests
  • The point is not to say that you should want to be an introvert or an extrovert — We need both.
  • Charisma = magic
    • “The wind howls but the mountain remains still.”  We moved from being –> To being a culture of personality.
  • Susan’s roots: A Harvard educated lawyer
    • Building a Negotiation Consulting business after leaving the corporate world
  • How can an introvert be a good negotiator?
    • The best negotiators are the ones who do their homework
    • Present in a neutral way, calm, collected, ask questions, try to learn, better understand the other person’s position
  • Romantic relationships – An extrovert and introvert getting married — “you must really understand the other person’s preferences are legitimate.”
  • When should you act more extroverted than you are?
    • We should all step outside of our comfort zones, but be intentional about it.  An introvert who is a public speaker (like Susan) must do this to share the message with groups of people. What are your core projects?  When in service of others, do it.
    • Restorative niches –> After a keynote (for an introvert), go to your hotel room and relax alone (to restore energy expended speaking)
  • Why is cool overrated?
    • In the Enron scandal, Vince Kaminski was the “uncool introverted nerd.”  He was the unsung hero in the scandal.  He figured out what was happening in advance.  They told him, “You’re like the police and we don’t like that.”
  • The process to sell the proposal for Quiet:
    • Started writing it in 2005.
    • Agent shopped it an received 12 offers –> A bidding frenzy
    • The importance of writing the “first crappy draft.”
      • Take the feedback as a gift
    • Most successful authors have had a lot of help
  • Use the “Get To Know You Document
  • Why joining The Learning Leader Circle is a good idea

“The wind howls but the mountain remains still.”

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