I have read hundreds of books that I “recommend” and one or two that I share often but can’t recall a business book so profound in its’ importance. In my many speaking sessions on the mechanics of networking I have found in the 50+ books I’ve read on the topic that “introverts do it better” but I have never been able to prove it. Until now.
Who is an introvert? Definitions vary but without them we wouldn’t have:
The theory of gravity
The theory of relativity
Orwell’s ‘1984’ and ‘Animal Farm’
The Cat in the Hat
Schindler’s List,’ ‘E.T.,’ and ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’
The author’s use of neuroscience and FMRI’s to understand the brain and how humans are built is nothing new to my library of “the mechanics of networking” – but this author traveled the globe got her hands dirtier than any business author I’ve ever read and what makes the truth of this book so valuable.
The author doesn’t read his books and snipe from the comfort of her home office no this introvert went to his $1000 session and scientifically dissected decades of business rantings from Tony and the armada he and his ilk have built.
But she doesn’t stop there. No, it’s on to Mordor. Yes, Harvard U.
On campus at Harvard she takes an objective eye to the way society has embraced the extrovert ideal and how one of the world’s leading institutions has become it’s cheerleader and chief marketing machine.
Examples of powerful influencers like the surprising story of Dale Carnegie, Gandhi, Theodore Geisel ( aka Dr. Suess who once admitted “In mass, children terrify me” ) and an in-depth example of Eleanor Rosevelt that I hope will inspire thousands more women to embrace their professional power as thinkers who can do, instead of doers who stop to think on occasion.
There is plenty of science, the value of which will help both introverts and extroverts who read the book. How to optimize your work, home and relationships – powerful stuff. It will help introverts who work in the professions of designation ( lawyers, accountants ) and are forced to network understand themselves better, and how to still be effective. To know that coming back from an enforced “holiday season” event having had just two meaningful business conversations is actually equal to the extrovert who powers through the room like a bee in a field of flowers, coming home with a stack of cards they will do nothing with and only follow up with two people anyway – Introverts don’t know their power. This book is a call to arms.
Although any extrovert who reads this book will find themselves outright despising the author ( I’m a 70 – 30 extrovert split so there was a little gnashing of teeth ) her attendance at a class for professionals from Asia on how to understand North American extroverts is beyond eye opening, you will consider that if you don’t change you will walk through life with the largest populations on earth thinking you are a fool.
Again, it feels like the author is taking the easy path in showing how extroverts were the cause of the great crash of 2008. But we have to learn from these events and there is no doubt her points are well researched and very valid, you’ll find yourself shaking your head, knowing she’s right.
One item I found has a huge business application is the myth of “collaborative office space”. I think cubicles are a business necessity, and I respect that – but I have this thing about claiming open concept offices allow more creativity. The author goes into detail about this, any manager or CEO who gives a damn about productivity will read this to increase revenue ( because I know how you really feel about “treating your people well” ). That being said, I couldn’t explain when I walked into the “Centre For Social Innovation” in Toronto that it felt so right, and the book explains how to do it right and now I know why it feels so right. Want to know? Buy the book.
What I highly respect is that the book ends up with a lot of practical discussions and tools on how to adjust our business life, help our schools, children even our spouses to consider the issues of sensitivity, introvert-needs and issues.
Sure there are so many places in the book I feel the author digging a little big, against no doubt the decades of tyranny of extroverts. Any extrovert who can get past this will find so much value in business, life and yes love.
I think we’re all on the spectrum between introvert and extrovert (the author has a free quiz you can take online!) . When I first met my wife, a science student she was clearly an introvert but she was in a highly social role in student government at University. I asked her about her philosophy of networking and she said “I’d rather be thought of a fool than to open my mouth and remove all doubt”, quoting Abraham Lincoln. Many in my network consider me a huge extrovert but I’m writing this on Saturday night, she’s out on a stage singing karaoke while I’m happily at home with all the lights off but one, with my favourite music and non-digital magazine – this book blog is a testament to how much time I spent quietly reading, recharging from my time spent as “Mr. Networking”.
Within the first week, this book instantly hit the New York times best seller list, was featured on TV, radio and in print around the business world. Susan recently joined the ranks of best selling disruptive thinkers interviewed by Dank Pink – worth a listen!
I think it will become the “How to Win Friends and Influence People” for what I call the thinking class, no seriously.
Sorry for the long post, but I think this book is that important. So!
Step 1: Watch or listen to the items below
Step 2: Buy the book. Read the book.
Step 3: Give it to a thinker in your life.
Join the Quiet revolution.
Susan’s 2012 record breaking TED talk!!