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Shouting About Quiet

by John on 03/18/2013



Sorry, That was my extrovert side taking over.

My introvert side will quietly and thoughtfully continue this book review about “Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain.

Actually this is a very good book.  I highly recommend it.

Who should read this?  Really, almost everyone should.

  • Parents
  • Teachers
  • Anyone who hires people
  • Anyone who has relationships with other people — especially if you’re starting a new relationship. 
  • If you are a hermit for 100% of the time, you might want to skip it.

Here are my take-aways:

  • This is a self-help book without intending to be one.  It’s ironic since most self-help books help the author, not the reader.  Not here.  Cain has a mountain of useful tips on all your interpersonal relationships and she is not up-selling anything.
  • Besides being useful and helpful, Cain writes with a lot of common sense and love.  This is a book that cares about people.
  • You will change the way you look at people – even your family.
  • This should be required reading for teachers and parents.
  • Cain uses a lot of academic and psychological studies.  But she combines those results with relevant and interesting experiences.  She blurs the line a bit that might make some academic purists a little annoyed.  But she explains her definitions for you so it’s not as clinical.  For example, she uses the spelling extrovert whereas most clinic folk would use extravert.
  • Extroverts have been running the U.S. throughout most of the 20th Century.  Loud mouths get more attention and show off more confidence.  Look at our elected officials.  You can’t run for political office unless you have the ability to raise money.  That means have the balls to ask people for money.  Introverts would be skittish.
  • However, I think the 2012 presidential election was between two introverts.  I think, among other things, Obama was able to call up his inner extrovert better than Romney.
  • Although each of us probably falls into one category or another, some of us have both extrovert and introvert in us.  Cain argues that we need to cultivate the other side of our personality that is not dominant.  (More on how I did this on TV later in this post.)
  • Cain tells us the domination of the extroverts really started around the 1920s when, as she says, we went from a culture of character to a culture of personality.  The Great Gatsby is actually a good character profile in introverts and extroverts.  Gatsby was the extrovert; Nick the introvert.  Some would say together this was the personality of F. Scott Fitzgerald himself.
  • This lack of balance – a heavily extrovert America — could probably be blamed for the economic crisis for over-selling financial crap to many of us.
  • Extrovert CEOs run companies that don’t perform as well, but these CEOs have higher salaries.  Ever wonder why someone like Tony Robbins makes billions and yet his followers don’t.
  • Most of the extroverts on TV are wrong about their predictions.  Cue the Fox News and CNBC music.
  • Introverts are making a comeback.  Too many extroverts have caused the problems we face today.  People are looking for cautious, well-researched, and deep-meaning individuals in their lives.  The internet communications is helping that.

So what am I?

I am a strong introvert.  I took the test in the book.  I answered nearly all 20 questions as an introvert.

But wait I’m in television.

True, but the television part of being on television was my least favorite.  The best part for me: writing, researching, producing a show with a great bunch of like-minded co-workers.

Like every introvert needs to develop his or her extrovert side to succeed, I worked hard at being an on-air personality.

Still, I became an on-air personality while only slightly compromising my introvert needs.  I always wanted to stand for on-air credibility.  That’s why you see me doing very little comedy (or intended comedy) and if I am funny I will try to be self-deprecating.

In addition, my introvert side monitored my extrovert side.  My introvert side realized that the less you are in front of a camera, the more successful you.  Conversely, the more on-camera you are the bigger chance you will say or do something stupid you will regret.

As a result, I spend time preparing for my on-camera performances.  I write and re-write everything, so it doesn’t waste anyone’s time.

My credo at Real TV was that I played Ed McMahon to the video’s Johnny Carson.  And it worked.

What didn’t work for me was post-Real TV.  The reality shows became wilder and they needed wilder TV hosts or no TV hosts at all.  I couldn’t and wouldn’t change.

In addition, being on TV required me to do a lot of public appearances and events with small talk.  I eventually learned to like these gatherings.  However, when they were done, I would hibernate.  I can remember telling Teri at times, “All I want is to lock ourselves in a room for a weekend and do nothing.”

Which is what I am going to do now since I have given you a good book to read.


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