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10 mins

Susan Cain: It’s Okay to be Quiet — Transcript

Read the transcript of Caitlin's interview with the author of Quiet and Quiet Power, Susan Cain.
by Ines Bläsius | Sep 26 2019

Caitlin: Welcome to simplify. I’m Caitlin Schiller.

Ben: And I’m Benjamin Stoler.

Caitlin: Okay. I think I know the answer to this question, but, Ben, tell me how do you feel after two or three hours of party?

Ben: You think you know, I want to know what you think the answer is?

Caitlin: No, I’m not telling you.

Ben: I know, I know the question though. I’ve heard the interview and I know Susan Cain.

Caitlin: Okay. Well, but how do you feel after two or three hours at a party?

Ben: Depends on, I think the important part is, is it a party that I’m having a good time at?

Caitlin: The thing is, even if you are having a good time, if you still feel drained and tired afterwards, despite the fact that you love all the people, you love the environment then you’re probably an introvert.

Ben: Right.

Caitlin: So.

Ben: Segue to Susan Cain. That was awesome.

Caitlin: Beautiful. Today’s episode is with Susan Cain. She’s a writer and lecturer and she wrote a book in 2012. That is still phenomenal, still gold. The book is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

Ben: Yeah. I mean that book was like groundbreaking right? Really introduced a whole new, I think like a whole new vocabulary, but everyone at Blinkist loves this book. I think we have a high density of introverts versus extroverts.

Caitlin: Yeah, I think that’s true. Her book came onto my radar because I work at Blinkist. I have to say it took me until this year to read it and I am really really glad that I did it’s full of great studies and ideas about what it is to be an introvert and what an introvert superpowers are much like this interview actually.

Ben: Yeah. This is a fantastic interview. It’s like a Simplify, I think it’s a Simplify classic already. I’ll go out there and say it.

Caitlin: Ooh, Instant classic.

Ben: So what should people listen up for?

Caitlin: All right. Well, I think that the whole thing is actually pretty good if I do say so myself. Susan is fantastic. I also want to be more like Susan Cain, she has this incredible voice and this intelligent, generous way about the way she listens and responds which I think you’ll notice right away.

But apart from that the thing that really shocked me is that introverts and extroverts actually have differently wired nervous systems. On that basic biological level, we’re different. It’s so cool.

Ben: Yeah, you’re different but just like so many other things that we’ll talk about this season, I think, problems with the brain, emotional problems, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you that you see it or that you can pick it out in a crowd.

Caitlin: No, exactly because they’re acting a lot like I am a lot of time in public settings, but there are good reasons for it. We’ll hear about how they do that, too, and really focus in on introverts at work- what they’re amazing at and how you can take good care of your introvert colleagues.

Ben: Awesome. I think we should just get into the interview—really excited for people to hear this one actually.

Caitlin: Yeah, let’s do it.

Ben: Okay, don’t forget to stick around for The Bookend where we will make a reading list and you can check out more titles about this topic.

Caitlin: Yeah. Alright see you in The Bookend.

Caitlin Interviews Susan Cain

Caitlin: Hi, Susan. Thanks so much for joining me today. I’m so excited to talk with you. But before we dive in could you please introduce yourself the way that you like to be introduced?

Susan: So my name is Susan Cain. I am the author of a book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and also a companion book for teenagers called Quiet Power.

I am working on some forthcoming books on totally different topics and I also travel the world speaking to companies and to schools about how to harness the talents of the introverted half of their workforce and student body.

Caitlin: Very, very cool. When you started out on this journey to research and to spread the good word about what introverts are all about, what is the central misconception that you were trying to bust or was there one?

Susan: Yeah. So what I really wanted to do with Quiet was give introverts permission to actually be themselves. And when I use the word permission, I mean it in an external way and an internal way. So the external way is, you know permission from parents, permission from schools, permission from workplaces, to actually allow quieter people to have the freedom to spend their time the way they wish to spend it with the understanding that that actually benefits everyone. You know, you look at people like Bill Gates or Rosa Parks or JK Rowling or, you know, any number of leaders in Silicon Valley who are all introverts and these people are all contributing to the world because of their quiet and thoughtful temperaments, not in spite of it, but because of them.

So I really wrote Quiet to say come on guys, if we let all of these people actually use the strengths of their quiet and thoughtful way of being, this is going to benefit everybody instead of what we tend to do which is send the message that introverts should act more like extroverts if they want to contribute if they want to succeed.

So I wrote the book to send out that kind of external message but also an internal message to introverts who might be reading it that, you know, you should be able to feel right about who you are and as much as you can start spending your time, the way you would prefer to spend it instead of what I know many introverts to do, which is kind of like constantly be forcing themselves into social and other situations that they don’t actually particularly enjoy but there’s this gigantic word should that’s constantly hovering over their heads of like, you know, you should be wanting to go out every weekend night to noisy bars or whatever it happens to be. You know, you should like this. So, by God, you’re going to learn how to like it. Like, that’s the internal monologue that many introverts play in their heads instead of, this is how I really want to spend my time. I’m going to spend as much of it as I can in this way. I recognize that there are some, there’s some things that I’m going to need to do just like all humans that I don’t enjoy as much but I do them for the sake of work that I love or people that I love and so I’m going to do those things and then when they’re done, I’m going to come back and and recharge the way I like to and and that’s a much healthier internal narrative.

Caitlin: Could you identify, maybe, some surefire traits of an introvert?

Susan: I often suggest to people that like if you want a really quick way of knowing are you more of an introvert or an extrovert? Just ask yourself how you tend to feel after two or three hours at a party that you’re actually enjoying.

So, you know, it’s a party with people whose company you truly like, everything’s good. If you’re an extrovert, it’s as if you’ve got this internal battery that is being charged by the situation. That’s kind of a highly stimulating, you know, it’s probably noisy and lots of conversation going on at once and so on, your battery is getting charged. If you’re an introvert, no matter how socially skilled you are and no matter how much you’re enjoying the party, your battery is probably becoming drained by all those incoming stimuli and so after 3 hours or so, you’re starting to just wish you could go home and that’s as good a way of understanding it I think as any, because, what’s really happening is that introverts and extroverts have different nervous systems that react differently to stimulation. For introverts, we’re at our most alive and switched on, when there’s less happening, because that’s when our nervous system is feeling, kind of, in equilibrium.

The liability for us is when there’s too much happening, we, our nervous system feels overwhelmed. And for extroverts, it’s like it’s the opposite, you know, an extroverts nervous system doesn’t react as much so they’re feeling happiest when there’s a lot going on around them. And the liability there is that if things are too quiet, an extroverts going to start feeling sluggish and listless and may be unhappy.

Caitlin: Hmm. Could you just talk a little bit about how the nervous systems of introverts and extroverts are different.

Susan: Yeah, sure and and this has been studied for a long time now, so much so that we have longitudinal studies where scientists can track the same humans throughout their lives. They’ve started these studies with babies who are as young as four days old and you give them some kind of stimulant like sugar water to suck on and you find that the babies who salivate more in response to the sugar water, those are the babies who have more reactive nervous systems. So in general as those babies grow older, now you put them in when they’re two years old, you put them in a play group of kids they’ve never seen before. The same babies who salivated more are the ones who are more likely to freeze up and be the quote ‘slow to warm up’ kids in the group because their nervous systems are telling them, “hey, you know, there’s a lot of incoming stimuli here. This is all a little bit much. Let’s kind of chill out and figure out what’s going on before we plunge in.” So they’ll plunge in eventually, but they need their time, you know, and this will this pattern will continue throughout their lives. Now, you know, it’s easy to kind of exaggerated these things. It’s not as if it’s a crystal clear, one-on-one relationship, you know, “baby who salivated at four days old is going to be the most extreme introvert at age 40”, like it’s not exactly like that, but these things tend to, kind of proceed in patterns. And at the same time, of course, even if you were somebody who was born with the most sort of extreme version of this, we all acquire so many different skills and experiences as we grow, that get overlaid on top of our biological temperaments.

And, so we all evolved in lots of different ways, which is why, you know, I don’t know what you were like as a child, so I won’t talk about you specifically, but you know, you could be like a very shy and introverted child who ends up becoming an actor or something like that because you’re acquiring the skills and the interests that are overlaying on top of that, and then they all get sort of smushed up together. But, these things do shape our lives in profound ways at the same time.

Caitlin: Mmm. So it sounds like children who are, who have sort of a more introverted temperament are just more sensitive to stimuli than extroverts. Would that be accurate?

Susan: Yeah. Yeah, that would be accurate.

Caitlin: One of the things that you talked about in your book is that introverts tend to really enjoy making one-on-one connections in a quieter way. I feel like I have a lot of those with other introverts and those other introverts also tend to be, not necessarily heavier social drinkers, but really want to have a glass of wine or a beer at a party in order to be comfortable at the party. Is that part because alcohol sort of deadens the senses in some ways or reactivity?

Could that be why introverts want to have a beer or two before they really get into the fray?

Susan: Oh, that’s so interesting. Yeah, you know, so that Professor Brian Little, who I write about a lot in my book, says that when somebody offers you a beer at a party, they’re really saying “hi, have a glass of extroversion”.

Yeah, I think it really does work that way, and okay, so this is going to now get us into the distinction between shyness and introversion. Because, shyness is much more about the fear of social judgment and that glass of beer is doing two things. You know, if you’re feeling kind of shy, it’s obviously removing the anxious self-talk in your head the way alcohol just does, it just makes it go away. So that’s one reason, I think, that many people who might be calling themselves introverts, but actually are really shy would be drinking at a party. And yeah, I think in general it’s just removing all those feelings of overstimulation.

Caitlin: Mmm-hmm. Yeah, that’s I guess that’s neither here nor there but interesting.

Susan: Yeah, I think it’s actually here and there, because it’s it comes up a lot for many introverts, and while what I’m about to say does not apply to most, I actually have talked with addiction counselors and so on who have told me that some of the alcoholics who they treat are actually introverts who had learned to kind of, “self-medicate” in social situations using alcohol and I think it’s kind of like it’s just one less noted symptom of what an extroverted culture we live in, that there are people who feel the need to overuse alcohol in order to adapt to it.

Midroll

Caitlin: So, whether you consider yourself more of an introvert or an extrovert, we all need a little quiet time to organize our thoughts and to gear up for the day. And you know what’s great for those moments? You guessed it, didn’t you? Yep, it is Blinkist. So Blinkist is an app that gives you a sneak peek into a whole world of great non-fiction books, just right for getting that little pop of inspiration in the morning. At Blinkist, a bunch of real readers, like me and Ben, distilled the key ideas from today’s best non-fiction books, including Susan Cain’s book Quiet. We put them into audio or text pieces, that it takes just about 15 minutes to whiz through. You’ll get the most important insights in, oh, about one sixteenth of the time it would take you to read a whole book, which leaves you plenty more time to do the things that really matter to you.
As with most things, it’s better if you just try it out for yourself. So go to Blinkist.com/simplify tap on ‘Try Blinkist’, and you can try it for free for 14 days by using the voucher code ‘quiet‘. That’s quiet, q-u-i-e-t. Try it out. Let me know what you think. I really hope you love it. All right, now back to the wonderful Susan Cain.

Interview Contd.

Caitlin: So then why are we tempted to say, “hi, here, have a glass of extroversion”. What is that about? Where did that come from?

Susan: Well, I mean you can trace it into our history to the beginning of the 20th century, and I talked about this a little bit in the book. So, in the 19th century, we lived in what historians call a ‘culture of character’ where everything depended much more on who you really were as a person. You know, one way of evaluating somebody was like, how do they behave when no one’s looking? You know, how do they act then? And then, with the turn of the 20th century, we suddenly had people moving out of the small towns in which they had lived all their lives, with a small group of people who really knew their their inner worth and they’re now moving out into the cities, they’re living among strangers, increasingly their livelihood now depends on being able to make a really good first impression in a job interview and so now we’re in what historians call, the ‘culture of personality’ where what really matters is how charismatic are you? How likable? How assertive? And at the same time, you now have the rise of movies and so suddenly you have these larger-than-life movie stars who are kind of demonstrating for you every weekend, what is the kind of social figure that you should be cutting in society. And that’s when when all of this really sort of started to accelerate into a kind of perfect storm. And we’ve kind of been living with the heritage of that ‘culture of personality’ for the last one hundred twenty years or so.

Caitlin: We’ve talked about how extroverts are, sort of, there’s this bias toward extroversion. Are there areas of life in which introverts really have the advantage?

Susan: Oh sure. So I mean anytime you are doing the kind of work for one thing where it requires getting into a state of flow and really focusing. It’s not to say extroverts can’t do that too, of course they do but it’s easier for introverts to tolerate or even enjoy the solitude that that kind of work often requires and you know, a lot of our best work these days is like that. You know, Cal Newport talks about the importance of deep work and how it’s becoming an increasingly scarce commodity because we’re living in this world now where, where no one really ever pays attention, right, because of our cell phones.

And so we’re increasingly losing the ability to actually sit down and focus on something for a sustained period of time, but if you are somebody who just by nature, wants to be in a place where you’re kind of shutting out too many incoming stimuli, it’s so much easier to get into that zone. So that’s one gigantic area.

Another one is, leadership, paradoxically. I know this always surprises people. There’s actually been a number of studies finding that introverted leaders deliver as good and sometimes better outcomes than extroverted leaders do and they’re usually getting their in a really different way. They do their best when they’ve got employees who are more proactive to start with but they’re really good at letting those proactive employees run with their ideas and encouraging people to do that.

They’re great at doing the deep listening that good leadership requires to really figure out what’s going on. They tend to be really prudent decision makers so introverts by their nature deliberate more before making decisions. So once they make the decision, they’ve made it, but they don’t tend to be as impulsive about, “Yeah, let’s go in this direction or that direction” and you know, it’s funny even as I hear myself telling you all of this, I think that all of it sounds less glamorous than the charismatic mood of leadership that we tend to lionize on magazine covers, but although we’re a society that I think pays too much respect pretty much to glamour there’s a lot of value that comes outside that more glamorous narrative, and like there was one study that looked at the performance of CEOs and found that the introverted CEOs were much more likely than or not much more likely, I think they were somewhat more likely than the extroverted CEOs to be thought well of by their Boards of Directors for example, and to be delivering really good results.

So, you know, we don’t always see this and the extroverted CEOs tend to get paid more but the introverted leaders are really doing a great job. So yeah, this comes in so many different ways. I will also say, you know, I get called into a lot of companies where they have big creative workforces, whether it’s graphic designers or filmmakers or whatever and those creative teams tend to be overwhelmingly staffed by introverts and they’re often working in companies where the corporate culture is very extroverted and yet the kind of creative lifeblood of what that company is producing is produced by introverts who are often feeling under valued for who they actually are. So I actually see that as a huge opportunity because, you know, these companies with just by making a few easy tweaks and adjusting their DNA of how they think about their people, can, I believe, unlock a huge amount of contribution that they’re not there yet with.

Caitlin: Wow. Do you mind sharing what some of those tweaks might be?

Susan: Yeah sure. I mean so one of them has to do with maybe this isn’t such a tweak but office space, you know, we have moved in recent years increasingly to these kind of radically open offices that many people in general and introverts in particular, are uncomfortable with and there’s now like a huge mountain of studies showing that people are actually less productive in these spaces because they can’t focus. They can’t get their work done and they’re feeling kind of emotionally, in a state of overwhelm, which is not really good for anybody.

So that’s one way of looking at it. Another thing is is just sort of team by team to have people sit down with their teams and have everybody identify who they are and figure out what are the ways in which we could work together better knowing each other’s temperaments. You know it like if you know that one person on the team really does their best work when they can have a few hours at a time, uninterrupted, where there are going to be meetings and they can get into a state of flow and another person who’s more extroverted maybe really needs to check in regularly with their colleagues to know what everybody’s doing and to get feedback on the project that they’re working on. Okay, if you’ve just created an honest environment where each of those two people can say, can talk about those needs, it’s actually not that hard to negotiate some team protocols that would accommodate both of those people, you know, and the one hand maybe you say, okay, we’re not going to set up meetings on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, those are going to be free spaces where everybody knows they can put their head down and maybe work for the more extroverted person. We’re going to set up regular check-in times where everybody gets to offer feedback to each other or whatever.

You know, I’m just making those examples up. Although I’m making them up based on situations I hear about a lot. But the point is, that like if you can if you create an environment where people can talk about this stuff in a way where it’s no big deal and even get to the point where you’re teasing each other affectionately about your differences, that’s when you can really negotiate the small tweaks that will make a huge difference.

Caitlin: Mmm-hmm. It doesn’t sound that radical or crazy.

Susan: I know, I know.

Caitlin: It does require a lot of, a lot of sensitivity and willingness to be flexible though, which I think that gets really lost and bigger businesses because everybody’s just so busy trying to execute on tasks and make money that that taking time to have a conversation about individual working styles and how everybody’s needs can be met really gets shoved under the rug.

Susan: It does except you know, this is about making money like I mean, there’s human reasons to do it. But even if you didn’t care a whit about the human reasons, if you care about making money, you would want to be doing this.

Caitlin: Sure.

Susan: Yeah, and I must say I really do see companies more and more really grasping this I mean I go in and I talk to so many companies about this stuff and they get it, you know, they get it like if you’ve got half of your workforce that’s one way and half of your workforce that’s the other way, why would you not want to make the small changes that will make everyone more productive? And you know, and another thing that I’ve done with companies that I’ve found really impactful, often after I give a talk, I will invite onto the stage with me one of the leaders of the company whether it’s the CEO or some other well respected person who identifies as an introvert, and I will sit down and do a kind of fireside chat interview with that person up on stage and very often, you know, the people of the company people in the audience are hearing for the first time that their boss is an introvert. Like often they have no idea, because it’s one of those people who’s been passing and that revelation alone is incredibly powerful, but then you know, there’s also the conversation of like well, how is their introversion contributing to all the things that this person’s doing for us and for our company and what are the places where it’s been a struggle?

And how has this person overcome or worked with those struggles and you know that can be incredibly meaningful to the people listening but what it also does is it shifts the culture so that this conversation now becomes part of what’s socially acceptable to talk about and that goes a really long way.

Caitlin: Absolutely. One of the things that I found super interesting in Quiet, I guess relates to this it relates to this idea of “passing” and it’s the idea of Free Trait Theory and finding your core personal projects. Can you talk a little bit about what Free Trait Theory is and why it’s really important for introverts?

Susan: Yeah, sure. Okay. So first I have to talk to you about Brian Little.

Caitlin: Great. He is so compelling.

Susan: I love him. So he’s this amazing personality psychology professor. We have to know about him. He’s a very strong introvert. He is an amazing amazing public speaker. He’s always giving talks to his students and to you know, just talks around the world, you know, and he’s so great and gives so much from the stage and usually gets a standing ovation when he’s done. And because he’s such an introvert when he comes off the stage, he feels like he has to run off to the nearest restroom so that he can just hide and not be besieged by people and just be able to recharge. So this is the kind of person he is and these are the kinds of life experiences he had. And because of this he developed this field of psychology called Free Trait Theory which basically says that we all have what he calls our core personal projects. And these are the things that we do in our lives that really matter to us, you know, like the work that we really love or matters, the people who we love best. And he says that in the service of those core personal projects we can and we should act out of character.

So if you’re an introvert, you should be willing for those core personal projects, to act more extroverted if that’s what’s needed, and vice versa. If you’re an extrovert, you know, you might sometimes need to act more introverted. But also for other personality styles, like if you’re more conflict avoidant person let’s say, you might sometimes have to really be as assertive as you can. If you’re more disagreeable, you might have to sometimes tone it down for the sake of people who find your way of being off putting. You know, all these different adjustments that we all should be making but the key is that you’re not just making them all the time, you’re making them hopefully strategically when it really matters and then, after you’ve done, you’re done, and after you’ve spent a day stretching and it’s been uncomfortable for you, you should be seeking what he calls a restorative niche, you know, which is the place where were you go to recharge your energy and be who you really are. You know, so in his case he would run off to the restroom for his restorative niche when after his standing ovation was done.

Caitlin: I guess restorative properties vary depending on restroom.

Susan: That’s true. That’s true. So yeah, you know, I think that this is a hugely empowering way of looking at things because it’s telling us that it doesn’t really matter who you are. You know, what your various personality types or like, but you can stretch beyond them when you need to and you don’t need to do it all the time.

So, those two things, and then he also talks about the need for free trade agreements, which is kind of like what I was talking about of what teams can do with each other, you know, if everybody sits down and and acknowledges all the different places where their team members have to stretch uncomfortably beyond their natural way of being, that’s where you can kind of work out an agreement that says, “okay, I know that you’re stretching for me. So here’s what I’m going to do to give you the restorative niches you need and vice versa”.

Caitlin: If there were one central idea that you’d like to leave people with about this idea of introversion and how introverts can better survive in the world or thrive in the world what would that be?

Susan: I guess the central idea is really that when you look around at all the introverts who are contributing to the world in all kinds of ways, you know, some of them are famous and some of them not so they’re doing it because of who they are and not in spite of who they are and the best way of making that happen is by making a kind of emotional and mental shift of introverts giving themselves the permission to be who they are and cultures also allowing that permission. And I will say, you know people often I think will hear this message as me saying, well, that means you’re kind of giving introverts permission to, to check out of the various responsibilities that that people have nowadays, you know showing up in a meeting or whatever it happens to be, and I’m actually saying the opposite. I really do believe in people stepping outside of their comfort zones, but the magic thing that I have heard over and over again is that the more introverts feel entitled to be who they are and proud of being who they are the more paradoxically successful and comfortable they are performing outward-facing jobs, you know, so if you, like, I hear this all the time. You show up for a job interview. The difference between showing up feeling, you know, completely like I have to pretend to be somebody who I’m not versus I know who I am and I know what its powers are and I’m going to step outside my comfort zone to step things up a little bit for the sake of this interview, but I’m doing it because of all that I have to contribute because of who I really am. Those are profoundly different mindsets. And they shape our lives and really powerful ways.

Caitlin: Susan Cain, thank you so much for joining me today. It’s been such a pleasure to speak with you.

Susan: You are so welcome. I love talking to you and I wish you all the best.

Caitlin: Thank you so much. All right. Take care.

The Bookend

Ben: Welcome to the book end where we end with books.

Caitlin: Ta Da! All right. Here we are. So what’d you think? Susan Cain, pretty amazing.

Ben: I liked it a lot. I never told you what I would do after two or three hours-

Caitlin: you didn’t!

Ben: At a party.

Caitlin: That’s right.

Ben: What I wanted to say was the fact that she added a party that you like being at makes a difference and I think that I would feel energized. I think I do show an extroverted preference and my Myers Briggs Test actually confirm that.

Caitlin: Yeah, what are you Ben? Tell the people.

Ben: Turns out I’m a lot more extroverted than I would have thought. According to a test.

Caitlin: Lay those four letters on us.

Ben: No, I’m not gonna, we don’t have to talk about the whole thing.
But I think that I think as a little bit of background the extroversion and introversion preferences are important because I think some people think I’m quiet, therefore I’m introverted. And actually these terms kind of entered our culture from Jung, from Carl Gustav Jung, as a preference. Like how do you prefer to deal with people and things. It’s not necessarily how do you act all the time.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ben: And so it’s a scale like, do you prefer to be with people to recharge or do you prefer to be at home?

Caitlin: Mmm-hmm.

Ben: And I think that that’s that’s pretty important context to put this in. It’s not black and white.

Caitlin: Absolutely, especially because you know, you always ask me, what is the thing that I really remember what really stuck out to me, and for me the thing that was probably the most fascinating was this idea of the Free Trade Agreement which states basically just that you can be an introvert but you can also be an incredible public speaker and up there on the circuit all the time, talking about your work, helping people, educating, because you’ve decided that doing that work is your core personal project. So you’re exercising the freedom to act more like an extrovert in the service of work that matters to you which explains a lot why, you know, some people who are incredibly charismatic, some celebrities, actors, actually, really seem like they are crazy, extroverted, you know, out-there people but really they are acting in the service of their core personal project and they need some time to recharge after probably.

Ben: Yeah, should we go into the books?

Caitlin: Yeah, let’s do it. So, you know how Susan Cain talks about the shift from the culture of character to the culture personality.

Ben: Yeah.

Caitlin: This transition, well, you can trace the culture of Personality, this extrovert ideal, back to the beginning of the 20th century, when people started to move away from their communities and into big cities. So they’re moving away from the people who had known them all of their lives who knew their inner worth really in their whole history. And for the first time they’re living among strangers for the first time and their success and even their survival hinges on making a good first impression. So then what begins to matter even more is how charismatic a person is, how likable and how assertive they are and you know who I think of when I think of that phenomenon.

Ben: That guy from Mad Men.

Caitlin: I wish that all of you can see the blank look that Ben just treated me to. Dale Carnegie, the guy who wrote the original self-help book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. He wrote it 1936, it traces back to exactly what Susan Cain was talking about. It’s still got some pretty good, solid tips and tricks in there. People often refer to it as the only self-help book you’ll ever need. So, check it out if you haven’t yet.

Ben: Yeah, it’s worth, I mean it’s worth looking through.

Caitlin: It’s worth a look.

Ben: Or check out the Blinks. You have another book?

Caitlin: I do have one more. It is called The Personality Brokers by Merve Emre. I hope that’s right. I think it’s Merve. So this one is a pretty deep dive into the shocking history of the Myers-Briggs type indicator which you just talked about.

Ben: Shocking.

Caitlin: It is pretty shocking. Yeah, get this. So, it was just sort of whipped up a century ago by two fiction writers, a mother and her daughter. There isn’t any real scientific basis for it though both mom and her daughter were amateur psychoanalysts, and it was really just designed to bring Jungian psychology to the masses. It took on a life of its own and now it’s everywhere from boardroom to school room. So yeah, it’s super interesting. I haven’t read it yet. I would really like to it’s on my list.

Ben: Interesting.

Caitlin: Yeah, which isn’t to say that it’s you know, Myers-Briggs is always complete crap, but its beginnings are kind of interesting and a little sorted.

Ben: No. It’s interesting to me because I just like literally two days ago got my MBTI results for the first time and I was at a workshop and the facilitator told us a little bit about the history and agreed, I mean, there’s hundreds of personality tests out there, right? And if anyone wants to try to undo the 16, what’s it called 16 Personalities? That one’s based on the Myers-Briggs and it’s free online, but it brings me into the book that I wanted to recommend.

Caitlin: Okay!

Ben: So, mine is called The Introverted Leader by Jennifer Kahnweiler, you know this book?

Caitlin: Nope.

Ben: I think it was published a little bit before, a few years before Susan Cain’s book, but the subtitle is Building on Your Quiet Strength. Which I think is interesting. This word ‘quiet’ shows up in both Cain’s and Kahnweiler’s books. So there’s an example, so the book is about introverted leaders. Why leaders don’t have to be these brash, bold, loud people. In fact, why those are sometimes least effective as Cain talks about in the interview. There’s one example, you know how introverts can network, an important thing that a leader should do. Well, you can do it online as an introvert for example, and then you have more time to think about your response. You don’t have to do it face-to-face. She’s just says there’s nothing about introversion that should prevent someone from being a leader, right? Were you gonna say something?

Caitlin: No, I just made a face because I hate networking.

Ben: Oh, yeah. No, that’s fair. But maybe there’s a way to do it that you would find okay.

Caitlin: Yeah. I will instant message her.

Ben: Right, in 1999, for example.

Caitlin: Uh-huh. All right, so. That wraps it up.

Ben: Great episode today.

Caitlin: Yeah. Thanks. You too Ben, nice work. All right. So, Simplify was produced by me, Caitlin Schiller, Benjamin Stoler and Florian Tippe.

Ben: Yeah, if you enjoyed this episode of Simplify, please do consider rating it, leave us a little review in apple podcasts. It helps other people find us and it makes our day! And if you don’t know Caitlin and I work at Blinkist where this is being recorded. Blinkist is an app, but you can also find us on the web or an Android store or an iOS store. We basically take the key insights from the world’s best non-fiction books and distill them into these little capsules that you can read or listen to in like 15-20 minutes-ish.

So I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you liked this interview, you can go find Susan Cain’s books. Definitely Quiet is on there, and all the books that we discussed are also on there.

Caitlin: Great. There’s a link up at the top of the Simplify home page. It says try Blinkist. So that’s what you want to do- click on ‘try Blinkist’ or tap on ‘try Blinkist’ and type in the code ‘introvert’ and then you got 14 days of free Blinkist. Pretty good. All right, and if you want to tell us about what you thought about this interview or recommend a book or anything else, we are on Twitter. I am @CaitlinSchiller and Ben is @bsto and you can email all of us at podcast@blinkist.com.

Ben: Cool. So we’ll be back with more Simplify soon. Next week.

Caitlin: Sounds great.

Ben: Until then checkin’ out.

Caitlin: Checkin’ out!

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