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The Power of Introverts


Susan Cain is a writer, lecturer and author leading a social revolutions that’s showing people that looking inward is a virtue to a problem.

Current Work

Susan is the author of the bestsellers Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts, and 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 30 million times on and YouTube combined, and was named by Bill Gates one of his all-time favorite talks.

She has also spoken at Microsoft, Google, the U.S. Treasury, the S.E.C., Harvard, Yale, West Point and the US Naval Academy.

Susan has partnered with Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant and Dan Pink to launch the Next Big Idea Book Club; they donate all their proceeds to children’s literacy programs.

Previous Experience

Awards and Accolades: 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.

Talking Points

Quiet Leadership: How to Harness the Strengths of Introverts to Change How We Work, Lead, Learn, and Innovate

Did you know introverted leaders often deliver better results than extroverted leaders do? That the most spectacularly creative people tend to be introverts? That the most innovative thinking happens alone and not in teams? One of the central challenges of any business is to bring out the best in its employees. Yet when it comes to introverts-who make up a third to a half of the workforce-our leadership strategy mainly consists of asking them to act like extroverts. This is a serious waste of talent and energy.

In her enlightening, relatable, and practical talks, Susan Cain shows us that introverts think and work in ways that are crucial to the survival of today’s organizations. How can you structure your organization so that the best ideas-rather than those of the most vocal and assertive people-dominate? How do introverts and extroverts solve problems and evaluate risk differently? What do introverts know about creativity that the rest of us should learn? Drawing on her original research and the latest in neuroscience and psychology, Susan will radically change your view of the best ways to develop leaders, manage teams, make smart hires, and stimulate innovation.

A Quiet Revolution: Changing How We Work, Lead and Innovate

Did you know that many of the most effective business and political leaders possess traits typically associated with introverts (e.g., “soft-spoken,” “quiet,” “thoughtful”) Did you know that some of our most creative and innovative moments come during times of solitary introspection, as opposed to in group or team settings? As todays leaders are all too aware, one of the central challenges of any business is to bring out the best in its employees-employees of vast and varied personality types and abilities. This is true regardless of institution-military, government, private or public. Drawing on years of research and the latest in neuroscience and psychology, Susan Cain-best-selling author, Co-Founder of Quiet Revolution, and renowned expert in leadership and innovation-delivers an enlightening, relatable and practical presentation that will radically change your view of the best way to develop leaders, manage teams, make smart hires and stimulate innovation.

Quiet Kids: How Our Education System Can Teach Introverted Students

A central challenge of any educational system is to bring out the best in all its students. This means providing a robust learning experience for both introverted and extroverted children. Yet too often with introverts-who comprise nearly a half of every classroom-we simply ask them to act like extroverts. This is a serious waste of quiet children's considerable and under-noticed talents, not to mention their energy and happiness. In an enlightening and practical talk, Susan Cain shows us that introverted children possess gifts that enhance the culture of any classroom, and are crucial to the survival of our society. Drawing on her original research, compiled over years, Cain answers a plethora of questions, including how and when to use group work, grade on class participation and use social media in the classroom. Passionate yet coolly reasoned, Cain will radically change your view of the best way to cultivate the talents of quiet children, develop their leadership skills and create a classroom culture designed for introverts and extroverts alike. This is an urgent and necessary talk for anybody concerned with the state of education today.

Subtopic: How to choose and cultivate leaders wisely

What are the unique leadership strengths of introverts and extroverts? We tend to be blinded by
charisma when choosing leaders, and introverts are routinely passed over for leadership positions. Yet
research shows that introverted leaders deliver equal or superior results, depending on the business
situation, and that the status quo amounts to a colossal waste of talent:

- Study by U Chicago, Harvard and Stanford, of 4,591 CEOs of publicly traded U.S. companies,
found that extroverted CEOs run companies with a 2% lower return on assets. Introverted CEOs
ran companies that outperformed their peers as a whole.
- Jim Collins (author of Good to Great) reviewed the top 11 best-performing companies in the
country at the time of his study; all of them were led by CEOs described as quiet, unassuming,
soft-spoken, even shy.
- Study of pizza chains by Wharton professor Adam Grant tracked store profits over multiple
months. On average, no difference between profitability of stores led by introverts and
extroverts ----and when leading proactive employees, introverted leaders brought in 14 percent
higher profits (with passive employees, extroverted leaders were 16 percent more profitable).

Subtopic: How to best balance the need for solitude & teamwork to stimulate innovation

We live in a cultural moment that I call the New Groupthink, in which we believe that creativity and
innovation is produced in teams, together. There’s plenty of truth in this. But look at the research on the
creative power of solitude:

- Study of 56 adults found that after spending four days immersed in nature, participants
improved their performance on a creative problem-solving task by 50%
- When the psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist studied the lives of the mostcreative people across a variety of fields, they almost always found visionaries who were
introverted enough to spend large chunks of time alone.

Subtopic: How and when to stretch outside our comfort zones

There’s a fine line between stretching outside our comfort zones, and turning ourselves inside
out/burning out. This applies to extroverts as well as introverts. How should we all walk this line? How
can we make sure to restore our energy after spending lots of time outside those zones? The
psychological literature has concrete answers to these questions.

Subtopic: How to harness the best of everyone’s ideas

In your typical meeting, 3 people do 70% of the talking, according to a study by Kellogg Business School.
How can you design and run meetings so that you get the best of everyone’s ideas? If you’re an
introvert, how can you make your voice and ideas heard? If you’re an extrovert, how can you ensure
that you’re hearing from everyone? We know that brainstorming doesn’t work - a study of over 800
teams showed that individuals are more likely than groups to generate a higher number of original
ideas. So what should you do?

And here’s Steve Wozniak, inventor of the Apple PC:
- “[A]rtists work best alone-best outside of corporate environments, best where they can
control an invention’s design without a lot of other people designing it for marketing or some
other committee. I don’t believe anything really revolutionary has ever been invented by

Subtopic: How to overcome any fear

We all have fears, and so do our colleagues, and they dramatically impede our progress in the world.
Susan uses the #1 fear of public speaking to illustrate the latest research on fear desensitization and
offers practical tips and strategies that can be applied to overcoming any fear.
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