Susan Cain, author of the bestseller, "Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking," will share how introverts can excel in a society often overpowered by extroverts. She will speak during Case Western Reserve University’s opening ceremonies at Fall Convocation on Aug. 28, at 4:30 p.m. in Severance Hall. The event is free and open to the public, but ticket reservations are required.
Cain’s book was selected as the university’s "common reading" choice for first-year students for 2013-14. The common reading author is invited to give the Elaine G. Hadden Distinguished Visiting Author Lecture, established last year with a generous gift from Elaine G. Hadden, a longtime supporter and friend of Case Western Reserve and an emerita board member.
Cain’s book offers hope to introverts lost in the noisy world of extroverts.
"There’s zero correlation between the gift of gab and good ideas," writes Cain.
Although our culture may seem to reward social and outgoing people, "introverts should not try to pass as extroverts, but learn and value their strengths," said Edwin Mayes, director of the First-Year Experience and a member of the Common Reading Committee.
"Quiet will be a great read for our students," said Timothy Beal, the Florence Harkness Professor of Religion and chair of the faculty-led Common Reading Committee. "We hope it will encourage them to reflect on what kinds of learners and professionals they are and will be, as well as how they fit into this community socially and how they relate to others in and out of the classroom."
Quiet will be read as part of the First-Year Experience program, which helps new students transition from high school to university life and develop connections and a sense of belonging.
Books will be sent to first-year students’ homes this summer for students to read and then discuss in small groups when they come to campus.
Beal said Cain’s book, chosen from among 20 suggested titles, ties in with several campus courses and programs, including SAGES First Seminars, First-Year Experience programming and the department of psychological sciences.
A self-proclaimed introvert, Cain says she has learned how to work in an extrovert world, but it took some practice. The book offers tips on how to deal with extroverts that tend to dominate conversations, while introverts listen, consider and then talk—and are more comfortable expressing themselves in writing.
DNA plays a role in making some more boisterous than others, Cain explains in the book. And the United States didn’t always hold the title of the most extroverted nation in the world.
Blame Hollywood movies and self-help courses by Dale Carnegie that instructed people to speak up and be heard, she writes. The result was something called "the extrovert ideal," which shifted a more meditative society of the 1800’s to one of individuals coveting the spotlight.
To reserve a ticket, contact the Severance Hall box office at 216-231-1111 or print one at home from the hall’s website.