Susan Cain Biography & Facts
Susan Horowitz Cain (born 1968) is an American writer and lecturer.
She is the author of the 2012 non-fiction book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, which argues that modern Western culture misunderstands and undervalues the traits and capabilities of introverted people. In 2015, she co-founded Quiet Revolution, a mission-based company with initiatives in the areas of children (parenting and education), lifestyle, and the workplace. Her 2016 follow-on book, Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts, focused on introverted children and teens, the book also being directed to their educators and parents.
Her book Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole (2022) focused on accepting feelings of sorrow and longing as inspiration to experience sublime emotions—such as beauty and wonder and transcendence—to counterbalance the "normative sunshine" of society's pressure to constantly be positive.
Early years and education
Cain is the youngest of three children, and was raised in Lawrence, Nassau County, New York. She graduated with an A.B. in English from Princeton University in 1989 after completing a 91-page-long senior thesis titled "A Study of Thomas Stearns Eliot and Wyndham Lewis." She earned a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1993.
Cain worked for seven years as an attorney at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, and then as a negotiations consultant as owner and principal of The Negotiation Company. She has been a fellow and a faculty/staff member of the Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership, an educational non-profit organization.She left her careers in corporate law and consulting for a quieter life of writing at home with her family, likening her years as a Wall Street lawyer to "time spent in a foreign country".
Background and motivation for Quiet
Cain explained that if she were not a writer she would want to be a research psychologist. Her interest in writing about introversion reportedly stemmed from her own difficulties with public speaking, which made Harvard Law School "a trial".While still an attorney, Cain noticed that others at her firm were putting personality traits like hers to good use in the profession, and that gender per se did not explain those traits. She eventually realized that the concepts of introversion and extroversion provided the "language for talking about questions of identity" that had been lacking.She explained that in writing Quiet she was fueled by the passion and indignation that she imagined fueled the 1963 feminist book, The Feminine Mystique. She likened introverts today to women at that time—second-class citizens with gigantic amounts of untapped talent. Saying that most introverts aren't aware of how they are constantly spending their time in ways that they would prefer not to be and have been doing so all their lives, Cain explained that she was trying to give people entitlement in their own minds to be who they are.She said she was interested in working with parents and teachers of introverted children and to re-shape workplace culture and design, and in particular replace what she terms "The New Groupthink" with an environment more conducive to deep thought and solo reflection.
Quiet, Quiet Power, and Quiet Journal
Cain, a self-described introvert, had grappled with her own introversion as a Wall Street attorney before writing Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. In contrast, she described the time of creating Quiet—seven years of reading, researching, and thinking—as "total bliss". Initially concerned that the book would be merely a "highly idiosyncratic project", she found instead that New York book publishers engaged in a bidding war. Quiet was published January 24, 2012.Cain wrote that her year of preparation before her February 2012 TED talk had unfolded in "three stages of accelerating dread", so she joined Toastmasters and scheduled a two-hour crash course with TED's speaking coach. But saying her butterflies had turned into "gut-wrenching knots", she worked for six full days with an acting coach immediately before the talk. Three months after the talk, Cain confirmed her April 2011 prediction that the ensuing year would be her Year of Speaking Dangerously, writing that she had metamorphosed into what she termed an "impossibly oxymoronic creature: the Public Introvert". The Atlantic's Megan Garber remarked that the ideas spread by TED are becoming defined by the persona of the speaker who presents them, citing Cain in particular as representing the idea of the power of introversion in an extrovert-optimized world. Chris Weller quipped in Business Insider that Cain had become "the patron saint of introverts".Within one week of its publication, Forbes' Jenna Goudreau noted that Quiet was featured by several major media outlets and was shared extensively across the Web, Goudreau observing that readers said they felt validated and seen for the first time. Cain spoke at leadership, management, training and education conferences throughout the U.S. and internationally. By 2015 she had delivered more than 100 speeches, sometimes receiving five figures per appearance, in addition to her pro bono work. InformationWeek's Debra Donston-Miller had noted that the idea of introversion and extroversion was being widely discussed due in large part to media coverage of Quiet.
Within a year of her first TED talk, Cain had formed an online public speaking and communication class for introverts, said to emphasize authenticity over showmanship.She collaborates with Steelcase to design office spaces to include quiet areas where workers can have privacy for a time, in contrast to open plan offices.In 2016, Cain co-authored Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts, which focused on introverted children and teens, the book also directed to their educators and parents.In 2018, she began co-curating the Next Big Idea Club with Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, and Daniel Pink, focusing on books about psychology, business, happiness, and productivity.On March 31, 2020, Cain published Quiet Journal: Discover Your Secret Strengths and Unleash Your Inner Power, a journal with a first section directed to self-assessment, and a second section for applying that self-knowledge and prompting action.
The Quiet Revolution
Cain's second TED talk (2014) formally announced the Quiet Revolution—a "venture backed, mission-based" organization for transforming office architecture to combat the erosion of focus and privacy in modern offices, forming a Quiet Leadership Institute to help organizations train introverted leaders, and empowering quiet children. The organization focuses on areas including children, life, and the workplace, while providing training programs and learning tools for client organizations to use in managing employees. More specifically, the organization formed an online education course for parents, a co-branded lifestyle se.... Discover the Susan Cain popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Susan Cain books.