Susan Cain: Biography highlights
Our world prizes extroverts – but Susan Cain makes a case for the quiet and contemplative. She reaches millions of people through her books, podcasts and her mission-based organization, Quiet Revolution, which empowers introverts for the benefit of everyone.
Full biography of Susan Cain
Susan Cain’s background
Cain is a former corporate lawyer and negotiations consultant – and a self-described introvert. At least one-third of the people we know are introverts, notes Cain in her book QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
Although our culture undervalues them dramatically, introverts have made some of the great contributions to society – from Chopin’s nocturnes to the invention of the personal computer to Ghandi’s transformative leadership.
Cain argues that we design our schools, workplaces and religious institutions for extroverts, and that this bias creates a waste of talent, energy and happiness.
Based on intensive research in psychology and neurobiology and on prolific interviews, she also explains why introverts are capable of great love and great achievement, not in spite of their temperament — but because of them.
In 2015 Susan announced the launch of her mission-based organization Quiet Revolution that aims to change the lives of introverts by empowering them with the information, tools and resources they need to survive and thrive.
In the workplace, companies are not fully harnessing the talents of their introverted employees and leadership teams are often imbalanced with many more extroverts than introverts. The Quiet Leadership Institute has worked with companies from LinkedIn to GE to Procter and Gamble to help them achieve their potential by providing learning experiences that unlock the power of introverts.
At the heart and center of the Quiet Revolution is empowering the next generation of children to know their own strengths and be freed from the sense of inadequacy that has shadowed the children of previous generations. Susan’s second book, Quiet Power, is written for teens and young adults but also serves as a tool for teachers and parents.
In addition, Susan has created a portal and a online learning experience for the parents of quiet children and has also established the Quiet Schools Network. Susan’s podcast, Quiet: The Power of Introverts debuted in February 2016 as a 10-part series designed to give parents and teachers the tools they need to empower quiet kids.
Susan and the Quiet Revolution have received numerous accolades and press including Fortune magazine, The New York Times, NPR and many more.
Watch Susan in action
The Advertising Research Foundation
Susan Cain keynoted at our annual marquee event and was absolutely superb. Polished, relevant, and accessible, she connected with the audience immediately and held them in rapt attention throughout her presentation. Susan was our most popular speaker, and I would recommend her for any engagement. This was one of the best experiences I have had working with a keynote speaker.'
'You are an excellent speaker and your event was a huge success! You make it look so easy. You were our most well attended Bing Signature Speaker to date.'
'Susan was outstanding, and people were blown away. We've brought a long list of accomplished speakers and thought leaders to Mercer Island, and I have heard a number of people repeat that Susan was the best speaker we have ever had. I personally agree. Her message is salient, timely and crucial-especially for parents and teachers-and she is also warm, witty, engaging, and articulate. She not only speaks softly, but with such kindness and humility that even when she disputes the value of group work in the classroom, teachers and administrators fully understand her without getting defensive. Back in the day when I taught, my Dean of Faculty described his job as 'trying to herd cats.' I truly think Susan Cain would be successful herding even the most independent-minded cats over to the side of our quieter kids. On behalf of the entire Parent Edge team and Mercer Island Community, please thank her for her time, energy, and passion.'
Institute of Coaching at Harvard Medical School
'Your talk was remarkable. People loved it. You have the incredible and rare capacity to be 100% human and authentic; 100% interesting; and 100% entertaining. Many I spoke to described it as the highlight of the conference.'
'Within minutes, Susan Cain became one of my favorite speakers of all time. From the moment she stepped onto the WorkHuman stage, she displayed an undeniable range of knowledge, clarity, authenticity, and warmth. Best of all, she was the same in-person. No surprise, the feedback from our attendees was off the charts. I cannot recommend Susan highly enough and can't wait to have her back at WorkHuman!'
Parents Council of Washington, D.C.
'After spending all day yesterday basking in the glow of that marvelous event Tuesday night, I just wanted to send you a personal note thanking you for making the entire event so fascinating and inspiring for so many people. We have received an enormous amount of feedback from the over four hundred people who attended the event indicating that it was the most interesting and inspiring lecture that they have attended in a very long time. Your ability to connect with an audience in a very personal way while imparting fascinating information about all of us is indeed unique. We are proud as an organization to have brought such an interesting and inspiring speaker to our community. Your talk will resonate in the educational community in the Washington, D.C., area for a long time to come.'
Susan's speaking topics
Quiet: How to Harness the Strengths of Introverts to Change How We Work, Lead, and Innovate
Did you know that 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 an enlightening, relatable, and practical talk, 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’ different personalities cause them to 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, Cain 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 students. This means providing a robust learning experience for both introverted and extroverted children. Yet, too often, when it comes to 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 many 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 anyone concerned with the state of education today.