Two Notes from ‘Quiet’

In reading Susan Cain’s ‘Quiet,’ recommended by my colleagues Paul and Gus (and others), there have been two notable takeaways for me. I’m only about eighty pages in, and I’ve learned a lot about introversion and how society works (or fails to work) for folks who think that way.

Like anyone, though, when I have a hammer, all I see are nails. Two neat things I’ve picked up:

The Bus to Abilene:

…a family sitting on a porch in Texas on a hot summer day, and somebody says, ‘I’m bored. Why don’t we go to Abilene?’ When they get to Abilene, somebody says, ‘You know, I didn’t really want to go.’ And the next person says, ‘I didn’t want to go–I thought you wanted to go,’ and so on. Whenever you’re in an army group and somebody says, ‘I think we’re getting on the bus to Abilene here,’ that is a red flag. You can stop a conversation with it. It is a very powerful artifact of our [the army’s] culture.

I’m guilty of this, both as the suggestion-giver and the go-along-with participant. Having a name for it will be helpful in the future.

Solitude and Creativity:

If solitude is an important key to creativity – then we might all want to develop a taste for it. We’d want to teach our kids to work independently. We’d want to give employees plenty of privacy and autonomy. Yet increasingly we do just the opposite.

This resonates with me as coming from the same place that inspired Solitude in Leadership, a piece I’ve written about in the past. Even as someone who waffles between introversion and extroversion, I appreciate and value time spent alone, sometimes in quiet reflection, sometimes daydreaming.

One thought on “Two Notes from ‘Quiet’

  1. like having a designated time to be alone in your own space as a child, you learn the value of it and the creativity it can spark

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