As you might imagine, I track the nonfiction best seller lists. In last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle I noticed Susan Cain’s book, Quiet, is still on it. It came out in 2012, got great publicity and was very well-received indeed, but I got to thinking why else might it continue to sell?
There are likely many reasons, but the one that resonates most for me is that her book successfully challenges a major assumption our society has had about introverts, namely that somehow their temperament is not “as valued” as the extroverted personality style, and that introverts need to change and learn how to be extroverts.
She provides a great case that our assumptions are just that they are beliefs, that when you look harder at them you realize just aren’t true, and continuing to believe it gets in the way of lots of things. In this case this can range from effective professional relationships to parenting processes.
She blasts the door wide open that more people than you might think are introverts and that style made them the great persons they are/were. As Cain says, “At least one-third of the world of people we know are introverts.” Take these notable introverts Cain talks about:
Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Marcel Proust, Frédéric Chopin, Charles Darwin, Steve Wozniak, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Steven Spielberg, J.K. Rowling, Charles Schulz, Bill Gates, , Mitt Romney, Dale Carnegie, Albert Einstein, Dr. Seuss, Warren Buffett, Al Gore, David Letterman, Barbara Walters, Isaac Newton, Pablo Picasso, W. B. Yeats, Jesus, Buddha, Johnny Carson, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Steve Martin…
These are just name a few! Cain helps us see why it’s time to question our mindset and look at what is real – in this case as it relates to personal temperament and style.
Why might I like the questioning of mindset to truly see what is real? This is the rabbit hole I went down in my own most recent book. Seeing the truth is empowering. And when the truth has to do with you personally, it leads to, as she says, a “newfound sense of entitlement to be yourself.”
Now that is worth reading about!
Beyond publicity strategies and business of books, from more of a personal standpoint, why do you think some stay on best seller lists?