”Quiet: The Power of Introverts” is CWRU’s 2013 Common Reading choice

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop TalkingExtroverts may win “most popular,” but author Susan Cain says that their quieter counterparts deserve a second look. The talents of introverts may be less pronounced, but can be just as valuable at home, work and across society.

Cain explains her perspective in the bestseller Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Case Western Reserve’s 2013 Common Reading selection for first-year undergraduates.

Members of the Class of 2017 will receive the book this summer as part of the Office of Enrollment Management’s First-Year Experience program, which includes extensive summer outreach as well as on-campus programs that start when students arrive in August and continue throughout the academic year.

Cain herself will speak during the university’s official opening ceremonies at Fall Convocation at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 28, in Severance Hall. Her address is the Elaine G. Hadden Distinguished Visiting Author Lecture, established last year through 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 occasionally overshadowed by their more gregarious peers.

“There’s zero correlation between the gift of gab and good ideas,” writes Cain.

Although our culture may seem to reward more 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.

Introverts, who make up one-third of the population, prefer listening instead of speaking and tend to like to work alone instead of in groups. But many introverts, including Rosa Parks, Frédéric Chopin, Dr. Seuss and Steve Wozniak, have changed the world, Mayes said.

Quiet will be a great read for our students. 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,” said Timothy Beal, the Florence Harkness Professor of Religion and chair of the faculty-led Common Reading Committee.

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 offerings within the department of psychological sciences.

A self-proclaimed introvert, Cain says she learned how to work in extroverted settings, but it took practice. The book offers tips for introverts themselves as well as parents of introverted children.

In addition to Beal and Mayes, other members of the 2013 selection committee are: Shannon French, director of the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence and a philosophy department; Kathryn Lavelle, Ellen and Dixon Long Associate Professor of World Affairs in the political science department; Jim McGuffin-Cawley, Arthur S. Holden Professor of Engineering and chair of the material science and engineering department in the Case School of Engineering; and John Orlock, Samuel B. and Virginia C. Knight Professor of Humanities and interim director of the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities. The panel also includes Laura Kruse, former member of Undergraduate Student Government. Ex-officio committee members are Eric Dicken, senior executive director of donor relations, university events and presidential protocol, and Rick Bischoff, vice president for enrollment management.