Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesdays with Words (Quiet)


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking (aff) by Susan Cain was recommended to me. Chapter 1 talks about how extroversion has become the cultural ideal and the author show how this has happened which I have found very enlightening.

But by 1920, popular self-help guides had changed their focus from inner virtue to outer charm--"to know what to say and how to say it," as one manual put it...
Susman counted the words that appeared most frequently in the personality-driven advice manuals of the early twentieth century and compared them to the character guides of the nineteenth century. The earlier guides emphasized attributes that anyone could work on improving, described by words like 
  • Citizenship 
  • Duty 
  • Work 
  • Golden deeds 
  • Honor 
  • Reputation 
  • Morals 
  • Manners 
  • Integrity 
But the new guides celebrated qualities that were--no matter how easy Dale Carnegie made it sound--trickier to acquire. Either you embodied these qualities or you didn't: 
  • Magnetic 
  • Fascinating 
  • Stunning 
  • Attractive 
  • Glowing 
  • Dominant 
  • Forceful 
  • Energetic 
It was no coincidence that in the 1920s and the 1930s, Americans became obsessed with movie stars. Who better than a matinee idol to model personal magnetism?


  1. Interesting! This book has been on my to-read list for ages. I really need to get around to it!

  2. I have this one on my Kindle and really need to read it, especially since I am an introvert and I have at least one strongly introverted child. :-)

  3. Yes, this is also on my TBR list ... many friends have loved it, but I have been in a fiction-fog this year and not reading much in the way of serious works. I'm hoping to recover soon. I find it interesting that so many of my friends are I and not E, yet E is coveted in our culture. Thanks for sharing some of how that may have come about.



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