Susan Cain | TED Speaker Viewed Over 30 Million Times and NYT Best-Selling Author

Susan Cain

TED Speaker Viewed Over 30 Million Times and NYT Best-Selling Author

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Susan Cain

SUSAN CAIN is the #1 bestselling author of Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole, an Oprah’s Book Club pick and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, which has been translated into 40 languages, spent nine years on The New York Times best-seller list, and was named the #1 best book of the year by Fast Company magazine, which also named Cain one of its Most Creative People in Business.

LinkedIn named her the Top 6th Influencer in the World, just behind Richard Branson and Melinda French Gates. Susan partners with Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant and Dan Pink to curate the Next Big Idea Book Club. They donate all their proceeds to children’s literacy programs.

Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. Her TED talks on the power of introverts and the hidden power of sad songs and rainy days have been viewed over 40 million times.

Cain has also spoken at Google, PIXAR, the U.S. Treasury, P&G, Harvard, and West Point. She received Harvard Law School’s Celebration Award for Thought Leadership, the Toastmasters International Golden Gavel Award for Communication and Leadership, and was named one of the world’s top 50 Leadership and Management Experts by Inc. Magazine. She is an honors graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School. She lives in the Hudson River Valley with her husband, two sons and golden doodle, Sophie.

Susan Cain
Featured Videos

Current: TED: The Power of Introverts

Time 19:05

More Videos From Susan Cain

TED: The Power of Introverts
Time 19:05
TED: Blueprint for a quiet revolution
Time 07:47
Re:Think 2014 Presentation: Susan Cain
Time 07:09

Susan Cain
Featured Keynote Programs

The Surprising Key to Creativity, Connection, and Authenticity

If you’ve ever wondered why you like sad music . . .
If you find comfort or inspiration in a rainy day . . .
If you react intensely to music, art, nature, and beauty . . .
Then you probably identify with the bitter­sweet state of mind.

Bittersweetness is a tendency to states of long­ing, poignancy, and sorrow; an acute aware­ness of the passing of time; and a curiously piercing joy at the beauty of the world. It recognizes that light and dark, birth and death —bitter and sweet—are forever paired.

With her bestselling phenomenon, Quiet, Susan Cain urged our society to cultivate space for the undervalued, indispensable introverts among us, thereby revealing an un­tapped power hidden in plain sight. Now she explores why we experience sorrow and longing, and how embracing the bittersweetness at the heart of life is the true path to creativity, con­nection, and authenticity. Susan shows how a bittersweet state of mind is the quiet force that helps us transcend our personal and collective pain. If we don’t acknowledge our own heartache, we can end up inflicting it on others. But if we realize that all humans know—or will know—loss and suffering, we can turn toward one another.

At a time of collective loss, profound discord, and personal anxiety, Bittersweet brings us together in deep and unexpected ways. Using her trademark mix of stories, research, memoir, practical tips, and inspiration, Susan will show you the power of a “Bittersweet” work culture, including:

• How the expression of sorrow, as well as joy, is key to deep creativity and genuine connection.

• Case studies of organizations, from hospitals to oil rigs, that have transformed their cultures – and smashed productivity records – by creating “bittersweet” cultures.

• An analysis of everything from Harry Potter novels to fashion photography to reveal what creativity really is – including its surprising relationship to longing, sorrow, and rising above our limitations.

• How you can use these insights and actionable steps to build true connection and foster a more creative and mutually supportive work environment.

Quiet Leadership
How to Harness the Strengths of Introverts to Change How We Work, Lead, Learn, and Innovate

Did you know 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 her enlightening, relatable, and practical talks, 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 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, Susan will radically change your view of the best ways to develop leaders, manage teams, make smart hires, and stimulate innovation.

Sample Sub Topics

How to choose and cultivate leaders wisely

What are the unique leadership strengths of introverts and extroverts? We tend to be blinded by charisma when choosing leaders, and introverts are routinely passed over for leadership positions. Yet research shows that introverted leaders deliver equal or superior results, depending on the business situation, and that the status quo amounts to a colossal waste of talent:

-  Study by U Chicago, Harvard and Stanford, of 4,591 CEOs of publicly traded U.S. companies, found that extroverted CEOs run companies with a 2% lower return on assets. Introverted CEOs ran companies that outperformed their peers as a whole.

-  Jim Collins (author of Good to Great) reviewed the top 11 best-performing companies in the country at the time of his study; all of them were led by CEOs described as quiet, unassuming, soft-spoken, even shy.

-  Study of pizza chains by Wharton professor Adam Grant tracked store profits over multiple months. On average, no difference between profitability of stores led by introverts and extroverts ----and when leading proactive employees, introverted leaders brought in 14 percent higher profits (with passive employees, extroverted leaders were 16 percent more profitable).

Charismatic leaders may earn more, but don’t deliver better results.

How to best balance the need for solitude & teamwork to stimulate innovation

We live in a cultural moment that I call the New Groupthink, in which we believe that creativity and innovation is produced in teams, together. There’s plenty of truth in this. But look at the research on the creative power of solitude:

-  Study of 56 adults found that after spending four days immersed in nature, participants improved their performance on a creative problem-solving task by 50%

-  When the psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist studied the lives of the most- creative people across a variety of fields, they almost always found visionaries who were introverted enough to spend large chunks of time alone.

How and when to stretch outside our comfort zones

There’s a fine line between stretching outside our comfort zones, and turning ourselves inside out/burning out. This applies to extroverts as well as introverts. How should we all walk this line? How can we make sure to restore our energy after spending lots of time outside those zones? The psychological literature has concrete answers to these questions.

How to harness the best of everyone’s ideas

In your typical meeting, 3 people do 70% of the talking, according to a study by Kellogg Business School. How can you design and run meetings so that you get the best of everyone’s ideas? If you’re an introvert, how can you make your voice and ideas heard? If you’re an extrovert, how can you ensure that you’re hearing from everyone? We know that brainstorming doesn’t work – a study of over 800 teams showed that individuals are more likely than groups to generate a higher number of original ideas. So what should you do?

And here’s Steve Wozniak, inventor of the Apple PC:

- “[A]rtists work best alone—best outside of corporate environments, best where they can control an invention’s design without a lot of other people designing it for marketing or some other committee. I don’t believe anything really revolutionary has ever been invented by committee.”

How to overcome any fear

We all have fears, and so do our colleagues, and they dramatically impede our progress in the world. Susan uses the #1 fear of public speaking to illustrate the latest research on fear desensitization and offers practical tips and strategies that can be applied to overcoming any fear.

Susan Cain
Featured Books

Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Wholeby Susan Cain

Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole

by Susan Cain
Quietby Susan Cain


by Susan Cain
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - Experience the book that started the Quiet Movement and revolutionized how the world sees introverts--and how introverts see themselves--by offering validation, inclusion, and inspiration

"Superbly researched, deeply insightful, and a fascinating read, Quiet is an indispensable resource for anyone who wants to understand the gifts of the introverted half of the population."--Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY People - O: The Oprah Magazine - Christian Science Monitor - Inc. - Library Journal - Kirkus Reviews

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts--Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak--that we owe many of the great contributions to society.

In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts--from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, impeccably researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader's guide and bonus content

Susan Cain
Featured Reviews

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