Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Last Week's TED Talk

You might remember that I recently challenged myself to watch a TED talk every week and take illustrated notes. Here are my notes from last week's video: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts. Susan Cain wrote Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking  

Before I watched the video, I thought about that word power. When I considered my own introversion, power was not a word I would use to describe it. I thought of pain, loneliness, uncertainty and hesitation.

By the end of the video, I was at peace with my introversion. 

I saw the truth in what Cain said about introverted leaders -- that they achieve better outcomes because they let employees run with their own ideas rather than always trying to micromanage and put their stamp on everything.

I thought hard about what she says is a prevalent attitude in education that the best students are extroverts. Do I believe this? Does my classroom look like I believe this? In her call to action, Cain made three points that I will take to heart:

  1. Stop the madness for constant group work. Students need privacy, need to experience freedom, and learn to deal with autonomy.
  2. Go to the wilderness. Have revelations. Unplug.
  3. Know yourself. Accept yourself. Play to your own strengths rather than those you perceive society values.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking -- Kindle edition is only $2.99!


  1. Have you read her book? While by no means perfect, I found a lot to affirm how I think, teach, and lead. Makes me feel a lot better about decisions and ways I think about things, especially at school. I've always tended away from group work because I already know how hard it is for certain kids and so it was nice to have this affirmed by Cain. It is an extrovert world though --- I find that they dominate both as students and as teachers. Also administrators and parents. I've done some blog posts on this topic (and was interviewed for an article about introvert teaching): https://medinger.wordpress.com/?s=introvert

    1. No, I haven't read the book, but when I saw it was only $2.99 on Kindle, I "one-clicked" it! I'll be interested to read your posts. Thanks for the link.

  2. I have this book on my kindle but haven't started it yet. I didn't realize she had a TED talk. Will watch it this week-thanks!

  3. Thanks Mary Lee, a powerful message. I too have the book, but haven't started it. We talk about introverts and extraverts and meeting both needs a lot at school, challenging but helpful to know about both preferences. Thanks for the link!

  4. I love your TED challenge and look forward to watching Cairn's piece. I went ahead and one-click-bought the Kindle book too as I've been doing a lot of thinking about introverts lately. Thank you for sharing your notes and the resources!

  5. I really love that you're doing this goal with TED talks. I may "steal" the idea. I also think my gifted kiddos would love to do it, too! I've wanted to read Quiet for a long time, and your link gave me just the nudge I needed. I just ordered it. Thanks. :-)

  6. "Go to the wilderness."
    "Stop the madness." Yes.
    Every moment shouldn't have to be planned; some need to be lived and savored.

    Thank you...again!

  7. Great post! So important for us all to remember --thank you!

  8. Mary Lee,
    Thanks for sharing your thinking and the link to this book. I bought it as I headed out the door this morning. I so enjoy your time at the writing retreat because it is in the wilderness and stops any madness. I wonder if people can be introverted and extroverted.

  9. Anonymous10:51 PM

    You might like to follow Beth Buelow, http://theintrovertentrepreneur.com/. I really enjoy her podcasts for learning abotu introvertedness, even though I'm not an entrepreneur.

  10. I'd be interested on your comments regarding this TEDx talk: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/30/we-need-to-talk-about-ted


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