46 pages 1 hour read

Susan Cain

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 2012

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Part 3, Chapter 8Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 8 Summary: “Soft Power”

Part 3 asks whether the Extrovert Ideal is found in all cultures. The answer is a resounding no: One researcher published a color-coded map, in which Europe was overwhelmingly shaded extroverted, while Asia was primarily introverted.

Cain talks to a number of Asian American students who bridge the divide, balancing navigating the American system of education with retaining the values and ideals of their immigrants parents. The author finds that most of the students approach school differently from their European American counterparts. Many Asian Americans speak of their role within in the family and the importance of honoring their parents, which for them means studying hard. In Asian countries, being serious about school is in part about maintaining a certain level of silence in the classroom. In China, for example, the teacher lectures and the student listens; the flow of information is in one direction. In America, however, students are expected to participate much more in discussions. As one parent from Taiwan put it to Cain, at UCLA, “I would look at my peers while they were talking nonsense” (185), incredulous that professors encouraged student engagement over accuracy, which in her culture of origin would have been considered a waste of time.