On the heels of my reblog of Susan Cain’s TED talk on American Speaker, here’s a Time Q&A with Ms. Cain. And you may want to check out (or reread) Laurie Helgoe’s book Introvert Power and Jonathan Rauch’s story “Caring for your Introvert” for The Atlantic while you’re at it. I also like the first edition of Barbara A. Kerr’s book Smart Girls, Gifted Women for its stories of introverts like Eleanor Roosevelt and Marie Curie and Georgia O’Keeffe, who didn’t fit the extrovert ideal yet went on to achieve amazing things through the power of their own visions.

Health & Family

Susan Cain, a Harvard law school graduate and former attorney and negotiator, used to regard her quiet and reserved nature as a disadvantage, something to be overcome. But then she began researching introversion as a personality trait, and discovered that what many see as a weakness is actually a strength — one that most Americans, with their love of risk-taking and intense socializing, fail to appreciate fully.

Healthland spoke with Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, about the latest research — which is also explored in depth in this week’s TIME cover story, “The Upside of Being an Introvert,” available to subscribers here. (Full disclosure: Susan is a member of the writer’s group known as the Invisible Institute to which this reporter also belongs.)

How do you define introversion?

There are many different definitions that psychologists use. One that…

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