Who's More Creative? Introverts or Extroverts?

A new book dispels some popular myths about the difference between introverts and extroverts. In the modern age, the author explains, our culture has shifted to valuing extroverts.

What's the Latest Development?

Extroverts and introverts are not different in the ways we usually consider them to be. Introverts want lower-stimulation environmentsless noise, less actionwhile extroverts crave stimulation to feel their best. Introverts may be very outgoing people, just as an extrovert may actually be shy. The big difference is the kind of environment they thrive in, says Susan Cain, author of a new book on the creative power of introverts. Now more than ever before, says Cain, Western society approves more of extroverts.

What's the Big Idea?

Have we reached the tipping point in our preference for extroversion? The rise of celebrity culture, which praises lives lived in the public eye, and an emphasis on the value of creative collaboration may come at the expense of other habits, which could be more effective at producing creative solutions to vexing problems. "We tend to believe that all creativity and all productivity comes from the group," says Cain, "when in fact, there really is a benefit to solitude and to being able to go off and focus and put your head down."

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