Susan Cain: Bittersweet
Susan Cain is the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, which spent seven years on The New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into 40 languages. It was named the #1 best book of the year by Fast Company, which also named Susan one of its Most Creative People in Business. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. Her record-smashing TED Talk has been viewed over 30 million times and was named by Bill Gates one of his all-time favorite talks.
Susan has also spoken at Microsoft, Google, the U.S. Treasury, the S.E.C., Harvard, Yale, West Point, and the US Naval Academy. 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. She is now also the author of the bestselling book Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole*.
We’ve all heard the value of positive thinking and aiming for happiness, but we don’t often think about the value of sorrow — and rarely in the context of leadership. In this conversation, Susan returns to the podcast to explore how the full spectrum of who we are can help us live — and lead – just a bit better.
- We espouse the value of happiness and positive thinking but don’t often recognize the value of appreciating sorrow and pain.
- Words like “pain” and “suffering” tend to not show up in our workplaces, even when that’s clearly what’s being experienced. Instead, these realities are often substituted with words like “anger” or “frustration.”
- Yes we should focus on our strengths, but beware of confusing a bittersweet temperament or sadness, with weakness.
- Having power or feeling superior may prevent us from seeing others sadness — or even our own. Leaders who can embrace humility often find that results follow too.
- The physical act of bowing can help with humility, as does capturing in writing moments of compassion (either from others or for others), as well as a focus on self-compassion.
- Preorder Bittersweet for a free book plate from Susan
- Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care by The Cleveland Clinic
- The Kindred Letters by Susan Cain
Download my interview notes in PDF format (free membership required).
- The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, with Susan Cain (episode 44)
- Use Power for Good and Not Evil, with Dacher Keltner (episode 254)
- Four Steps to Get Unstuck and Embrace Change, with Susan David (episode 297)