- Susan Cain
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at school you might have been prodded to come “out of your shell”—that noxious expression which fails to appreciate that some animals naturally carry shelter everywhere they go, and that some humans are just the same.
group brainstorming doesn’t actually work.
If you are a sensitive sort, then you’re more apt than the average person to feel pleasantly overwhelmed by Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” or a well-turned phrase or an act of extraordinary kindness.
“We cannot all live in cities,” wrote the news editor Horace Greeley in 1867, “yet nearly all seem determined to do so.”
It’s about fifty degrees in the hall, but Tony is wearing a short-sleeved polo shirt and shorts. Many in the audience have brought blankets with them, having somehow known that the auditorium would be kept refrigerator-cold, presumably to accommodate Tony’s high-octane metabolism. It would take another Ice Age to cool this man off. He’s leaping and beaming and managing, somehow, to make eye contact with all 3,800 of us. The greeters jump rapturously in the aisles. Tony opens his arms wide, embracing us all. If Jesus returned to Earth and made his first stop at the Atlanta Convention Center, it would be hard to imagine a more jubilant reception.
We failed to realize that what makes sense for the asynchronous, relatively anonymous interactions of the Internet might not work as well inside the face-to-face, politically charged, acoustically noisy confines of an open-plan office.
The way forward, I’m suggesting, is not to stop collaborating face-to-face, but to refine the way we do it.
introverts like people they meet in friendly contexts; extroverts prefer those they compete with.
Scores of studies have shown that venting doesn’t soothe anger; it fuels it. We’re best off when we don’t allow ourselves to go to our angry place.
Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to. Stay home on New Year’s Eve if that’s what makes you happy.
If you want the wisdom of the crowd, gather it electronically, or in writing, and make sure people can’t see each other’s ideas until everyone’s had a chance to contribute. Face-to-face contact is important because it builds trust, but group dynamics contain unavoidable impediments to creative thinking.