Susan Cain

Susan Cain

Bestselling Author of Quiet and Bittersweet

In her bestselling book, Quiet, Susan Cain urged our society to cultivate space for the undervalued, indispensable introverts among us, thereby revealing an untapped power hidden in plain sight. With Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole, she once again uncovers a powerful and under appreciated aspect of our world — and how embracing the bittersweetness at the heart of life is the true path to creativity, connection, and authenticity.

Quiet was an instant bestseller. It has been translated into 40 languages, spent eight years on the New York Times bestseller list, and was named the #1 book of the year by Fast Company. Fast Company also called Cain one of the “most creative people in business”, while Inc. Magazine named her one of the “world’s top 50 leadership and management experts” and LinkedIn called her the “sixth top influencer in the world.” In 2016, she released her second bestselling book Quiet Power: The Secret Strength of Introverts and in 2022, released her most recent book, Bittersweet, which debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

Cain’s record-smashing TED Talks have been viewed more than 40 million times. As a speaker, her clients have included Microsoft, Google, the US Treasury, the US Naval Academy, the S.E.C., Harvard University, Yale University, Johnson & Johnson, and the International Women’s Forum, among many others.

A graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School, Cain is the recipient of several awards, including Toastmasters International Golden Gavel Award for Communication and Leadership and Harvard Law School’s Celebration Award for Thought Leadership. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Economist, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications.

Cain is one of the minds behind the Next Big Idea Book Club, which she helped launch in partnership with Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, and Daniel Pink. Each season, they showcase two ground-breaking books that you need to read with all proceeds donated in support of children’s literacy programs.


Bittersweet: The Surprising Key to Creativity, Connection, and Authenticity

Bittersweetness is a tendency to states of longing, poignancy, and sorrow; an acute awareness of the passing of time; and a curiously piercing joy at the beauty of the world. It recognizes that light and dark, birth and death — bitter and sweet — are forever paired.

With her bestselling phenomenon, Quiet, Susan Cain urged our society to cultivate space for the undervalued, indispensable introverts among us, thereby revealing an untapped power hidden in plain sight. Now she explores why we experience sorrow and longing, and how embracing the bittersweetness at the heart of life is the true path to creativity, connection, and authenticity. Cain shows how a bittersweet state of mind is the quiet force that helps us transcend our personal and collective pain. If we don’t acknowledge our own heartache, we can end up inflicting it on others. But if we realize that all humans know — or will know — loss and suffering, we can turn toward one another.

At a time of collective loss, profound discord, and personal anxiety, “Bittersweet” brings us together in deep and unexpected ways. Using her trademark mix of stories, research, memoir, practical tips, and inspiration, Cain will show you the power of a “Bittersweet” work culture.

Session takeaways:

  • How the expression of sorrow, as well as joy, is key to deep creativity and genuine connection.
  • Case studies of organizations, from hospitals to oil rigs, that have transformed their cultures — and smashed productivity records — by creating “bittersweet” cultures.
  • An analysis of everything from Harry Potter novels to fashion photography to reveal what creativity really is — including its surprising relationship to longing, sorrow, and rising above our limitations.
  • How you can use these insights and actionable steps to build true connection and foster a more creative and mutually supportive work environment.

Quiet Leadership: How to Harness the Strengths of Introverts to Change How We Work, Lead, and Innovate

Did you know that introverted leaders often deliver better results than extroverts? That the most spectacularly creative people tend to be introverts? That the most innovative thinking happens alone, and not in teams? One of the central challenges of any business is to bring out the best in its employees. Yet when it comes to introverts — who make up a third to a half of the workforce — our leadership strategy mainly consists of asking them to act like extroverts. This is a serious waste of talent and energy.

In an enlightening, relatable, and practical talk, Susan Cain shows us that introverts think and work in ways that are crucial to the survival of today’s organizations. How can you structure your organization so that the best ideas dominate, rather than those of the most vocal and assertive people? How do introverts’ and extroverts’ different personalities cause them to solve problems and evaluate risk differently? What do introverts know about creativity that the rest of us should learn?

Drawing on her original research and the latest in neuroscience and psychology, Cain will radically change your view of the best way to develop leaders, manage teams, make smart hires, and stimulate innovation.

Quiet Kids: How Our Education System Can Teach Introverted Students

A central challenge of any educational system is to bring out the best in all its students. This means providing a robust learning experience for both introverted and extroverted children. Yet too often with introverts — who comprise nearly a half of every classroom —we simply ask them to act like extroverts. This is a serious waste of quiet children’s considerable and under-noticed talents, not to mention their energy and happiness.

In an enlightening and practical talk, Susan Cain shows us that introverted children possess gifts that enhance the culture of any classroom and are crucial to the survival of our society. Drawing on her original research, compiled over years, Cain answers a plethora of questions, including how and when to use group work, grade on class participation, and use social media in the classroom.

Passionate yet coolly reasoned, Cain will radically change your view of the best way to cultivate the talents of quiet children, develop their leadership skills, and create a classroom culture designed for introverts and extroverts alike. This is an urgent and necessary talk for anybody concerned with the state of education today.