Thursday, January 26, 2012

Engineering, Solitude, and the Power of Introverts

Interesting article in the January 15, 2012 issue of the New York Times - - The Rise of the New Groupthink.  The piece is by Susan Cain, and her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking.  Collaboration is in - - but the power and importance of introverts and solitude should not be forgotten.  Remember Picasso's observation - - "Without great solitude, no serious work is possible." 

Cain writes the following:

"But even if the problems are different, human nature remains the same.  And most humans have two contradictory impulses: we love and need one another, yet we crave privacy and autonomy.

To harness the energy that fuels both these drives, we need to move beyond the New Groupthink and embrace a more nuanced approach to creativity and learning.  Our offices should encourage casual, cafe-style interactions, but allow people to disappear into personalized, private spaces when they want to be alone.  Our schools should teach children to work with others, but also to work on their own for sustained periods of time.  And we must recognize that introverts like Steve Wozniak need extra quiet and privacy to do their best work."

Engineering is one of the professions that needs extra quiet time - - and an appreciation of introverts.

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