Home All Self-Promotion for Introverts (Book Review)

Self-Promotion for Introverts (Book Review)

written by Timothy T.C. So 11 December 2009

Timothy So, Msc, es candidato al Doctorado de Psicología en el Departamento de Psiquiatría de la Universidad de Cambridge. Es Investigador Asociado del Cambridge University's Well-being Institute y Psicólogo Ocupacional. Timothy también es responsable de los sitios del PPND tanto en chino tradicional como en el simplificado. Biografía completa.

Sus artículos anteriores en inglés están aquí. Y también puedes encontrar sus otros artículos traducidos al español aquí.

photo1 We need to promote ourselves to advance in our careers.  We need to promote ourselves to remain employed during the financial turmoil.  Introverts often get passed over mistakenly. Nancy Ancowitz offers a solid dose of practical advice – alongside humorous anecdotes – for introverts to assert themselves by using their inherent tendencies in the most effective ways. She suggests that 4 out of 10 top executives are introverts. Some great examples of introverts include Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Charles Schwab, Steven Spielberg, Brenda Barnes, and comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

BOOK REVIEW: Self-Promotion for Introverts: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead by Nancy Ancowitz. New York: McGraw Hill (2009).

Self-Promotion for Introverts contains eight chapters written in a practical, precise, and smart way, Ancowitz shows introverts how to take advantage of the unique qualities and strengths they can offer, but also how to network, build visibility, have a memorable impact on others, speak publicly, interview effectively, own their own strengths, and much more.

Specific Highlights

Your Negative Self-Talk (Tuning out U-SUCK Radio) – In this chapter Ancowitz addresses the loudest voice introverts hear: their own. She guides you through an exercise specifically directed at facts, the main area of focus for introverts.

Your Target Audience: Going Inward and Reaching Outward – In this chapter, Ancowitz illustrates both how to harness one’s strength of going inward and how to match that to what the audience wants. Introverts tend not to push something on someone who doesn’t want it, and the chapter essentially demonstrates how to construct an overlap between what the audience wants and what a introvert may say.

Your Chalk Talk: Public Speaking for Private People – In this chapter, Ancowitz talks about presentations, and hits every anxiety button one might have about public speaking.  I’d say this chapter is for everyone – not just the introverts. There are suggestions and tips on how to stand, what to wear, rehearsing, and more.

Benefits of Self-Promotion for Introverts

There are at least 3 special remarks on this book from my point of view:

  1. Ancowitz doesn’t only offer knowledge from her own thoughts. She also gathers wisdom from different introverts and extroverts sharing their insights throughout the book. Another merit of the book is the set of proven examples and anecdotes from well-known public figures such as Bill Clinton, Earvin Johnson, Warren Buffett. Writers from PPND like Senia Maymin and Caroline Miller offer wisdom from the positive psychology perspective. These fascinating advice demonstrated in reality how to “quietly” self-promote oneself without bragging or coming across as an obnoxious fool, and are remarkably convincing, encouraging and empowering.
  2. Though the book is designed for workplace, Ancowitz’s advice is also applicable to life in general – how to get the most out of short conversations, how to deal with extroverted friends, and how to restructure goals and strategies in line with one’s own personal needs and strengths. I am impressed by the way she explains how to access one’s own natural enthusiasm and authenticity in a way that feels comfortable and confident, not faking or bragging.
  3. One important thing to note is that the book is not about teaching an introvert to become an extrovert. The aim of the book is not to change people to be something they are not, but rather to refine them into the strongest versions of what they already are.


Why as a PPND Reader You Will Enjoy This Book

After reading the book, I am sure one need not be an introvert to benefit from Self-Promotion for Introverts. Even people who aren’t inwardly focused can still suffer a meltdown when faced with a public speaking opportunity or a dreadful job interview. The tips and checklists offered in the book help overcome even transitory instants of shyness, and are relevant to anyone who is out of work or trying to change direction in life.

If you want to promote yourself authentically, you’ll need to have thorough reflections on yourself. You’ll need to understand and embrace your strengths, and try to make full use of strengths come into full play. This aligns closely with the doctrines of positive psychology. As educational thinker Shakti Gattegno once said,

“Self-promotion starts with self-reflection, which requires observing oneself in the lighting of awareness and without judgment. It helps to pay close attention to what you are or have rather than to emphasize what you think you’re not or don’t have. The more one is connected to oneself, the greater will be one’s capacity to reach out. And the less one will expend energy trying to please the world.”

To sum up, one does not have to be naturally good at self-promotion to succeed, but one does have to learn to value the process with enough enthusiasm to see that it gets done.  And get done it will.  Thanks to the insight in Nancy Ancowitz’s book.



Ancowitz, N. (2009). Self-Promotion for Introverts: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead. New York: McGraw Hill.

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Margaret 11 December 2009 - 2:08 pm

Timothy – I purchased the book this week and thanks to your great review I just moved it to the top of my “books to read” pile. I’m sure I’ll be recommending it to many of the executives I coach. Happy Holidays!

Angus 11 December 2009 - 4:13 pm

“The strongest versions of what they already are.”

A great quote Timothy. May we all live up to it. I hope you are flourishing and best regards.


PS the world is not short of research, it is sometimes short on insight.

Jeff 12 December 2009 - 1:42 am

I am fairly to moderately introverted. Though I’m also a talker. I think this book would be a practical read. If I see it, I’ll skim it. Thanks, Timothy.

Senia 12 December 2009 - 3:53 am

Timothy, I am halfway through it. GREAT EXERCISES in the book! It’s so funny – it’s a book on step-by-step thorough self-promotion.

My favorite part is that Nancy gives specific tips on what to say in an email, how to start a conversation. My favorite part is that Nancy does the step-by-step parts. She doesn’t just say, “GO.” She says, “Here’s how. Here’s the first step.”

The elevator pitch, the presentation. She makes it fun to be a self-promoter. But not a smarmy self-promoter. A focused, here’s-how-I-might-be-able-to-help-you-do-X self-promoter.

Kudos to Nancy Ancowitz.

Thanks for highlighting some of the points in the book that were most resonant to you and to our readers, Timothy. I enjoyed your ending quote.


Senia 12 December 2009 - 3:54 am


Lots of research. Can you get it in Oz, or want me to forward it to you if you mail it to me here?


Timothy T.C. So 12 December 2009 - 4:41 am

Thank you Margaret. I am attending a 1 year business coaching programme with another 2 senior consultants from McKinsey. We shortlisted some must read business coaching books last week, do you want the list? I will be in Vancouver visiting my grandparents this Xmas, how about you?

Timothy T.C. So 12 December 2009 - 4:51 am

Thanks Angus, thanks WJ.

Consider that the PPND reader base is so wide and diverse, I see no harm including publications which is more practical read, only if they are well written and as Angus said, insightful. In addition, Nancy’s book contains research supporting some of her arguement, i.e. she cites some journal articles including Personality and individual differences, Journal of psychiatry, Journal of applied psychology etc.

However, I agree that positive psychology needs solid research, that’s what I am working with Felicia and Marty on studying flourishing and positive mental health, as well as many positive psychology scholars’ mission to conduct first-rate research.

Timothy T.C. So 12 December 2009 - 4:53 am

WJ, if you are keen to read more research supported publications, I’d strongly recommend Ed Diener’s Series on well-being which is published this year. I just finished reading The science of well being and Assessing of well being, and I will complete Culture and well-being this Xmas. I have to say the 2 books are definitely the few of the best readings I would no doubt recommend to all scholars, researchers, or anyone who is interested in science of well being. I realize some of your questions raised at PPND can be beautifully answered by these books with scientific and research support. I am, therefore, sure that you are going to enjoy reading them!

Hope it is helpful.


Nancy Ancowitz 12 December 2009 - 3:14 pm

Thank you, Timothy, for the insightful review, and Senia for your fine editing and additional comments, not to mention the outstanding forum that you’ve built in PPND. I appreciate the lively dialog among other commenters on this page as well.

Echoing Senia’s comments about research in Self-Promotion for Introverts®, I included citations about aspects of self-promotion and introversion where it made sense. However, the topic of my book taken as an entirety, self-promotion specifically for introverts, is not something that has been a focus for researchers.

So I drew a lot on my experiences as an entrepreneur and as a marketing VP on Wall Street in addition to my extensive experience with clients and continuing education students over the years. I also interviewed more than 60 people for the book – introverts and extroverts alike – including business leaders and other people whose input I valued to offer a diversity of perspectives.

If you’d like a free glimpse at my book, you can read the Introduction section on my blog, http://www.selfpromotionforintroverts.com. Just click on “Read free excerpt” on the right side of the page under the book jacket. You might also check out the free video, which is just below that.

Senia 15 December 2009 - 5:07 am

Nancy, thanks so much for stopping by and adding your thoughts. Am enjoying your book VERY MUCH!

Nancy Ancowitz 17 December 2009 - 2:50 am


I’m so glad that you’re enjoying my book!

Happy reading,

Alrick Robinson 15 December 2010 - 9:35 pm

This topic is extremely useful and timely. So many persons fail for want of understanding themselves and simply take the usual judgmental views of their introvertness or ‘shyness’. As an introvert myself, I am aware that used with awareness it can be a source of strenght.


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