Subtitle: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

I found this book listed on the Goodreads Choice Awards for 2012.  When I saw it, I knew, for me, it was a must read.  My family is equally populated with introverts and extroverts, most of which test only slightly to one side or the other on Myers-Briggs.  Perhaps that makes us all ambiverts, although some of us were so distinctly introverted from a very young age, I think they have probably simply adopted more extraverted characteristics over time.  I wanted to read Quiet because I hoped it would give me some insight into dealing with my more introverted family members.  It did.  It also reinforced many ideas I had formed about how mistakenly western society interprets introversion and how strongly it favors extraversion.

Some fallacies:

  • Introverts are anti-social.  (Actually, they enjoy people and conversation.  They need to connect, but they often do it in a more intimate way.)
  • Introverts are simply undeveloped extroverts.
  • “Introverted” is just another word for shy.

The book is not a self-help manual.  It is an interesting and entertaining mix of research, insight, and personal experience.  It also uses biographical examples, including stories about such famous introverts as Rosa Parks, Steve Wozniak, and Mahatma Gandhi, and “unknowns” Susan Cain met while researching, to show that success and happiness are not within the sole domain of extroverts.  Ms. Cain spends a lot of time evaluating the impact of extraversion obsession on society, particularly in educational and occupational settings.  She also addresses the possibilities of implementing more “introverted” methodologies in these areas.  Quiet is a quality book that begs for a reread and motivates me to further study in this area.

You can hear a Ted talk by Susan Cain here (it happens to be on Bill Gates’ 13 favorite talks list), or go straight to her website, check out her ideas, and buy a copy of her book here.

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Comments
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