Review – Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking

By Susan Cain

Summary: At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society–from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.

Perhaps most inspiring, she introduces us to successful introverts–from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Finally, she offers invaluable advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a “pretend extrovert.”
This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.

Source: I purchased a paperback at a used bookstore.

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Quiet has been on my radar for awhile and my TBR for just as long, but since it’s nonfiction, it took me ages to finally open it. I read it to complete the Psychology category in the Eclectic Reader Challenge. I’m glad I finally picked it up. As I expected, I enjoyed the book.

As an introvert, I enjoyed the premise. I think it brought up relevant points about how introverts think and how certain environments deter creativity when they require social obligations. I like that it talked about how our society is better suited for extroverts instead of introverts and how it can be detrimental to us. I also love that it brought up how social media is something introverts use comfortably because I think it’s true that I am social.. when it is on my terms or online. I connected to a lot of the common traits and it’s nice to not be alone. I feel like I have to explain why I didn’t “do anything” over the weekend on Monday morning at work, but yet I feel rejuvenated. I shouldn’t have to be ashamed or weird that social events exhaust me. I also work in the service industry and I love my job, but a long day of customer interaction exhausts the crap out of me, too. I love that I’m not alone and that this book addresses all of those things. 

I think it’s a good book to give to extroverts dealing with introverted spouses, friends, family, children, or even employees because it addresses the ways we flourish and the things that hold us back and those things are small, like having too open of a floor plan or hovering over us at work or expecting us to host parties. With that being said, it won’t be easy for extroverts to read. Reading it makes introverts feel understood, but some of the facts about extroverts are harsh, like they don’t think before they act or they are more likely to have an affair. And maybe those are based on true statistics, but considering the author mentioned that there’s still not quite an agreement on what an introvert or extrovert truly is according to science, I feel like those “facts” are unfair. If there isn’t concrete data that everyone can agree on about the exact nature of an introvert or extrovert, then how can you break up statistics about infidelity and separate it into categories like that? 

Quiet was great to read as an introvert, but I really think it did a disservice to extroverts and was a tad unfair. Extroverts have wonderful qualities and they can lead just as well as introverts. Perhaps the examples and the point of the book assume that extroverts are the societal version of perfection and so it was overall ignoring those things in favor of promoting introversion in a more defensive way, but I don’t like that line of thinking. It’s okay to be shy, but I think it’s important to overcome my shyness and put myself out there. Fake it until I make it. And extroverts can do the same with their flaws and be the best leaders and decision makers they can be. It’s all about realizing how we are and taking steps to be better, whatever “better” is. Yes, our society is extroverted, but it’s not necessary to pretend like “normal” people are lacking in order to include introverts. It felt a bit like the whole health and body size issue. You can’t promote healthy body image and slam skinny people. We can include small and large people and agree people of all sizes can be healthy and than being too much of either MAY be a sign of an issue, but some people will always be naturally underweight and naturally overweight and it’s their business how they deal with their metabolisms.

I recommend Quiet, but recommend reading it with some skepticism, like any piece of nonfiction. There’s always a bias, even when authors attempt to write without one. The author did attempt to be fair and she did include disclosures about how not all people are the same, not all introverts are smart or good at decision making, so it’s not a complete dig at extroverts and I think it’s still a good idea for extroverts who care about, lead, and love introverts to read in order to bette understand them.

Star 4



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