Quiet by Susan Cain The Power of Introverts
Amazon Page for more details and reader reviews of Quiet by Susan Cain The Power of Introverts.
My verdict: MUST READ
Warning: most people have a misconception about the meaning of the word, 'introvert'. Having been associated for so long as the opposite of 'extrovert', which is considered to be the ideal and dominant personality type of our age. Read this book to gain a thorough understanding of what it means to be an introvert, to accept yourself just the way you are and make a permanent shift in your mindset about what you are capable to achieve.
It's no secret I'm a huge fan of Susan Cain and this book has helped me immensely to be okay with being quiet. I'm now actually proud to be an introvert and use this trait to my advantage.
What is this book about and who it might benefit?
If you're like me, you've probably been told a great many times to 'speak up', 'come out of your shell', and 'just be yourself'. And you more than likely also agonized over these commands, because although you did want to be outgoing and liked by people, in reality, any resemblance of extroversion, only lasted for brief moments.
This book is a god send to at least the third of the world's population who can be characterized as an introverted personality type. Although many definitions of introversion exist, Susan explains it as having a preference for a quieter, more minimally stimulating environment.
That could mean you're more likely to be listening than doing the talking, thinking hard before you actually open your mouth and feel drained after a few hours being around people.
You often engage in deep contemplation on the nature of life and may find small talk to be false and shallow.
This book offers a real empowering value at the core, and a comprehensive discussion about personality types backed by scientific research. Yet it's easy to read with plenty of illustrations of different kind of introverts, from Ghandi and Warren Buffet to the younger generation at school, who find it challenging to fit the idealized trait.
Quiet is presented in four sections;
- The extrovert ideal
- Your biology, your self?
- Do all cultures have an extrovert ideal?
- How to love, how to work
There's a huge misconception in today's world about personality types. So much so, that most people's idea of an introvert is synonymous with shy and socially awkward. And it's pretty much became the norm to think, if you're not outgoing and loud, then you must be the opposite - the inferior cousin of the extrovert.
This is of course hardly ever spelled out, but it does rear its head in every day language, even if people don't mean harm to the quieter ones. Just think of those jobs you couldn't apply to because one of their qualifying criteria was you must be outgoing!
The Power of Introverts
Quiet at its center is THE handbook for introverts. Not only you gain insight on the traits of introverts, but also you get an understanding of how extroverts became so dominant, and the preferred way to be.
We are taken on a fascinating history on how the ability of speaking became regarded as a gift, and then an increasingly important element to the business people of industrializing America at the turn of the century. Self-help books spewed knowledge for decades on how to achieve this glorified personality, as if it was a matter of practicing.
But don't believe the hype, there's a lot more to how we become who we are.
The author cites an interesting study carried out on a group of kids since they were infants. This research linked introversion to 'high reactivity', a physiological trait which can be observed showing higher activity in a particular part of the brain, when the child was confronted with a new situation. Not surprisingly those who showed higher reactivity, became more reflective and cautious as young adults.
In the latter chapters, Susan Cain gives some practical suggestions on how you may manage your relationships. She doesn't however, preach and the tone of the whole book is very gentle but encouraging.
We are presented with numerous examples on the value of introverts like being deep thinkers, conscientious and the ability to delay gratifications. At the least this book will give you insight into how you work and possibly will give you the courage to shine in ways you never imagined was possible.
Watch the below video for Susan's phenomenal TED talk on the nature of introverts.
“Don't think of introversion as something that needs to be cured.”
“Everyone shines, given the right lighting.”
“Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you're supposed to.”
“What if you love knowledge for its own sake, not necessarily as a blueprint to action? What if you wish there were more, not fewer reflective types in the world?”
“There's zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.”
The reason why I think it's a must read book, is because if you're someone who struggled with the idea that the best way to be is loud and outgoing - you'll have a nice surprise reading Quiet. It will enable you to see clearly your real values and that you don't have to be a certain way to enjoy and make the most of life.
As you can see, I really love this book. In fact, it helped me a couple of years ago to face one of my biggest fears; public speaking. I hope it will be equally as life changing for you! 🙂