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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

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

Author: Susan Cain
Originally Published: 2012
Publisher: Crown Publishers, a division of Random House
Source: Gift from parents at Christmas

The Story

QuietFrom the inside cover flap:

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 “quite,” 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-reach 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.

The Response

Susan Cain was one of the speakers at 2012’s Blissdom Canada conference. I had heard of her book prior to seeing her speak, but didn’t know much about it or the ideas it puts forward. Listening to her speak, I knew I had to pick up Quiet… It was like she GOT me. She understood who I was, how I was motivated, and why I frame my life in the way that I do. It was inspiring. After that point, I knew I needed to read her book.

While I got this book for Christmas, I didn’t start reading it until recently, and wasn’t really able to put it down… which is quite unusual for me when it comes to non-fiction books.

This book was divided into four parts:

  • The Extrovert Ideal
  • Your Biology, Your Self?
  • Do All Cultures Have an Extrovert Ideal?
  • How to Love, How to Work

Each part equally focused on different approaches to explain and illustrate introversion – from Cain’s personal experiences, to interviews with introverts, to scientific studies about introversion. There was a lot of information that was covered in this book, and the varying ways the information is presented really helps to bring across stuff in a meaningful and memorable sort of way.

While each section was extremely interesting to read, I think the part that I enjoyed most was the fourth part, How to Love, How to Work. This focused a lot on some things that I struggle the most with – especially how introverts and extroverts need to communicate. I’ve realized a bit more about why the bf acts the way he does (as he is a crazy crazy extrovert), and I’m hoping I can convince him to read at least this part so that he can understand a bit better why I act the way I do.

Reading other’s experiences was another highlight for me. It certainly is reassuring to know that there are other people who would rather stay at home instead of going to a party. Or that there are others who need to get away on their own in order to recharge after a draining event. I am relieved that I am not the only one.

The Bottom Line

This book spoke to me in a way that I rarely come across in non-fiction books. It was amazing how much this helped enlighten me on myself. I would definitely highly recommend this to other introverts, as well as extroverts who are trying to understand introverts a little better.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:38 am May 29, 2013.
Category: Non-Fiction
Book Author(s):

  • Kailana

    I really want to read this at some point. It has been on my wish list for ages…