The book that started the Quiet Revolution At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who. Editorial Reviews. blocwindcotssidi.cf Review. site Best Books of the Month, January How many introverts do you know? The real answer will probably . Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking is a non- fiction book written by Susan Cain. Cain argues that modern Western culture.
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Quiet book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the one. Advice and stories for introverts and extroverts alike on how to appreciate our quiet sides. Featuring essays, videos, interviews, and more. In fact, I read much of Susan Cain's book shaking my head in wonder and thinking: "So that's why I'm like that! It's because I'm an introvert!.
But still, it's frustrating. What makes being an introvert so hard is that——especially in the US——we are held up to what Susan Cain calls the "Extrovert Ideal. Extroverted people are thought of as being more important, more authoritative, and more attractive. We're constantly told that in order to succeed, we need to stand up for ourselves, push others out of the way, be the loudest, take the most risks.
You won't get a good job, you won't succeed, no one will want to date you Needless to say, I hate being shy. I'm tired of always being told that I need to speak up more, that I just have to be more confident. It's like, do you think I want to be this way? Do you think I enjoy not being able to say what I want to say, that I feel totally idiotic every time I open my mouth, that I don't even want people to look at me because I'm so self-conscious? Trust me, if I could, I would be more confident.
If I could just shut off all the thoughts in my head, I would gladly speak up more often. But I've always felt like my brain just wasn't wired that way.
See a Problem?
People act as if it's as easy as just speaking up, that the leap from being introverted to being extraverted is as easy as, "You know what? I'm just not going to be shy today! It's not like that at all. It's like, when I'm surrounded by people I don't or only barely know, I just go on lockdown. My mind doesn't generate things to say.
My mouth refuses to open. I just completely freeze up. And it's not that I don't want to participate in the conversation. I wish talking was easy for me. I do want to contribute. Yet, there's this voice in my head telling me to not say anything, and to just sit back and observe. So, obviously, this is a very frustrating trait to have. It holds me back in a lot of social situations. I have trouble making friends although I do have friends, so don't worry. I've managed to live for two decades without ever having a boyfriend.
My grades have suffered. So on and so forth. I've struggled with this my whole life, I constantly beat myself up about it … I've always wondered what the hell was wrong with me. Why couldn't I just magically gain some confidence? Why couldn't I just suck it up and be a more social person?
I've spent my whole life trying to find something to blame, some reason why I've always been like this. Is it because I'm part of a large family, and therefore I've always felt like I should just keep my problems to myself?
Is it because I grew up in such an academically competitive town where there was too much pressure to be the star student? Of course, there must be various contributing factors. But according to Cain's book, it may be due more to nature than to nurture than we may think.
And apparently, people with more active amygdalae——a part of the brain that plays a significant role in processing memory and emotional reactions——are far more likely to be introverts. People fall roughly into two groups: Also, high reactive does not automatically equal introverted and low reactive doesn't automatically equal extroverted, but research suggests a strong correlation between the two traits.
But what's most important to realize about levels of reactivity is that they can't be controlled. Cain discusses one study in which infants were tested for how reactive they were to stimuli——and a majority of high-reactive infants grew up to be introverts, while the low-reactive infants tended to grow up to be extroverts.
It's studies such as these that suggest we don't choose introversion or extroversion; they are built into our DNA.
Susan Cain’s ‘Quiet’ Argues for the Power of Introverts
One can easily fake one or the other. That is, you can be an introvert and still speak a lot and socialize frequently——it's just that, as an introvert, you will be more drained by social interaction. Because introverts are often more high-reactive individuals and therefore react more strongly to stimuli, a room of new faces is much more exhausting to process than it would be for someone who is more low-reactive. I could go on and on about this, but of course——if you want to learn more, I highly suggest reading this book.
There's a lot of fascinating information about the subject. Quiet seriously changed the way I think about myself. I still dislike being shy and introverted for many reasons.
But after reading this, I also know that I might not have the same creative and observant traits that I have now, if I were extroverted instead. And more importantly, I know that it isn't my fault for being this way——and that millions of people face the same struggle that I do. I don't know if I can say that I really accept who I am, at least not yet. But at least I feel like I understand it a lot better. Over all, I think this book is well-written and well-researched, and Cain narrates it with heart and humor——drawing from her own experience as an introvert alongside her studies of the subject.
I thought Quiet was brilliant, and I recommend it to introverts and extroverts alike. View all 87 comments. Mary Sue Adams Wish I had read this years ago and I would have been more accepting of my husbands lack of desire to socialize, as well as understood just how uncomfo Wish I had read this years ago and I would have been more accepting of my husbands lack of desire to socialize, as well as understood just how uncomfortable it made him. Instead I felt there was something about me that made him embaressed.
Oneda vashko Brilliant review, I really want to read this book! May 29, Sep 25, Yvonne rated it it was amazing. Thank you, Susan Cain, for writing this remarkable book! As an introvert who has always been regarded as not only quiet, but also timid and weak, this book is very refreshing. It puts into words what many introverts know intuitively; strength does not have to be loud, in your face, or aggressive. Strength and conviction can present themselves quietly without sacrificing effectiveness.
Through impressive research, Ms. Cain clearly demonstrates the importance of both personality types and the valu Thank you, Susan Cain, for writing this remarkable book!
Cain clearly demonstrates the importance of both personality types and the value of introversion. I only wish that I could have read this book when I was younger so that I would have been more confident and accepting of my own nature. After reading it now, I do feel that I can better articulate the importance of my role in society and take pride in the contributions that introverts have made throughout history.
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May 23, Felicia rated it it was amazing Shelves: Quiet is a fascinating book about the prejudice that our society faces against introverts, and why it's unfounded, and how, as an introvert, you can overcome that, as well as just KNOW yourself better. I never really classified myself as such before, but reading this, I understand why, if I'm exhausted, all I want to be is alone, and how I'm extroverted only when I can control my environment and how that's a THING!
If you're shy or are unsure, this is a great read. I think you'll discover something about yourself, that's why I've recommended to a lot of people lately! View 1 comment. Jan 27, Julie Christine rated it it was amazing Shelves: Once upon a time there was a woman who dreaded the staff meeting roundtable, when each person had to share what was good or bad or on their professional plate that week or in their personal life. This same woman could take the stage before an audience in the hu Once upon a time there was a woman who dreaded the staff meeting roundtable, when each person had to share what was good or bad or on their professional plate that week or in their personal life.
This same woman could take the stage before an audience in the hundreds at a conference and deliver a speech with poise, loving every moment she was in the spotlight. That I am an introvert is not news to me. What it does mean, among many things, is that socializing wears me out.
It means I love process, not reward. And when I have something to say, please be patient. Knowing that I prefer to be alone—that I have little tolerance for casual social situations—never released me from feeling that I needed to overcome my social awkwardness and impatience, my thin skin and tendency to fret about the future and things beyond my control.
I thought these were faults, not characteristics of a personality type shared by millions, most of us existing in contemplative, considerate silence. Through research, anecdotal interviews and personal experiences, Cain explores the ways introverted personalities manifest themselves in the workplace and personal relationships. The highly sensitive tend to be philosophical or spiritual in their orientation, rather than materialistic or hedonistic.
They dislike small talk. They often describe themselves as creative or intuitive. They love music, nature, art, physical beauty. They feel exceptionally strong emotions—sometimes acute bouts of joy, but also sorrow, melancholy, and fear. Reading this, I realized one of the reasons I tend to shut myself off and away is because I am overwhelmed by my own helplessness to change the world. I take things so personally and feel them so deeply that I become frozen in place, not knowing how to translate feeling into action.
Hers was realizing that she was never cut out to be a corporate lawyer; mine, a university and corporate administrator. There are many aspects of our professions in which we excelled, rising quickly through the ranks.
But neither of us is cut out for committee work, for schmoozing and glad-handing, for blowing our own horn—all required in legal circles, ivory towers and boardrooms. I loved the one-on-one time I spent counseling students, building relationships with individual faculty, developing administrative processes and procedures, doing research and yes, presenting at conferences and leading workshops, for which I rehearsed and prepared weeks in advance.
So, for fifteen years I left job after job just at the pinnacle of power and success—always the Bridesmaid, never the Bride. I never really knew why, except that something was inherently wrong with me. At last, I accept nothing is wrong with me; denying myself the opportunity to advance was recognition that moving up meant moving into roles for which I was constitutionally not suited.
Now I am a writer. And a happy little clam. Social media is a great release for me, because I only talk when I want to, I have all the time in the world to construct my thoughts which I can edit later! Quiet has given me permission not to regard my limited in-person social circle as evidence of a failure of personality, but as respect given to my true nature: A Manifesto for Introverts from Quiet 1. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation. The next generation of quiet kids can and must be raised to know their own strengths.
Sometimes it helps to be a pretend extrovert. There will always be time to be quiet later. But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is key to finding work you love and work that matters.
One genuine new relationship is worth a fistful of business cards. Love is essential; gregariousness is optional. View all 48 comments. Jan 25, Diane rated it it was amazing Shelves: This book blew my mind.
I loved it so much that I wish I could give a copy to all of my friends and relatives. Susan Cain does an excellent job of explaining the different strengths between introverts and extroverts, and the history of how America came to idealize extroverts. I agree that as a society we tend to value the gregarious go-getters, the loud talkers, the forceful presenters.
But Cain's book reminds us that societies need introverts, too — the thinkers, the listeners, the people who lo This book blew my mind. But Cain's book reminds us that societies need introverts, too — the thinkers, the listeners, the people who look before leaping. The long, long, long list of introverts in history includes: Rowling, Lewis Carroll, W. As an introvert, I found the book comforting and inspiring. But extroverts who are in relationships with introverts or who are parents of an introvert would also do well to read this book.
The author has good tips for how to handle introverts, especially children. Gregariousness is optional Use your natural powers -- of persistence, concentration, insight and sensitivity -- to do work you love and work that matters. Solve problems, make art, think deeply. Figure out what you are meant to contribute to the world and make sure you contribute it. Cain's book profoundly changed how I viewed myself, others, and our various roles in society.
I have recommended this book to numerous friends, and some of them commented on how grateful they were to have read it. I will add managers and supervisors to the list of people who I think should read this book, because it helps to explain some workplace and group dynamics. While the writing isn't perfect I remember Cain meanders a bit , I'm leaving my rating at 5 stars because of how powerful and inspirational this book has been.
Aug 28, Julie rated it really liked it Shelves: As an extreme introvert, this book definitely feels like a form of validation. There is nothing wrong with me. There are other people out there just like me, who avoid social situations at all cost, would rather take a good beating than speak publicly Quiet: There are other people out there just like me, who avoid social situations at all cost, would rather take a good beating than speak publicly, who feel drained after social occasions, and who must have alone time.
There are people who, like myself, tried to fake an extrovert personality, but were miserable because it. In a world that is increasingly group oriented, that recognizes the loud, outspoken, forceful personality over the quiet, soft spoken, unassuming temperament, this book is a Godsend. But, while the book explains the tendencies of the introvert and offers some theories on how people develop this type of temperament, and how to cope and compromise in order to fulfill your job duties and family obligations without suffering an overabundance of anxiety or develop depression or a dependence on medication, this book is also a must read for extroverts!
How can employers create a workplace setting that brings out the best of both temperaments? Many people work better and are far more productive when working alone, and have much to contribute, but are often drowned out by the constant cacophony surrounding them.
While I agree with nearly everything the author writes, most of the scientific studies and analogies were only moderately interesting and highly debatable. Not everything mentioned here will pertain to every single person who identifies as an introvert. There is also a section for parents who may worry about an introverted child, and how to encourage that child, not change them.
Overall, I am so happy to see the problems introverts face in an extroverted world, addressed and brought to the forefront. View all 28 comments. Jan 29, Bradley rated it it was amazing Shelves: Most of this, to be honest, is self-explanatory, but the rest is a fairly comprehensive exploration of how extroversion became a public ideal back in the 's, replacing the power of character with personality and the social stigma that has ever since been placed upon people who don't seem vibrant and ebullient.
This book tells us to relax. Be ourselves. Value what you value and understand that some people aren't naturally conflict avoidant, that they like to express anger, surround themselves with a bunch of shallow social jostlers, and that we oughtn't judge our extroverted peers when they jump into decision-making strategies that sink ships and endanger the lives of everyone around them just because they couldn't be bothered to think things through before opening their damn mouths.
And please don't judge all the sheep that are impressed by the aggressive blowhards and follow on their every word because they're just so damn charismatic, either.
It's okay to think and spend some time alone from others. It might just be the salvation of the world if enough of us just throw off the yoke of social expectations or the stigma of shyness and just get prepared, build up all our talents and reserves in peace, and strike when the time is perfect. We're not unobservant, after all. We just have little patience for bullshit. And even if society has taught us to lie our asses off whenever we're expected to be gregarious and social in all those damn shallow ways that others tell us are the only way to make it in this world, don't despair.
Oh, and GoodReads is a hotbed for a grass-roots introvert revolution. I don't think anyone here will have any real difficulty cultivating contacts and building their networking, because, after all, we're all discussing things that are very important to us and we're diving deep into the material, wallowing in our talents and our passions, and when we rise, And Oh!
We will Rise! We will rise like the phoenix from the ashes of social scorn and we will scour the world of all those who would ever deny us our right to sit in silence to read our favorite book or sit in silence to write a chapter in our next brilliant novel. We Will Overcome! Some interpretations of this book are mine only and should not be associated with the author.
View all 68 comments. Aug 03, Heidi The Reader rated it it was amazing Shelves: Quiet entered my life at a particularly low moment. Allow me to set the scene: I had been on vacation for a week and a half.
We were in Colorado, visiting my husband's family, some of whom I had met before, others whom I had not. I knew I wasn't going to be entirely comfortable being around people the whole trip- I'm a huge introvert and I'm self aware enough to know that I need downtime, and quite a bit of it, to feel as if I'm functioning normally.
But I didn't realize that my husband, who is Quiet entered my life at a particularly low moment. But I didn't realize that my husband, who is just as introverted as I am and who I was counting on to help me through all of the introductions, dinners, conversations, etc, was going to immerse himself in Pokemon Go a majority of the time and essentially leave me to my own devices.
As Susan Cain would say, he found a "restorative niche" for himself in a digital world. It was hard on me as I didn't have that escape.
So, here we are, visiting a friend's home and my daughter, who strangely enough is a huge extrovert the exact opposite of her parents , is struggling. She's tired, out-of-sorts, and throwing a sulk every ten minutes. I'm meeting yet more people, trying to hold trite conversations, and steer my child, all the while just wanting to retreat into a cave and not talk to anyone for a very long time.
Honestly, I felt that way before we reached the party, but things seemed to get much, much worse the moment we arrived. It had been building over the course of the vacation, but that day, my internal clamor reached a boiling point. My husband was oblivious to my growing discomfort as he's catching Pokemon, again. I don't mean to sound bitter here, but I suppose that I am. I had forced myself for ten days to be social, keep the smile on my face, keep everything flowing smoothly.
To my horror, I realize that I am about to have a panic attack in the middle of this crowd of people, more than half of whom I don't even know.
I grab my keys and leave.
I drive a couple blocks away, castigating myself for not being able to handle it and just pissed because, once again, like many times in my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, I feel like I'm failing at life because I'm not a social butterfly.
I can't stand to be around strangers for extended periods of time. I've always been this way- overly sensitive to others, noise, motion, events. I really dislike groups, parties, places where I have to circulate with a bunch of people who don't know me or care about anything that I have to say. The tears fell down my cheeks as I opened up my tablet and began reading this book. And I discovered that about half of all people are just like me.
Thank you, Susan Cain. Your book gave me the courage to drive back to my friend's house and face the rest of the evening. I am not a pariah. I am an introvert and perhaps I can do a better job figuring out when I've reached my socializing limits before I meltdown.
Many of the positive attributes of introverts which Susan describes, I totally have, I've just never considered them as worth the trade-off of the extroverted personality. I notice small details, have a great memory for conversations and events, long past the time when others forget such things. I think carefully about problems and people, devoting time to taking apart small nuances of books and movies, that other people don't even consider, which makes me a good reviewer of media- perfect for my job as a librarian.
Susan nailed my general feeling about myself in the introduction: Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we've turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.
My role at the reference desk calls for an extroverted personality but I muddle through it, because I care about the job and helping others. Usually, I come home from work, totally worn out and in need of quiet time to unwind. Susan helped me understand that sometimes "faking it" is worth it, if it for a cause that means something to you and that others do the exact same thing that I do.
Pull out the mask for the job, but then allow yourself the freedom to be who you really are at home: My favorite parts of the book were about sensitivity and social situations. Take this passage: Maybe we've adopted dark glasses, relaxed body language, and alcohol as signifiers precisely because they camouflage signs of a nervous system on overdrive. Sunglasses prevent others from seeing our eyes dilate with surprise or fear; we know from Kagan's work that a relaxed torso is a hallmark of low reactivity; and alcohol removes our inhibitions and lowers our arousal levels.
When you go to a football game and someone offers you a beer, says the personality psychologist Brian Little, "they're really saying hi, have a glass of extroversion.
I may use that in my life. The extroverts are more likely to focus on what's happening around them. It's as if extroverts are seeing "what is" while their introverted peers are asking "what if. Yeah, I do that too.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. It saved an evening for me, but more importantly, it changed the way that I view myself. There is power in knowing that you're not alone. Again, thank you, Susan Cain. Some read-alikes: The Introvert's Way: View all 21 comments. Mar 06, Megan Baxter rated it liked it.
There's a real pleasure in recognition. Hearing about yourself, finding out you're not alone, it can be a huge relief and release. And so, as a long-time although fairly gregarious introvert, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Not much of it was truly surprising, but still, it's nice to read a book that validates the way I tend to operate anyway. The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decisio There's a real pleasure in recognition.
You can read why I came to this decision here. In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook View all 15 comments.
Aug 12, Glenn Sumi rated it really liked it Shelves: This book spoke directly to my soul, to the core of my being. But introverts, those quiet people who are trying to focus while people are blabbing all around them, have a lot to contribute. Yet they're often ignored. Early sections of the book are devoted to closely examining this extrovert ideal, in a hellishly hilarious Tony Robbins motivation seminar; in the running of a super church; and in studying how Dale Carnegie altered the social landscape with his gung-ho bible How To Win Friends And Influence People.
It has practical applications. Cain suggests how the extroverts in the business world may have caused the Wall Street crash.
I understand this. I have to decompress afterwards with close friends. Or go home and read a book. One of the most valuable lessons Cain teaches us is to follow our instincts, especially concerning work and love.
To go against our natures could be fatal. Cain also offers up inspiring examples of introverts throughout history: Each one is instructive and remarkable. The book gets bogged down near the end by illustrations of how introverts and extroverts can get along.
This is a remarkable book, and essential reading for teachers, employers and parents. And for all of you thoughtful friends and readers on Goodreads.
View all 35 comments. Part I: Prelude to the review Part II: An introvert walks into a bookstore I read a review on this book today and decided I had to download it right away. I consider myself somewhat of an introvert, even though not everyone around me agrees on that, because you know, I talk to people and can be pleasant at the same time.
Convincing people there's more to the introvert-extrovert distinction than that hasn't always proven easy. I was hoping this boo Part I: I was hoping this book would prove my point, at the very least for me. I went to the Waterstones branch in Brussels, which is a ten minute walk from where I work. I had to be back in thirty minutes, giving me ten minutes at the store itself to look for the book. Yes, when I said "right away" earlier, I meant right away.
Not half a day could wait.
I go in the store and proceed up to the first floor to check out the non-fiction segments. I do not find the book. I put my head and neck in every possible angle, scanning the shelves from every possible perspective, to no avail.
Surely, I must be looking in the wrong shelf. Maybe it's downstairs, because they have a table of bestselling non-fiction there as well, so maybe it's there. I make my way back down and I look and I find nothing. I've been in the store for at least 7 minutes now, so running out of options, I approach two people working for the store, rudely interrupting their conversation which I was trying to avoid intruding upon earlier.
They inform me that the book should be there on the shelf, the one I had checked earlier. I pretend I didn't check it earlier and thank them for their kind and helpful information.
I go back to the shelf with renewed confidence I would find it this time. Cold sweat. I return to the employees, sadly noting that my interruption seemingly meant the end to their conversation, and inquired again. The lady says it's a completely white cover as opposed to the cover I was subconsciously looking for because of the example I had seen on Goodreads and mentally kick myself when she escorts me to the shelf to point it out.
But, to her consternation and to my relief, it isn't there. Did I check downstairs? I cautiously respond in the affirmative. She will check the computer, she's certain there are copies available. Computer says Yes! It's in the store, but probably still in the storage room. She asks me to wait while she goes to fetch it. I'm already running out of time I had ran out of time four minutes prior, to be exact , but quietly thank her for her enthusiasm in helping me.
She returns five minutes later, visibly having gone through physical efforts to help me out. The copy she hands me is damaged, dirty and it has a sticker on it which I know won't be removed without further damage.
In short: I smile, I thank her, and download the book. Now I'm here, late at work, and with a brand-new dirty damaged book beside me. Yes, this book is proving I'm introverted alright. Yay me.
Or maybe I'm confusing lack of being assertive with introversion. Whatever the case, this book will teach.
It has already begun doing so, in any case. Before I started reading this book, I was hoping it would do two things: It gets three stars because it told me what I wanted to hear. This book is the voice of those who are disinclined to use theirs: It puts the introverts under a shower of compliments, in the kind of spotlight we're comfortable in: This may seem like a ridiculous reason to give stars to a book, but I think it's a good thing that someone gave attention to a group of people who are not used to, and not always comfortable with, getting so much positive feedback.
I can imagine it being a helpful outstretched hand to those introverts who have felt misunderstood, out of place or underappreciated. A hand which shows that what they have been struggling with wasn't just inside their mind.
It's a fact that society, being largely built on communication and intense interaction, can seem unfit for those who prefer the thinking-mode and absence of interaction most of the time. So on a personal level, this book definitely can have its value. Thanks so much to Susan Cain for teaching the world about introverts and letting all those unappreciated introverts here in the West know that we are powerful and we, too can change the world.
Date published: Rated 5 out of 5 by MaG5 from A must-read If you're an introvert, this book is for you. Even if you're not an introvert, this book is for you! An interesting topic with beautiful insight. Amazingly written. Definitely worth the read, trust me. As a quiet person myself, I could relate so well and it helped me understand myself better as well as helped me to be able to express and explain myself to others. Date published: Rated 5 out of 5 by Sydney from Absolutely necessary to read Finally a book that appreciates introverts.
I am not finished reading this book yet but so far I love it and I'm learning so much about myself. It's absolutely reassuring to read material that resonates so well with who I am.
Not only has this book provided insight in to the lives of introverts and extraverts , but I've also gained a lot of confidence knowing that just because I have introverted tendencies doesn't mean I am incapable of impacting the world. Thanks so much to Susan for writing such a detailed and well-thought out resource like this.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking [Paperback]
Date published: Rated 5 out of 5 by Andie from Incredibly insight A great read for anyone who thinks there is something wrong with being introverted, and also for those who think being extroverted is the only "right" thing plumreview Date published: Rated 5 out of 5 by Sonya from Recommended to any Introvert out there Where has this book been all my life.
I enjoyed this as it helped me to better understand myself as a fellow introvert and opposites like extoverts. I would recommend this to anyone as it is well written and researched.
I could have used this book growing up as the shy, quiet kid! Date published: Rated 5 out of 5 by Hayley from Inspiring I love love loved this book! Date published: Rated 5 out of 5 by Karen from Loved this book Absolutely amazing read and I think any teacher or manager should definitely have a read.
Children sit in pods facing each other and are rewarded for being outgoing rather than original. I finished Quiet a month ago and I can't get it out of my head.
It is in many ways an important book — so persuasive and timely and heartfelt it should inevitably effect change in schools and offices. It's also a genius idea to write a book that tells introverts — a vast proportion of the reading public — how awesome and undervalued we are. I'm thrilled to discover that some of the personality traits I had found shameful are actually indicators that I'm amazing. It's a Female Eunuch for anxious nerds.
I'm not surprised it shot straight to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list. Cain says we're "especially empathic". We think in an "unusually complex fashion". We prefer discussing "values and morality" to small talk about the weather. We "desire peace". We're "modest". The introvert child is an "orchid — who wilts easily", is prone to "depression, anxiety and shyness, but under the right conditions can grow strong and magnificent".
When I get to this part I think: We are like orchids! With good parenting we can become "exceedingly kind, conscientious and successful at the things that matter to us". Then I feel embarrassed that I derived pleasure from being compared to an orchid and I realise that sometimes Cain succumbs to the kind of narcissistic rhetoric she eschews in extroverts. The way forward, she argues, is to create offices that have open-plan bits for the extroverts and nooks and crannies where the quiet people can be quiet.
A bit like the Pixar offices. In this she reminds me of the similarly measured Jonathan Safran Foer , whose anti-meat lectures climax in a suggestion that we should try if possible to eat one or two vegetarian meals a week. Give me this kind of considered good sense over showy radical polemicism any day. But sometimes her brilliant ideas aren't written quite so brilliantly. Her book can be a bit of a slog, not always a page turner. I wish she'd spent a bit more time adventuring and a bit less time analysing and philosophising and citing vast armies of psychologists.
I love feeling her pain when she journeys out of her comfort zone to "life coaching" conventions. But those adventures vanish as the book wears on, and it starts to drag a little, especially during the many chapters about how brain scans seem to demonstrate neurological differences between extroverts and introverts.
I don't know why popular psychology books feel so compelled these days to cite endless fMRI studies. As any neurologist will tell you, we still have very little idea about why certain bits of our brains light up under various circumstances. And there's a bigger nagging thought I couldn't shake throughout the book.Her diligence, research, and passion for this important topic has richly paid off.
In contrast, the calm infants, seemingly unfazed by the new stimuli, grew up to be more extroverted. Food for thought for this reader. A must read for everyone, not just introverts. But according to Cain's book, it may be due more to nature than to nurture than we may think. It's studies such as these that suggest we don't choose introversion or extroversion; they are built into our DNA.
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