I started reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain last year but never got around to finishing it and had to return it to the library. To solve that problem, I just bought it off Amazon!
Overall, I think this is a fascinating read and it isn’t just for those that consider themselves introverts. Considering that 30-50% of the population is considered an introvert (quoting the book), you will either be working with one, friends with one, or have a child that is one. Cain aimed to clarify the definition of being introverted (not the same as shy!) and emphasize that there is an introvert-extrovert spectrum and it’s not all black and white. Having done the brief questionnaire, I found out that I’m an ambivert, meaning that I’m a bit of both extrovert and introvert, or I just like to say that I’m an introvert with extroverted tendencies. Cain also presents multiple scientific studies that demonstrate the difference in behaviours and reactions between introverts and extroverts, as well as providing strategies to cope if you’re an introvert in our very extroverted world.
One of my biggest takeaways from this book is that it’s not always good to be extroverted. Having gone through 4 years of business school at Sauder and even through high school, I had it ingrained in me that being introverted was bad/wrong/troublesome and ideally one wanted to be extroverted. But we have to treat it as we would treat working with different cultures, it’s not wrong, but simply different. This is also an important point to remember if you’re an extrovert with an introverted child. Nothing is “wrong” with your child, they’re just different from you and don’t fit into the ideal of our current culture. For a successful and functioning society, both introverts and extroverts are required.
Another point I found interesting was our shift in Western culture. In the book, Cain describes it as a change from a Culture of Character to a Culture of Personality. Simply put, once upon a time, “the ideal self was serious, disciplined and honorable“, but nowadays we are “captivated by people who [are] bold and entertaining“. It’s like comparing Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy with Dale Carnegie.
One of the downsides of the book is it contains a lot of psychology studies and some medical terms that not everyone would be familiar with (brain regions and neurotransmitters). But if you’re a psychology buff like I am, you’ll find it intriguing. But even then I was forcing myself to read through certain chapters because some got quite academic. Solution: just power through to get to the good parts!
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a great day! Also, let me know if you have any reading suggestions 🙂