Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain
Genre: Non-fiction; Introversion; Temperament
Summary: In Quiet, Susan Cain, a self-proclaimed introvert, examines introversion. Through the course of the text, Cain sheds light on how introverts are often viewed with derision in American society, and throughout the course of the investigation, she explains why this kind of thinking is wrong.
Review: I have always been a quiet person. When I was a child, people used to make it apparent that being an introvert was a bad thing, and I should “just come out of my shell” so I could be like everyone else. Everyone was very well-meaning about this, of course, but because of this, I always felt like something was wrong with me; however, over the past few years, I’ve really embraced what being an introvert means. Quiet reinforced my positive feelings on introversion, and I truly think both introverts, extroverts, and everyone in between should read it, just so they can understand the introvert mind a bit better.
Throughout the course of this book, there were many “Aha!” moments for me, and I was often nodding along in agreement as I flipped through the pages. Sometimes I’ve felt bad that I’d rather stay at home with a book than go out and gallivant around town (probably because others say this is how I should live), but this book really made me feel vindicated. I love that introversion isn’t being demonized for once, and it was great to see the accomplishments that many introverts have made to society highlighted so everyone can see how valuable we can be.
One of the things that really struck a cord with me was the open concept office plan. While I (thankfully) do not work in that type of environment, I know many people who do and I honestly can’t figure out how they get anything productive done. Even though some people may work best that way, it definitely doesn’t work for everyone.
Similarly, the author also spoke of how schools are moving more towards group work and creating pods of three or more people. I’m so glad that this wasn’t in place when I was in primary school, as I was always the type to reflect upon things on my own and then provide an answer; it’s how I do my best work. I did, however, notice the emphasis on group work and small discussion groups in grad school, and my anxiety would often go through the roof in said classes as I tried to formulate something intelligent to say because my grade depended on it. I’ve always been someone who won’t talk unless I actually have something to say, so it was nice to see that other people can relate to that, too.
Another great aspect of this book was the fact that the author highlighted the ways in which introverts and extroverts need each other. Neither temperament type was vilified, but rather, strengths of both, especially introverts, were explored. I thought that the inclusion of both was incredibly balanced and fair.
I could ramble on and on about this, but I think I'll stop now. If you’ve ever wondered about the inner workings of an introvert, or if you, too, are an introvert, it would definitely be worth your time to read Quiet. For more information on different temperaments, check out anything written about the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator).