Pages: 333 pages
Published: January 24, 2012
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Genre: Nonfiction, Self-Help
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.
In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also 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. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.
Do you enjoy solitude? Do you express yourself better through writing? Prefer to work on your own? Do you feel drained and tired from a day out with friends and family, although you enjoyed yourself? If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, then congratulations, you are an introvert. And if you are an introvert, then this book needs to be a definite addition to your bookshelf.
As an introvert, I am surrounded by a world that just doesn’t keep quiet. Introverts’ qualities and personalities are underappreciated in a society where being an extrovert is highly sought after and a more favorable personality. Because of this favoritism, I feel that the qualities I have are less worthwhile and I feel that something might be wrong with me. However, after reading this book, I realize that my “quiet” qualities and acute observation skills are something to be praised. Susan Cain’s well-researched and highly detailed book opens readers eyes to a world that was clouded by misconceptions and stereotypes. Cain not only obliterate those misconceptions, she makes introverts appreciate their “quiet” personalities and not to take themselves for granted. I always consider myself an outsider and a weirdo for wanting to sit at home with a book rather than going out to bars and clubs. I now know what I feel is normal and my personality is nothing to be ashamed.
The science behind the makeup of an introverted brain should have bored me to death (science usually does) but I found that part truly fascinating, especially the experiments that took place. I always had hard time believe that the balancing of in your brain can somehow affect how you feel and act, but somehow, the way Cain argued it not only made me a believer but provided a deeper understanding of our brain makeup and how we can use it to our own advantage.
This book is no way bashing extroverts. In fact they complement one another. Extroverts and introverts can work together and but it needs to be recognised that their contradiction relationship are the balance that the world needs. However, as Cain passionately argues, extroverts’ personality and the world’s favoritism for that personality should not eclipse the introverts’ worth and the positive impact that they contribute to society. I applauded the criticism that Cain gives about the favoritism towards extroverts, especially in the workplace and in schools. As a child, I was told by teachers that I had to participate more, a trend that continued when I went college. Even at work, I am continuously forced to have a more outspoken personality and encouraged (and times I feel it is forced) to be more personable and outgoing. Cain argues that this type of culture needs to stop but does provide useful techniques that introverts can use to deal with these type of situations.
The only pet peeve I had about this book is the type of people who Cain interviewed. They were all successful introverts and there is really no problem with that. However, I found it to be unrealistic. When you are trying to adapt to the average reader, it would be nice to hear about everyday introverts. Inspirational and uplifting as they were, there were times I was a little intimidated and felt that I couldn’t measure up to that success.
Intelligently written and passionately compelling, Quiet will have you examining different aspects of your life. A Quiet Revolution is a necessity in this world and this book is a great way to start the conversation.
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars