I had planned to use highlights from Susan Cain’s beautiful book to write this review but it seems my Adobe Reader has a mind of its own. All my highlights and bookmarks are gone ( this is why digital books will never beat real books).
Nevertheless, I still have plenty to say about this book. First, I am so happy this book was written and that I found it just when I needed it. I am an introvert and while I have found a way to survive in a world of extroverts. Sometimes the strain just gets to you and you start to ask yourself if there’s something wrong with you.
Apparently, there are a number of things that differentiates introverts from extroverts. Apart from the obvious ways: our personalities and preferences, but also physiologically. Susan Cain takes us through decades of research which point to one conclusion: our brains are just wired differently.
So can we survive alongside a majority of loud, thrill seeking social animals (this is how I see most extroverts)? Maybe we all just move into the wilderness so we can get all the quiet we need? Quiet explores why introversion hasn’t just died out of existence, along with our tails. Since it is made to seem like such an undesirable trait. The fact remains that there are times when introversion is just what we need to survive and vice versa.
We need both traits for survival but it doesn’t feel that way in this present world, does it? Everybody is trying to outshine the other, talk louder, be more charismatic, sleek etc. So much so that a lot of introverts are ready to risk serious mental and physical strain to fit in.
Quiet introduces us to a number of actions/activities introverts can adopt to avoid being overlooked without putting body/mind through unnecessary stress. I mean, we all know that the quiet ones have all the good ideas. 😉
However, introverts aren’t the only ones who can benefit from this book. I believe everyone has at least one introvert in their life. And if you are a parent, I think it’s very important for you to educate yourself on this subject. It’s unsettling whenever I see adults pushing a kid who would rather to spend his time reading a book to socialize with people he has never met before. This might not seem like a big deal but if you take the time to understand the world through an introvert’s eyes, you might get it.
This is an example of the kind of humiliation many introverts had to go through in school:
Lou Anne Johnson, who is a schoolteacher now, recalls that her earliest school memory is being made to stand on a stool in kindergarten because she preferred to sit in the corner and read books, and the teacher wanted her to “interact.”
I know many people won’t understand but just reading this, I started to get goosebumps and nauseated. This teacher probably meant well but this qualifies as torture in my book.
I have so much to say on this topic and I could go on forever but what I will leave you with is that there are different kinds of people in the world and we all need each other, this is what makes us stronger.
This book was an easy read, not just because of my interest in the subject matter but also because it wasn’t written like a project report.
Susan Cain presents her case with stories of how extroversion became an ideal trait, interviews with researchers, her own experiences and observations, and stories from actual people who have had to navigate their way to find balance in the real world.
I am not a big non-fiction reader and I usually take about a month to finish a book that doesn’t have dialogue, but I never got bored with this one. This is a good thing because I want everybody to read it.
Title: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Author: Susan Cain
Published by: Crown Publishers
Year of Publication: 2012
Genre: Non fiction
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.