Sunday, January 19, 2014

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

The review below originally appeared in Fully Booked's Zine. I highly recommend this book to any introverts or people with introvert friends or partners so that they can better understand themselves or their partners. I was originally wary of this book because I was worried it would be a rah!rah! book espousing the greatness of introverts, but I really like its balanced approach. If you're thinking about picking the book up, please consider doing so through my Amazon Affiliates link.

As a self avowed introvert, Quiet : The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking was a revelation to me.  It explained to me why it is that I don’t particularly like parties (introverts prefer meaningful conversations over light banter), why I like being early to meetings in areas I’m not familiar with (introverts are more comfortable when we know the area and “own” the space) and why working from home is the perfect situation for me (introverts are easy overstimulated and need quiet places for their minds to think).  These are things that I’ve always inherently known and understood about myself, but it’s good to know that there’s decades of research behind it.

 Cain also explores the “extrovert ideal” and why it has such a powerful hold on (mostly western) societies.  She links the extrovert ideal to the financial crisis of 2008, making the case that the collapse of so many financial institutions might have been averted had the advice of more cautious introverts been heeded.  Ultimately she argues that the best organizations have a good mix of go-getting extroverts and mindful introverts and gives both personality types the kind of working space that they need to excel.  

However it’s not just the office space that Cain explores in this book.  She offers up examples of introverts at school, as parents and children, in relationships, in religious institutions, and a variety of other social situations.  If this book were to come out as a distilled “How-To” guide for introverts it would shoot up to number one on the sales charts.  But even in its current in-depth form it is exactly the kind of book that an introvert would adore, one that promises a better understanding of themselves and of the world at large.

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