Book Review: Quiet

quiet coverTitle: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Author: Susan Cain
Genre: Non-fiction, Psychology

Quiet blends personal stories with tons of research to create a thorough analysis of introversion. How-to meets inspiration in a book that ought to be a must-read for the entire world. Introverts for a fuller understanding and appreciation of their skills. Extroverts for a fuller understanding and appreciation of the introverts in their lives.

For a primer to the book, check out Cain’s TED talk on the power of introversion.

The conversation about introversion has become much louder since Cain’s book was first published, but reading 250+ pages on introversion will give you a far deeper understanding than a few news articles or blogs. Obviously, each person’s expression of introversion is different, but she covers so many possible manifestations that any introvert will find elements of his personality somewhere in the book.

Some of my personal take-aways:

  • it’s okay to create an extroverted persona. Cain explains this through Free-Trait Theory, the idea that everyone can (and does) act out of character to further her core values. I’ve long felt guilty about maintaining multiple personas, so finding an explanation for what I do was reassuring and empowering.
  • I need to find my sweet spot. Although I am introverted, I also thrive in deep relationships. Balancing relationships with withdrawal is difficult.
  • I can make a difference in the world without pretending extroversion. I am deeply driven to do significant work and be seen as a leader, so I am often frustrated by extroversion-driven models of leadership and significance. Slowly (very slowly!) I am coming to grips with the idea that leadership doesn’t have to be extroverted and significance isn’t always visible.

Have you read Quiet? What did you learn?

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