Jackie's Reviews > Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Quiet by Susan Cain
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Sep 02, 12

bookshelves: nonfiction-or-just-not-fiction
Read from August 30 to September 01, 2012

It took me two months to read the first fifty pages, and then one day to read the rest.

I've kind of exhausted myself on this topic over on my blog, and also in my conversations with my mother (a fellow introvert), so I'll just say here that while the book initially isn't what I wanted, I came around once Cain shifted her focus from societal trends to individuals. I appreciated that there was science, and, like Cain, the thing I found most revelatory was Professor Little's Free Trait Theory: you may sometimes act out of character/against type, and that's okay if it's in the service of something you really, really care about. (Also the corresponding Free Trait Agreement--if you're with someone, you'll give and take--was pretty cool too.)

Bonus points for:
1) Acknowledging the Universal Hide in the Bathroom Principle. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, that's okay, it takes all kinds!)
2) Pointing out that the internet is actually the introvert's dream format. Peace without loneliness! Non-exhausting connections at your fingertips!
3) The guy at Claremont McKenna who got up early "just to savor time alone with a steaming cup of coffee." Replace tea, and you've got my life now.
4) "the life of the mind"
5) "'The stereotype of the university professor is accurate for so many people on campus. They like to read; for them there's nothing more exciting than ideas. And some of this has to do with how they spent their time when they were growing up. If you spend a lot of time charging around, then you have less time for reading and learning. There's only so much time in your life.'" That last line is something both sides of the spectrum should be able to say, but you so rarely hear it applied in this context.
6) Introvert guilt, which I completely identified with and had always chalked up to Catholic Guilt.
7) The brief introduction to situationism.
8) "Finally, pay attention to what you envy. Jealousy is an ugly emotion, but it tells the truth."
9) "person-environment fit"

Points deducted:
1) In all that talk of fear of public speaking, not once did anyone mention nervous poo. Forgive me for being frank, but it's a phenomenon my college roommate (who I am sending this book immediately) discussed endlessly. Quelle oversight!

No, but really:
1 and only) I found the first section on the Extrovert Ideal annoying and stressful. Yes, we all know that's how it is. I don't want to read about the vagaries of open office plans and group work (spawn of the devil, and I knew that as a preschooler) and megachurches where extroversion is mandatory. I want to read about people and what they actually do. In the two months it took me to read that part, I found myself thinking longingly of what I wanted to be reading instead: a book of essays written by introverts about their full, purpose-driven lives. Learning by example, that's me. I want to be shown, not told. Fortunately the book changed tack slightly, but she almost lost me there.
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Reading Progress

08/30/2012 page 50
15.0% "I am really struggling to get through this book. There are only so many times I can be told I'm okay before I want to tear my hair out. It's a good book, but it's not what I wanted it to be."
09/01/2012 page 137
41.0% "I appreciate that Cain differentiates between the (often but not always linked) qualities of introversion, shyness, and sensativity."

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Suzanne (new) - added it

Suzanne Your blog? Is it a secret blog? My husband is an introvert (and I am not) so we often have these conversations. I'll have to check out the book.


Jackie Suzanne wrote: "Your blog? Is it a secret blog? My husband is an introvert (and I am not) so we often have these conversations. I'll have to check out the book."

It is a semi-secret blog. I'll send you the link!
I would definitely recommend the book, if only so that I have more people to discuss it with.


Nicole Jackie! I would love to read your blog! I don't know how far you're willing to go in terms of sharing it with people you know, but if you're comfortable I'd love to have the link! If not, that's perfectly fine too.

Also, my boyfriend has been suggesting I read this book for months now. I'm currently reading Harry Potter (for the first time ever), but am strongly considering this as my first book back after Hogwarts...


message 4: by Jackie (last edited Sep 11, 2012 08:06AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jackie Nicole wrote: "Also, my boyfriend has been suggesting I read this book for months now. I'm currently reading Harry Potter (for the first time ever), but am strongly considering this as my first book back after Hogwarts... "

It would definitely be a change from Hogwarts! Although it may explain a lot about Harry's all-caps fifth book extravaganza when no one would leave him alone...



Cathy Douglas It's taken me about a year to get through those first fifty pages. Glad to know it gets more interesting.


Jackie Asymmetrical wrote: "It's taken me about a year to get through those first fifty pages. Glad to know it gets more interesting."

It does! Good luck. :)


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