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

Quiet by Susan Cain
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Jul 06, 12

bookshelves: non-fiction, 2012
Read from June 21 to July 04, 2012

Every personality type assessment that I have ever taken has placed me smack dab in the middle of the E & I spectrum. I am equal parts Extrovert and Introvert, or as Cain describes it, I am an ambivert. The introvert in me loved this book. It is educational and empowering. Cain details the undervalued strengths of introverts in a society that tends to give preference to individuals who exude extrovert qualities (a theory called the "Extrovert Ideal"). I found myself identifying with a lot of introvert qualifiers that she described. I think I was hooked within the first couple pages where she said something like ... it's not that introverts don't like going out and socializing, it's just that at some point in the evening there will come a time where they wish they were in their bed with a book. Umm ... yes.

Cain not only made many points to identify with, but she also uses this book as a tool to explore biological explanations to being an introvert and studies that have demonstrated the strengths of introverts. The research that she cited was interesting and easy to understand.

As compelling as this was to read, I have to say that it's not going to be for everyone. As I said, the introvert side of me loved this book. The extrovert in me - not so much. It's not that Cain discounts the strengths of extroverts. Just the opposite, in fact - she consistently recognizes that our society would fail to function without a balance of the two personalities. What she does is point out that there is a flawed societal desire to have everyone at least act like extroverts, even if they aren't one. In pointing out the pitfalls in that desire, Cain often makes extroverts appear as rash, unintelligent, and unaffected people. I'm sure that is not her intent, because she does so in a way to illustrate where listening to an introvert's voice could have prevented some big failures (aka the Wall Street Crash) and could help a business thrive. However, individuals who don't identify with introvert characteristics might not see this as the learning tool that it could be because she talks plenty about the downfalls of extroverts and it is hard not to get defensive.

If you are an introvert, or think you might be, this is a great read. It helps explain and validate the introvert personality on a larger scale and empowers through recognizing the strengths of introverts and how to capitalize on them in a largely extroverted society.
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