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

Quiet by Susan Cain
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's review
Feb 11, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: kindle-clubbers, recommended-non-fiction

A must read for everyone, not just introverts.

Susan Cain, former Wall Street lawyer and self-described introvert, investigates how introversion has become dangerously scorned in the current American "Culture of Personality." I had not fully realized how drastically our cultural values have shifted--and how much American society pushes us to conform--until reading Cain's book.

To prove her point, Cain visits American bastions of extroversion promotion, including Harvard Business School, Saddleback Church, Dale Carnegie, Wall Street, and Tony Robbins conferences. She talks with pioneering psychologists and neurologists to explain the studies behind concepts like the dangers of group think, the ability to delay gratification, or the trait called sensitivity. She profiles famous and less-well known introverts to show how the studies play out in real life.

Though the many of the activities I'm drawn to (and the things that cause anxiety) scream classic introvert, I have always considered myself an extrovert and frequently put myself in situations where extroverted behavior is valued. However, since quitting my job and globe-hopping for the past two years, I've been surprised (and disappointed) by how often the constant stimulation, new people, and change can drain me--and by how I often feel an overwhelming need for alone time.

I found myself relating to many of the points Cain discusses and have since concluded that I'm much more of an introvert than I had thought. (I promise that this isn't just because she does a good job of highlighting all the positive things about introverts!)

So for that, I am grateful to have read Quiet, though I can't quite believe it took reading a book to figure that out about myself! I am seeing my preferences in a new light and have much understanding and acceptance regarding the things that interest me (and those that cause me stress). I've been having trouble narrowing down 'what I want to do with my life' and this book has helped me more than any other, because I finally feel like I can accept that the things I really enjoy are just a part of me and can't be ignored.

Though the personal application will differ, I suspect many people will come away having learned much more than they expected, if not about themselves, then about people close to them. I had always thought of extroverts and introverts as being on distinct sides of a line, when in fact it's much more of a sliding scale (or perhaps better as two scales: percentage introversion, percentage extroversion). Because we have been culturally pressured and trained to admire extroverted behavior, many of us may be dangerously ignoring our introverted characteristics.

This was a game-changing book for me, and I suspect it will be eye-opening to most people who read it.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
February 7, 2012 – Finished Reading
February 11, 2012 – Shelved
February 17, 2012 – Shelved as: kindle-clubbers
February 17, 2012 – Shelved as: recommended-non-fiction

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Dana Great review Ange! I also really liked this book and find myself thinking about it pretty frequently.

Angie Thanks Dana. I actually think I saw the book first from you via Goodreads! So I have you to thank. It really was an enlightening read. I keep thinking about it too... Like I saw this startup coding company boasting about their open plan office and immediately thought of that study of computer programmers. You can't help but notice things because you can immediately see differences just in the people around you and how they handle situations etc.

Dana Oh yay, I'm glad you got a good recommendation from me :) You may also like the book I'm reading right now (Power of Habit). I literally just started it, so I can't personally recommend it yet, but it's getting lots of good buzz around the office. It seems like your kind of book.

Angie I'll wait to see what you think-- but sounds interesting!

Kathy Great review. I'm a little more than halfway through and enjoying this book very much. I particularly relate to what you said here: "I am seeing my preferences in a new light and have much understanding and acceptance regarding the things that interest me (and those that cause me stress)." Thank you.

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