Sunday, August 12, 2012

Book Review: Quiet by Susan Cain

About one third to one half of our world is made up of introverted people. In Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking Susan Cain explains what introverts are and what they are not, while also explaining the traits of extroverts in comparison. She helps readers understand how to better include introverts in places such as workplaces and schools by showing them ways they can be opened up and participate more, to include them more often in our virtually extroverted world. The book starts out with a story about Rosa Parks. She is described as a quiet, introverted person who made a huge difference in our country by using her quiet voice to speak up at the right time and in the right way. Many more stories and studies are shared throughout this book about other “quiet” people, people who have made a difference in our world.

What really got my attention in this book is that introverts tend to be sensitive people, although not all of them are. Other important points were that introverted people usually need to take small steps in participating with social groups (arrive early at parties to find their “space” instead of arriving later and trying to find their “space” in the group), over-arousal causes introverts to feel that they have had enough and would like to be free from the situation, under-arousal causes extroverts to feel restless, sluggish like they want to get out of the house. Loud noises bother introverts more than extroverts, sometimes causing them not to perform as well, while quiet conditions tend to make extroverts bored. We need reflection in our world and introverts are often very good at that because they are often inward “thinkers”.  At the same time, we also need extroverts in our world because they are often the people that are experts at being in front of people to present ideas and information. There are also some introverts in our world who are actually disguising themselves to be extroverts, causing those people to feel drained more often than they would if they were not disguising themselves.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

From a conversation Susan had with Adam McHugh: “The evangelical culture ties together faithfulness with extroversion,” McHugh explained. “The emphasis is on community, on participating in more and more programs and events, on meeting more and more people. It’s a constant tension for many introverts that they’re not living that out. And in a religious world, there’s more at stake when you feel that tension. It’s doesn’t feel like ‘I’m not doing as well as I’d like.’ It feels like ‘God isn’t pleased with me.’” (page 66)

From a conversation from Strickland:…”In most settings, people use small talk as a way of relaxing into a new relationship, and only once they’re comfortable do they connect more seriously. Sensitive people seem to do the reverse. They “enjoy small talk only after they’ve gone deep,” says Strickland. “When sensitive people are in environments that nurture their authenticity, they laugh and chitchat just as much as anyone else.”” – Page 152

“Some collaborative work is fine for introverts, even beneficial. But it should take place in small group-pairs or threesomes-and be carefully structured so that each child knows her role…” Page 255-256

I recommend this book to anybody that wants a better understanding of the differences with introverted and extroverted people. I also recommend this to people who want to try to make the world a better place from the knowledge that is gained in understanding the differences that are needed in our world from both introverts and extroverts.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Multomah through their blogger’s book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

Also see:

"Quiet" Reading Group Guide Post 

Susan Cain Author Interview Post 

Susan Cain talks about Quiet:

More info about Quiet:

Read an excerpt from Quiet here:

Susan Cain's website:

Susan Cain on TED:

Author bio:

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