I recently read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain and would like to share my thoughts with you today. Being an introvert myself the subject matter interests me greatly and I had hoped by reading this book I would be able to gain some insight and understanding. I can certainly say I have gained what I set out to along with a new appreciation for introverts after reading this book.
As far as the book itself goes, I thought that it was extremely well researched, almost too a point where it became laborious to read. There were sections halfway through that I just could get through. I ended up skipping parts of chapters 6, 7 and 8. The topics and in-depth detail being explained I felt had little relevance to what main topic of the book. A simple explanation and overview in these areas would have been plenty to make her point, but they went on and on. This is a book that I would love to get a Cliff Notes version of. I felt that the chapters 1-3 and 8-10 were the most relevant and insightful. By the time I made it to chapter 8 I was exhausted and really doubting my ability to make it to the end. But 8-10 really turned it around and offered some really incredible explanation. The conclusion notes seem like common sense, but combined with the information from the rest of the book its extremely motivating and a concise summary of the key points
With that being said I think that this is a necessary ready for everyone, at least chapters 1-3 and 8-10. It will help to gain a better understanding of your family, friends, children, co-workers and anyone you communicate with on a regular basis. The information provided was a welcomed explanation to so many things I’ve always written off as just me being weird. My entire life I’ve always felt like the weird kid. I just didn’t quite fit in. I was different, but I didn’t know growing up that I was still normal. It helped me to adjust my view not only on myself, but the rest of the world. People are people, false. The truth is that you are you, and I am me.
Some of the key points that really stuck with me were these:
Open floor plan work environments: kills creativity and makes people inhibited, uneasy and uncomfortable.
Intense passion and commitment to an activity (ie: art) leads to happiness and well-being. (I’ve always been immensely attracted to creating art and have always felt happiest and most calm when I was submerged in creating my art projects.)
Over-stimulation in large groups, public events and spaces is stressful, physically & mentally exhausting for introverts. It interferes with attention span and short term memory – a key component of speaking on the fly.
Solitude was a word that always resonated deeply with me. Its where I am the most calm. I can relax, recharge and where I do my best thinking and work. Introverts desperately crave downtime away from social over-stimulation.
The culture of character that occurred before the 1920’s eventually shifted to a culture of personality post 1920. When this happened the occurrence of social anxiety rose greatly.
Society tells us that we have to be super extroverts to be happy and successful. It makes us introverts feel wrong and ashamed of whom we really are.
Its easy to lose who you are if you started changing who you were too early before you got to know yourself. Self-discovery is something you’ll have to find out later in life. Cain provides simple questions to help you determine who you are and what you like called “core personal projects”.
1. What did you like as a child?
2. What do you do when you procrastinate?
3. Who/what are you envious of?
Introverts have a hard time projecting artificial enthusiasm or excitement.
Public speaking is more difficult if you are not interested in the topic.
Introverts can have different social selves to fit the situation or group they are with during that time. This explains why we can have extroverted moments then revert back to introvert mode. This was something that always confused me.
I would like to end my review with this quote. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
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I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.