Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Quiet

Summary:

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, “Quiet” shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.

Perhaps most inspiring, she introduces us to successful introverts--from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Finally, she offers invaluable advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a "pretend extrovert."

This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

While I found many aspects of this book interesting, even with some practical recommendations, after a certain point I couldn’t take any more and had to abandon it.  I would have been more interested in additional research and fewer examples.  At a certain point, the number of examples kept the book dragging for me until I was just skimming the first portion of each chapter to get the gist. 

I think this is the kind of book that would be fascinating for an introvert who does not know how to interact in the world, but as someone closer to the ambivert spectrum I found the book to feel had a flavor of “introverts are better than extroverts and here’s why” at times.  It is clear the author does not have that intension when describing things, but rather is hoping to explain ways that the world should change to accommodate all personality spectrums.  I agree with the sentiment, but I struggled with the execution at times.

This book provoked a lot of conversation within our book club from both sides of the spectrum so I will certainly say it had that going for it!

Note: I did not finish this book, but abandoned it 2/3 of the way through

Rating: 3 stars!

Who should read it? Introverts that are looking for support for their interactions / strategies in the world.