Book Review: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Posted on May 8, 2012
In February I wrote a post titled “Photographers. Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?” I wrote the post after reading a Time magazine article based on Susan Cain’s new book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. So intrigued was I by this book that I got myself a copy from the library. Well now I know why Quiet generated such a storm (pun intended). Susan Cain’s book is a tribute to introverts everywhere. She sheds light as to how and why the U.S. has become a country of extroverts, visits Harvard Business School to learn a great deal as to what kind of students make up its student body, and attends and gives an amusing observational account of a Tony Robbins seminar.
I’m probably throwing myself under a bus (career wise) for writing the next part, but as a teacher I was never a big advocate of students sitting in groups and constantly working together and the reasons why are better explained in Ms. Cain’s chapter “When Collaboration Kills Creativity”. In this chapter she talks about how open floor plans and working in groups in the workforce can actually stifle creativity. Her chapter on the qualities of introverted and extroverted leaders (hint: employers please read this chapter) is a must read. Ms. Cain’s book also contains the latest psychological research and neuroscientific information illustrating the biological differences between introverts and extroverts. She discusses the latest Wall Street Crash, Asian-Americans students who change their introverted style in order to fit in with their classmates and even professors. She also includes in her book poignant anecdotes of people such as Steve Wozniak, Eleanor Roosevelt, Warren Buffet and quiet leaders who fly under the radar.
For those of you who find yourself in a May-December relationship the chapter on The Communication Gap is a must read. Personally, I found page 230 in which she describes the arguing styles of Celia and Greg (a couple in which one is an introvert and the other an extrovert) hit the hammer on the nail as to what happens when two people who are on opposite ends of the temperament spectrum find themselves locked in an argument. If nothing else read this chapter. It will save you tons of money on therapy.
Quiet also talks about introverted children and how as a parent you can fortify and strengthen this quality. So many times it’s the extroverted kids that get all the accolades and many times the quiet types are marginalized. Also, in this day and age of big stakes testing that is taking place in schools and in which testing for speed and accuracy is surpassing deep, critical thinking skills I sometimes wonder how introverted children, who for the most part process information at a slower but by no means less accurate pace, fare out on these exams?
Extroverts, don’t feel left out in Ms. Cain’s book. She lets the reader know through her own personal accounts how extroverts and introverts complement one another and how we need both temperaments to make our world go round, but in the end, her book is about celebrating the strengths, unique perspectives and innovations of introverts. Quiet is a book that is long overdue, but thankfully Ms. Cain came along and in her quiet, graceful and articulate way gave us a book that is a must read on everyone’s reading list. For extroverts and introverts alike.