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Friday, August 16, 2013

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

From Goodreads:

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.

Simply Excellent.


That's my review.

All my life I've wished there was an instruction guide for myself as well as others on how to deal with and understand me because I couldn't verbalize it myself. This book is it, truly. I listened to the last small portion of this while walking along a stretch of my neighborhood that borders an undeveloped area with tears rolling down my face. Everyone that passed probably thought I was crazy (or they never noticed, which is more likely and I'm okay with that too). I rehearsed what I would say just in case anyone asked me what was wrong.  Luckily I didn't have to explain. I was crying because finally I felt understood. Wholly and complete understood. Not just by someone else but also by myself. So many of the ways in my life I've felt like a failure or weird are not that at all they are just part of who I am, just like 1/3 to 1/2 of the rest of the population.

I am not going to say this was a life changing book for me though I think it could could be for some. I've known for a long time that I was an introvert and that many aspects of my personality point to this. I wish I had had this book in my teen and young adult years, it might have changed the way I viewed myself and helped to instill self-esteem and confidence I didn't really have. I think everyone, whether parent, manager, friend, spouse, teacher or anyone would benefit from reading this. It could vastly help so many relationships of every type. I think this could be a healing and supportive work for introverts to help them understand themselves and to reassure them that they are okay.  Not just okay but necessary and valuable just as they are. Introversion is not a sickness or condition that needs to be cured, it just needs to be understood and appreciated. Introverts and Extroverts need and enjoy each other, but have needs outside of each other as well.

I cannot do this book justice, it is just too powerful and well done for my abilities to relay. If you have an introvert in your life read it. If you ARE an introvert, read it. If you deal with a range of different people or have decision making powers over a group of people from children to adults, read it. At worst you will have spent some time on an interesting topic. At best, you may be able to bring forth energy, ideas and collaboration that you never could have imagined and gain a new understanding and appreciation of the people in your life that you just thought were quiet or anti-social.

Thank you Susan Cain. Thank you.

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