Review: Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain

quietTitle: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Author: Susan Cain
Standalone
Published: January 24th, 2012 by Broadway Books
Pages: 352
Genre: Non-Fiction
Rating: 4/5 stars

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Synopsis: At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society. In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also 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. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

Review

I discovered this book a few months ago and while it sounded really interesting to me, I had never really read a non-fiction book for fun before and I was afraid I wouldn’t like it. But then, I saw her Ted Talk! And I immediately knew I wanted to read what this woman has to say. I’m so glad I did! This book really inspired me and taught me so much about myself -that I maybe didn’t realize or want to admit before. 

In the first part of the book, I learned a lot and not only about what an introvert truly is but also how we can still be a great manager and leader. As I follow a Business Administration university program and am an engineer, it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. But I could recognize so much of myself in the situations she portrayed or other introverts she interviewed told her about. Like the following:

He enjoyed parties, but found himself leaving early. “Other people would get louder and louder, and I would get quieter and quieter.” -about Adam McHugh.

If I could choose one quote I identified so much with, it would be this one:

The same person who would never raise his hand in a lecture hall of 200 people might blog to 2000, or 2 million, without thinking twice. The same person who finds it difficult to introduce himself to strangers might establish a presence online and then extend these relationships into the real world.

As I’ve said before, this book taught me a lot about myself. It talked about these habits or needs of introverts that I never knew were part of it. I knew that I am an introvert before I started this book but I never knew that these little parts of myself were a part of being an introvert. Susan Cain also talks about the fact that a lot of introverts look at those aspects of themselves and think there is something wrong with them. And I have to admit, I have done the exact same thing!

Some examples of this are:

  • I love talking with my friends. And I have always known that I prefer smaller groups over bigger ones. But I didn’t know that most introverts prefer this and that they would also rather talk about more serious things than small talk.
  • I do love a good party. But being out with my friends, no matter how much I love it, makes me feel mentally tired often. I adore spending time with them, but afterwards I need my time and space to recover. I learned from this novel that introverts are often overstimulated -there are too many things stimulating our brain- and we need to recover from that differently than extroverts do.

Those are only a few things I’ve learned, but they have made me feel much more accepting about myself! I always thought there was something a bit wrong with me because of certain aspects of my character but now I know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It’s just the way I am.

And I have also taken some great tips from this book! One tip would be to find what she calls a restorative niche. It’s a place to go when you need to recover and be alone. A place where you can come at ease. Another tip is to make a sort of compromise with yourself. For example, I will do something with my friends once or twice a week. That way, it makes it easier for us to cope with situations that might be more difficult for us.

I will leave you with some quotes I took from the book. Parts that truly inspired me or resonated with me.

We don’t need giant personalities to transform companies. We need leaders who build not their own egos but the institutions they run.

Studies do show that introverts are significantly more likely than extroverts to fear public speaking.

If you leave them to their own devices, the introverts tend to sit around wondering about things, imagining things, recalling events from their past and making plans for the future. The extroverts are more likely to ficus on what’s happening around them. It’s as if extroverts are seeing “what is” while their introverted peers are asking “what if”.

Anyone can be a great negotiator, I told them, and in fact it often pays to be quiet and gracious, to listen more than talk, and to have an instinct for harmony rather than conflict. With this style, you can take aggressive positions without inflaming your counterpart’s ego. And by listening, you can learn what’s truly motivating the person you’re negotiating with and come up with creative solutions that satisfy both parties.

As I said, I absolutely loved this book. I was educational -yet not boring- and I feel much more accepting and understanding of myself. I also learned a lot that I can use in both my university studies and later careers! I’d definitely recommend this to everyone -not just someone who identifies as an introvert!

★★★★

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8 thoughts on “Review: Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain

  1. […] Quiet by Susan Cain // I’ve mentioned this book several times this year, just because it truly blew me away. I’m definitely an introvert, and that has always seemed as a negative aspect to me. Because people make me feel like it is. But reading this book truly showed me that there is nothing wrong with being an introvert. We just happen to live in a society that worships the extroverts. I’ve written a review on it, so if you want to read that you can find it here.  […]

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  2. Fabulous review, Jolien! I so badly want to read this book now! I’m also an introvert and I’ve also had doubtful thoughts about being an introvert and now I really want to read this book so that I’ll be able to understand myself better and to view being an introvert in a positive light!

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  3. I adored this book. It was one of my very best reads of all time. I’m so glad to see someone else reading it. It really was so affirming for me that is was okay to enjoy quiet time & be recharged by this 🙂

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