Thursday, April 12, 2012

Book Review: Quiet

Did you know that about one-third of the people you know are actually introverts?  You might not for two reasons: A) the American culture prizes extroverts and B) introverts know this and are very good at faking it.  Not only do Americans look favorably on extroverts, but they tend to see introverted personalities as a weakness and something that needs to be fixed.  People like Tony Robbins have made fortunes on teaching people how to ignore their own personality for the sake of appeasing everyone around them.

Enter Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.  Susan Cain has done extensive research and ardently argued for the value of introverts.  Quiet charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal and explores its far-reaching effects.  Susan boldly questions the dominant values of the American business culture, and school system for that matter, where forced collaboration can actually inhibit innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked, simply because introverts defer to the ones making the most noise.  Most importantly, she offers exceptional advice on how to navigate extrovert-introvert relationships, how to empower an introverted child, and when it makes sense to be a "pretend extrovert."

I chose this book because I am an introvert.  And I have definitely spent many minutes of my life wondering why I can't be extroverted, even after reading all the books that are supposed to help me in that area.  I've seen my introverted personality as a handicap that I must either overcome or get used to the disadvantages.  In true introverted fashion, I've resigned myself to the latter.

This book changes all that.  Yes, our culture prefers extroverts, but that does not mean we can't contribute to the world.  We might have to be more aggressive than we are comfortable with, but we can learn how to compensate for that by allowing ourselves to recharge in isolation.  Introvert does not mean anti-social either.  It just means that we socialize differently, and it's okay that I've never had the desire to go to clubs or big parties or the zoo on a busy Saturday.

This book not only encourages introverts, but it offers valuable insight for extroverts who are interested in strengthening their relationships with the introverts in their life.  Everyone should read this book in the name of strengthening community.

This book was sent to me by WaterBrook Press in exchange for an honest review, as a part of their Blogging for Books program.

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