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Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking: A Book Review

Posted Dec 31 2012 6:38pm
 


This is a little off topic, but I'd like to tell you a little about myself and a book I just finished.

I have a tendency to keep to myself. I am not that social. I love my friends. I'm not really too interested in making new ones, or small talk with strangers, although sometimes people surprise me.  I write much better than I talk. I’d rather write an email than talk on the phone. I'm not usually interested in socializing outside my circle, not because I don’t like people per se, simply because it makes me uncomfortable. I cherish my few close friends as if they were family, they are family.

Some might say I am quiet or shy, (although my friends will attest that they can’t get me shut up most of the time.)  Some might call me an introvert.  Some people have even implied that this was not normal.

When I stumbled across this book, Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking ,  I was intrigued. 

The book is so interesting to me because it is about me.  The author Susan Cain says that one in three people are introverts, although you might not be able to spot them, a lot of introverts learn to act extroverted.  How they act doesn’t change how social situations make them feel.  An introvert is drained by social situations, while an extrovert is energized by them.   From childhood an introvert is often made to feel like there is something wrong with their personalities, that they should aspire to be more like their outspoken friends and colleagues. 
 
One thing in the book that resonated with me was that being an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean you are shy.  Shy people can be introverts, but not all introverts are shy.  It is not that you don’t talk to people because you are afraid of judgment or rejection, like a shy person might be, you just are uninterested in engaging in meaningless small talk.  You crave deeper relationships than that.  A shy person may wish they could be more outgoing, but an introvert can be perfectly satisfied in their own internal world.  Being afraid to talk to people and simply not wanting to talk are two different things.  

Introverts often thrive in the social media online world, because we find a comfort in socializing from behind a keyboard. Lots of introverts are writers, bloggers, artists and creative types, because we are most satisfied and comfortable immersed in the work that is inside our heads. 

Cain talks about how to harness the power of being an introvert in a world where an extrovert is considered the ideal personality type, how to use your strengths to an advantage, when it is necessary to fake it, and when it is best to just be yourself.

She makes a good point that introverts are often encouraged to act like extroverts, but it is rare that an extrovert would be encouraged to act like an introvert, even though experiencing the inner quiet time like an introvert could be beneficial to them.  Neither of the personality types is superior, they each have their own strengths and weaknesses.

The stories in this book; the stories of real people, case studies, research, interviews and even experiences from the author herself, prove to validate what I knew all along, there is nothing wrong with the way I am. 

My husband is my very best friend in this world.  He shares some of my homebody tendencies, thank goodness, but also can be very extroverted, which takes the pressure off of me in social situations.  The book discusses how introverts and extroverts can make great teams, like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. for example, each playing off the others strengths. Rosa Parks took a bold, quiet stand to the injustices in the world and Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired people with his passionate speech. Rosa probably couldn’t have given that speech as effectively, but her quiet actions changed history.

I think this book is great for reassuring introverts that we do not have a personality disorder, that our way is just different, and it has its distinct advantages over the gregarious extrovert.  However, I think this book would be the most beneficial for extrovert spouses, parents, and bosses to better understand the needs of the introverts in their lives.  

What have you read lately? Seriously, I am looking for non-fiction book recommendations.

Keep Running,

Lea

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