“Quiet” by Susan Cain: the introvert’s bible (book review)

dogeared book
I cherished this book. I underlined page after page, and when I didn’t have a pen on me, I dogeared page after page. If you’re a quiet person like me, and have questioned your place in the world because of it, this book is for you.

Here are my favorite points.

  • In some Asian cultures, introversion is respected and revered more than extroversion. Western cultures grew to idealize extroversion around the early 20th century, a change fueled in part by the industrial revolution (“The business of America is business”) and advertising (“Do you suffer from an inferiority complex?”)
  • yinandyangPpixabyIntroversion has formidable benefits to society and business, right on par with extroversion. Neither is superior to the other. Humans, and even animals, need both introverts and extroverts to survive. Think yin and yang.
  • Open office plans are trendy—and that might be the most positive thing to say about them. Studies repeatedly show that workers solve problems better and think more creatively when they are given privacy. Citing a study of computer programmers by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister, the author noted that “the top performers overwhelmingly worked for companies that gave their workers the most privacy, personal space, control over their physical environments, and freedom from interruption.”
  • Quiet children blossom and become healthy, productive adults when they are nurtured, gently encouraged, and praised. Parents, your shy little thinkers and observers might be the Stephen Wozniaks, Charles Darwins, and Theodor Geisels (Dr. Seuss) of tomorrow. (All were introverts.)

This book is carefully written and thorough, and includes a wealth of both people stories and data to illuminate the major points.

Viva la revolución!

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking is available at Powell’s, my favorite online bookstore.