title: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

author: Susan Cain

genre: Non-fiction, introverts and extroverts, cultural norms, fitting in

suggested by: Mom

dates read: March 30th – April 2nd

review: 5 out of 5 stars

summary: Susan Cain sets out to explore the introverts’ world in a highly extroverted culture. She sees that the characteristics of extroverted people, their learning and managerial styles, are highly exalted and seen as the ideal in Western society. But what if you are introverted? Should you try to change who you are to be more “acceptable” to others? She shows the value of the introverted individual, how their thoughtfulness and insights can benefit their personal and professional lives. She talks about the dynamics of romantic relationships where both personalities are exhibited and the way these personalities interact in positive and negative ways. She gives advice to teachers and parents who are working with introverted children, and gives suggestions on how to encourage and foster their wonderfully unique qualities.

personal thoughts: Throughout the reading of this book I kept trying to pick out which part of the spectrum I myself am on. I feel like I’m almost in the middle, but probably more on the introverted side. I loved her insights on both sides, how she was such a strong proponent for deep thinking and quietness. In a nation with open floor plans and the idea that the “squeaky wheel gets the grease,” it’s difficult for the more quiet, introspective individuals to see their value. She recounted many instances where those individuals felt like they needed to change, that their identity was “wrong” somehow and not desirable. We don’t have kids yet, but I’ve worked with enough of them to appreciate the suggestions she made on how to appreciate and love them if they are introverted. I am so encouraged by Cain’s outlook on introversion and the way she’s spoken out for those who speak in “the language of quiet.”

favorite quotes:
“Why shouldn’t quiet be strong?  And what else can quiet do that we don’t give it credit for?” p. 2

“We’re told that to be great is to be bold, and to be happy is to be sociable.” p. 3

“at school you might have been prodded to come “out of your shell” – that noxious expression which fails to appreciate that some animals naturally carry shelter everywhere they go, and that some humans are just the same.” p.6

“The book of Exodus is short on explication, but its stories suggest that introversion plays yin to the yang of extroversion; that the medium is not always the message; and that people followed Moses because his words were thoughtful, not because he spoke them well.” p. 61

“The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting. For some it’s a Broadway spotlight; for others, a lamplit desk.” from the conclusion, “Wonderland”


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