Review: “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop TalkingQuiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Quiet is a well-deserved NYT Bestseller. It is thoughtful, well-paced, peppered with supporting anecdotes, and provides a much-needed voice of support for introverts.

As an introvert, I spent much of the book nodding. “Oh my gosh, I thought that was just me!” moments were pretty common. I liked progression of the book, from an explanation of what introversion is, the evolution of the extrovert ideal (with plenty of historical references), an analysis of whether introversion and extroversion are inherent or learned, how people can modify their natural tendencies, and how to deal with introversion in yourself at work, at home, and at school, and how to help others.

I mean, wowza, this book is packed!

I’ve read a few reviews that suggest the information is biased (particularly the chapter on Silicon Valley), and, while I can see where that conclusion may be reached, it seems that Cain really did her due diligence, talking to a number of people and representing both positions. I think she’s on to something about the unusual nature of that area.

Most of all, this book validated me, and I’m sure others who see themselves reflected in its pages will feel the same way. I feel like it was fair to extroverts while also championing the introverts, and providing tangible methods to invoke personal change–for both types.

This book would be particularly useful for teachers–the chapters on schoolwork and school performance resonate, and Cain gives excellent examples for ways a classroom could be built to appeal to both introverts and extroverts, while teaching each the advantages of the other. And because so much of what happens in school early on can have such an impact on the future lives of introverts, perhaps the people at the fore of so many children’s lives should take the opportunity to learn from Cain’s able and thorough research.

A fantastic read for anyone interested in psychology, even in passing.

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