Quiet :: Susan Cain

Title: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Author: Susan Cain
Read: 6/6/13-6/24/13
Obtained via: gift from my mom
Stars: 4/5

I am a textbook introvert. Growing up, I always felt like something was wrong with me because I’d rather stick with my close friends than chat up the new people. In college, I couldn’t handle partying all night like my friends could; an hour or two and I’d be done. In my classes, my professors and TAs would ask me why I didn’t like to open up during discussions – did I feel that my opinion wasn’t as valid as everybody else’s? I was passed over for jobs I was qualified for because I just wasn’t bubbly enough. Recently, though, I’ve learned to fake it to get ahead. I cheerfully talk to strangers all day at my job in a doctor’s office. I take hundreds of phone calls a week while maintaining an unwavering smile. I coordinate lunches and run staff meetings and act charming and friendly and I am exhausted every night when I go home.

This book gave me some insight into why exactly I’m like that. It helped me realize that it’s ok to fake being extroverted for a little while as long as I get some time to myself to unwind. It told me that it’s ok and not weird at all to need to take my lunch alone in a quiet room sometimes. And it has some really good advice for what to do when your employer requires you to act the complete opposite of how you feel.

My only qualm is that, well, it was almost too pro-introvert. The author does tell us that she too is an introvert. She’s managed to overcome it when necessary, but she spends a good part of the book talking about the awesome advantages of being an introvert and how it’s so much better than being extroverted. It’s nice reassurance, sure, but I can see how it could be off-putting for an extrovert trying to gain insight into the introvert’s mind.

All in all, it’s a good book and an interesting read. I’ll be recommending it to my introvert friends.

[Also posted here.]