Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Book Review: Quiet

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
by Susan Cain
New York: Crown Publishers, 2012

It isn't easy being an introvert. Susan Cain knows this and has written a very compelling book about why the world needs us, even if it doesn't think so! "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking" is a very interesting study of the differences between introverts and extroverts and how we balance each other. She examines when the world started to view extroversion as the ideal and some of the negative consequences of that. She also looked at some of the ways introverts try to make themselves appear more extroverted.

In doing research for this book, Cain attended a Tony Robbins seminar designed to help people be more successful in business and in life. Honestly, just reading about it made this introvert tired! Yet, introverts can be leaders, too, and Cain explains how to use our strengths to be effective in leadership roles.

She also examines how today's classrooms are designed to support extroverts with lots of group learning. While that in itself isn't a bad thing, Cain explores why students need independent learning as well. In fact, contrary to popular belief, she offers creativity actually thrives on independent pursuit rather than group brainstorming.

Still, introverts often do need to act like extroverts, at least some of the time. Most of us are able to do this - to conquer our fears of speaking in public or working in groups - if we believe in the cause or project we are working on. Cain offers suggestions on how to make the most of both our introvert qualities and the times we need to act out of character.

"Quiet" is an enlightening book and emphasizes how and why the world needs introverts. I would recommend it to any introverts as well as to extroverts married to or raising introverts. It is always helpful to understand the other side.

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