Everyone knows someone who is introverted even if you don’t know what that means. Since about 50% of the American population are introverts it can only be assumed that everyone has a friend, colleague, family member, or acquaintance who is an introvert.
Many people think of introversion as being synonymous with shy. This is a myth, and one of the many which Susan Cain reveals in her book Quiet. Relying on a wide variety of sources and personal experiences, Cain creates a text to enlighten and entertain readers who are searching for answers to better understand themselves or those they know. She addresses a wide range of related topics including how introverts see the world to how effective communication can exist between introverts and extroverts. It is society’s inability to understand each other that creates the gap this book has attempted to fill.
Personality is the new means of identification between all people, and in a nation where uniformity is the norm and gregariousness is desired there seems to be little room for the quieter thinkers and creators. When you think of a intelligent person what characteristics do you give them? How about a fun and friendly individual? If I were to make an assumption, one based upon the work discussed in this book, I would say most people would classify both of these types as being talkative, good humored, or possessing other “outgoing” traits. Why? Think about it. Employers look for employees who are friendly and engaging. Teachers often grade students on how much they participate. As a society, it has become engrained that being shy, solitary, or having any other “introverted traits” is to be not as good as an extrovert.
For everyone who wants to understand the “quiet” ones among us, and especially those who are “quiet” and view it as a negative thing, this book is an excellent addition to your book shelves. Being an ambivert (someone in the middle) married to an introvert I thought I understood my wife and why she does what she does, but after reading I discovered multiple things that I thought I understood and other things that I didn’t notice until Susan Cain pointed them out. As the saying goes, “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing” (Socrates) Even if you think you are a self proclaimed expert on the subject this would be a book to pick up and learn a thing or two. If you’re not an expert, then flip through it anyway and you’ll learn a lot about the people that are all around you. Including yourself.