Book Review: Quiet - The Power of Introverts

    Over the holidays I had plenty of time for personal reading. It has really been the first time in a few years where I could read guilt free without the thought of looming exams or projects. Needless to say, it was a very refreshing experience. By far the most insightful book I read on my break was Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. This book really explores what is meant by the terms "introvert" and "extrovert" and how one isn't necessarily better than the other, but that they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. This was extremely enlightening for me because it put to rest some of the guilt I was feeling for not always living up to the extrovert ideal that our society projects. It really made me feel more comfortable with my introverted tendencies and made me realize that they are just as valuable as the extroverted tendencies that society pushes on us.

    The book explores how our society today views people who are more outgoing, talkative and adventurous as more intelligent and successful.  In reality, studies have shown that these people are no more intelligent or successful than someone who is quiet and more reserved. I have heard countless times in a busy social situation, "You're awfully quiet today Jamie." It is said in a way that makes me feel guilty for being myself, as if I should be more talkative because that is more desirable. However, engaging in small talk at a big social event isn’t a situation in which I thrive and feel overly comfortable in. I prefer to get away from larger groups and experience more intimate conversation. I already knew this about myself, but to have it reinforced that it is perfectly normal to be the way that I am, and in some instances can even be beneficial, made me feel accepted and understood.

    On top of covering all the basics of introverts and extroverts the book also explores various other topics such as advice for parents and teachers raising introverted children, relationship advice for introverts dating extroverts and vice versa as well as advice for ideal work place environments for introverts.  There are also questionnaires to help you determine where exactly you land on the introvert/extrovert spectrum. What I also found useful was some advice for people with more introverted tendencies on how to thrive and cope in a society that is so clearly designed for extroverts.

    All in all, the book was well written and maintained my interest by using a lot of specific examples and stories of real people. I also appreciated the wide range of scientific research quoted and explained throughout. It is clear that the author really put a lot of work and effort into analyzing every aspect of this topic and it truly leaves you with a complete understanding of the current research and knowledge in this area of psychology. A definite must read for all introverts and extroverts alike.

Happy reading,



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