Book Review: Quiet by Susan Cain

Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Title: Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking

Author: Susan Cain

Genre: Self Help, Business, Non-Fiction, Philosophy, Psychology, Social Science

Publisher: Broadway Books

Published: 2012

Page Amount: 336 pages

Blurb from Goodreads: At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society–from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.

Why Read: It started with the book being recommended to me by a dear friend. We have similar interests.. like reading, and being anti-social, awkwardly. So when she began to rave about this book and its contents, I felt I had no choice but to read it. But that was 2 years ago, and the only reason I’m picking it up is a real interest in what Susan Cain has to say about introverts.

Review: Quiet by Susan Cain was the first non-fiction book that wasn’t about International Relations or history that I’d read in a while. And yes, it’s worth a good look through (but only as long as you are actually interested in the topic).

I can’t use my usual template for this review, as normally I’d talk about the plot and characters that I enjoyed the most, and how that ended in whatever rating I decide to give. It is a nice change of pace to be able to talk about it in a different context.

Quiet is one of those books that, while amazingly researched and well written, should be attempted by those who really want to learn about Introverts, or who are introverts. As much as I usually like to tell people to read these amazing books that I get to read – Quiet is a tough read. It’s chock full of statistics and social experiments that all go back to one idea: The Extrovert Ideal may be popular and sought after, but the Introverts can be just as great by looking at their own strengths.

Personally, I usually hover between Introvert and Extrovert, but after reading Quiet, it’s difficult not to suddenly want to relook at some of the choices you’ve made and ask yourself: Did I choose what I’m doing because I think I’ll do well because I’m forcing myself to become a pseudo-Extrovert, or am I doing what I love because it caters to what I enjoy?

Although I really enjoyed learning about the information, and some of the findings that Cain discusses are really groundbreaking, I couldn’t help but be annoyed by the bias that was all too evident in the book. It seems to be that the book can be very kind to introverts, but that Extroverts are not as complex creatures. Perhaps I’m sensitive to the issue, but it was a continuing annoyance that I could not shake.

Placing that aside however, Quiet is really a fun book. If you can master the urge to not yawn while she goes through the experimentation (because trust me, I could not), and enjoy looking at different situations such as work, relationships, and school through the eyes of an introvert – than the book is for you.

 

Rating: 3.5/5

Review Coming Soon: (Uncertain) BUT probably Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

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