Today, I am co-hosting Bonnie’s Book Club and we’ll be discussing Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.
I was really interested in this book because I consider myself an introvert. However, I’ve always been ashamed of it because I used to be more extroverted as a child. But, once I hit college, I became introverted. And, we all know the derogatory stereotyping of introverts.
Cain’s purpose in this book is to describe and explain the psychology of introverts and extroverts, and what is at their center. She wants to show how introverts are undervalued and how we can help them see their potential and learn to work with them.
What I Liked About the Book
Cain does a very good job explaining how the minds and personalities of introverts and extroverts are different. She is also very easy to read (except for a few parts). I was able to place myself and my husband into the roles of introvert and extrovert, which made it more compelling. She described what motivates the two different groups, how shyness and anxiety come into place, the difference between personality and temperament, and how there is an elasticity reach.
I liked learning about famous people who happened to be introverts, like Eleanor Roosevelt and Gandhi.
I am so happy she mentioned extrovertism and evangelicalism. Cain met with a few in the Evangelical church who were self-proclaimed introverts. They had a hard time feeling like they fit in because the Evangelical church is all about shouting their faith from the mountaintops and proclaiming to the world. These introverts didn’t feel welcome at the church because they were quieter, didn’t like the mega-church setting, and had a hard time sharing their testimonies with others. And it made them feel bad. It made them feel like they weren’t as good of Christians as other Evangelicals. It was interesting to relate that to Mormons. I truly believe in my Church. I share my faith on this blog. But, if asked to go with missionaries to help preach the Gospel door-to-door…I’d rather claim I was sick!
Cain also brought up introverts in a school setting. I loved that she spent almost two whole chapters dedicated to introverted youth. She was very careful in her proclamations that the way education is set up, especially with group learning being a key focus. I was glad to know that in my experience of teaching I catered well to introverts.
What I Didn’t Like About the Book
Cain, herself, is a self-proclaimed introvert. And she obviously wanted to show the power of introverts. But, although she had a lot of sources and studies, she was pretty biased. She made sweeping generalizations that introverts are smarter and more creative and extroverts are rash and just bombastic.
There were sometimes that the scientific studies were hard to understand.
I wish she would have talked about any relationship and effect confidence had on being an introvert or extrovert.
It also sometimes got confusing when she mentioned all the different people she interviewed. She would go back and forth between interviews to prove her point for that specific chapters, and go back and forth between using last names and first names.
What I Learned
I learned a lot about myself from this book. I could write a large report about all my thoughts–we had a straight two hour talk about this book at our In Real Life book club on Tuesday night, with no breaks or breathers at all! And, we could’ve gone longer!
The biggest pull away was the fact that being an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean you are a recluse and anti-social and that being extroverted means you always have to be the center of attention. Cain kept going back to the clarifying point that what makes the two is where they get their energy from. Stimuli, like activity, noise, people, images, etc. makes extroverts. They get excited and full of energy from social events. Whereas, introverts get re-energized from being a lone, in-depth conversations, reading, soft sounds, sleep, etc. People drain them. I definitely am an introvert, and have always been so, according to this definition because I always feel re-energized reading, or listening to soundtracks, or being in nature and going to group activities drain me.
The other thing that I pulled away is that people don’t necessarily change. Their environment and situation changes, but their temperaments don’t, and being an extrovert or introvert are part of temperament. That means, I have always been an introvert. But, I wonder if my anxiety disorder, which has gotten worse the older I have gotten, played a part in me pulling away from extroverted tendencies.
Cain also mentioned that there is a spectrum of introversion and extroversion. I’m not super introverted–I do enjoy hanging out with friends, going to parties, and getting out of the house. But, after a certain amount of time, I am done. Whereas, my friend, Aubrey, is super extroverted and hates any down-time she has. Cain also shows that you can be more extroverted in different situations. I have never been nervous giving a lesson or talk in church. I have never been nervous teaching or while I was being observed for teaching evaluations. You may even say I am very comfortable in the front of a classroom. But, put me at a table of people I don’t know, I get nervous and don’t know what to say.
I really loved this book, and wrote a lot in the margins, and I’m sure I’ll go back and re-read it every now and then.
Make sure you check out Bonnie’s review tomorrow!
Link up your reviews of Quiet here!