Books : reviews

Susan Cain.
Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking.
Penguin. 2012

rating : 3 : worth reading
review : 26 October 2014

The book that started a Quiet revolution

For far too long, those who arc naturally quiet, serious or sensitive have been overlooked. The loudest have taken over – even if they have nothing to say.

It’s time for everyone to listen. It’s time to harness the power of introverts. It’s time for Quiet.

Most of the Western world, and certainly the USA, is organised not only expecting but requiring everyone to be an extrovert. This is very tough on the large minority of the population who are actually introverts. Why are scientists and other thinkers required to go out and “sell” themselves and their ideas, whereas salespeople are not similarly required to reflect and ponder? Rather than advocating some form of “cure” for this minority, Susan Cain (a self-acknowledged introvert) sets out how these quiet ones can provide a positive benefit (because actually thinking about things is beneficial!) and how they can better organise parts of their work and social life to cope with being surrounded by their extrovert peers.

There’s lots of good stuff here, from the history of how the world became extrovert-focussed and so dismissive of introverts, the myth of leaders needing to be extroverts, how to nurture introvert (and extrovert) children, how introversion and shyness are not the same thing, why introverts make better long term investors, and much more.

If you prefer to recharge your mental batteries alone rather than at a party, or have a partner, friend or colleague who does, you should read this book.