As someone who self-identifies as painfully introverted, I hope I can one day shake Susan Cain’s hand and thank her for this book. Or maybe just send her an email….
That being said I don’t believe this book is for introverts, not really. I loved reading it. Cain not only gives us the science behind introversion (I love science!), in-depth research and studies, but also shows the undeniable value of introverts. And who doesn’t love to read something so validating? Reading this I felt solidarity that introverts (maybe uniquely) lack.
At the risk of explaining to you something you already know, an introvert is not someone who is antisocial, but rather someone who gets energy from being alone, from isolated activities and quiet introspection. An extrovert is the opposite, gaining their energy from being around people, from social interaction. Being around people can be draining to someone who is introverted, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy it, or love our fellow humans. Introversion and Extroversion are both valuable personality traits. As Cain points out, a world with only one or the other wouldn’t function very well. But we do live in a world that seems to value charisma and performance, especially in America, and sometimes introverts are overlooked or undervalued.
If you don’t know if you are introverted or extroverted, or where you may fall on the scale, I recommend taking the Myers Briggs personality test. I took the official test for a college class years ago, and found out a lot about myself (I’m an INTJ, the rarest personality type for women in America, and I’m also at the extreme for each of these types). The official test costs money but you can take free versions of this test on the internet. There are a bunch out there, and I haven’t done much research into which are the best or most accurate (I am so sorry for my laziness).
Introverts may be the target audience of this book, and there are plenty of chapters dedicated to motivating us to use our strengths to feel powerful. But if you do identify as quiet, if you read this book and relate to it, you’ll understand what I mean. Extroverts Really Really Need to read this.
The world seems to be growing increasingly louder. Between advertising, social media, youtube, blogs…. *clears throat*…we seem to have found ourselves in a era of constant performance, of living with an audience. This, despite the fact that a third of the people we know are introverted. Surrounded by all of this noise, it’s hard for the quiet ones to feel like there’s a place for them. But despite how introversion may be perceived, Cain argues that there are times when reflection and careful thought, slow and deliberate creativity, and risk aversion are the order of the day.
If you’re introverted or extroverted or (like most people) somewhere in between, read this book. Either to know your power and your strengths, or to learn more about those who differ from you. A little understanding goes a long way.
by: Susan Cain
Length: 333 pages
Published January 24th 2012 by Crown Publishing Group/Random House, Inc.