Quiet by Susan Cain

Posted April 22, 2020 by Amber in Reviews / 4 Comments

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Quiet

Quiet

by Susan Cain

Publisher: Crown on January 24, 2012
Genre: Non-Fiction, Psychology, Science, Sociology
Target Age Group: Adult, New Adult

Rating: ★★★★½

Check out this book on Goodreads

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.

In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

 

I found Quiet utterly fascinating. As an introvert, I was – like many of the cases mentioned in Cain’s book – taught to believe these aspects of myself were negative personality traits.  I am constantly told to be louder even when I feel like I’m shouting.  In that way, I found Quiet fascinating.  I love the Myers-Briggs Personality test and the introvert/extrovert aspects in particular.

And what an interesting time to listen to this audiobook as well!  COVID-19 is a fascinating lens for personality traits, because crowds/isolation affect the different personality traits very differently.  When I’m at home, I feel more comfortable.  More recharged.  I don’t have eons of extra time and energy because I’m already driven to solitary tasks, but for the first time in my life, it feels like being an introvert is an advantage.

It’s interesting because Cain talks about how the Extrovert Ideal is an American machination, whereas other countries do value quieter, more passive personality traits.  I think the success of this book to its reader will depend upon the motivation of the reader.  For me, I knew this was a book about introverts, and what it’s like to be an introvert, and I felt heard.  Like… apparently other people go to hide in the bathroom when people are being too much and I very much thought it was just something I did, and needed to stop doing because bathrooms are gross (but also where else can I get that kind of privacy in public? Gah!).

Each chapter deals with a different aspect of introversion vs. the world.  Some chapters discuss finance, others discuss career, or workplace dynamics, or how to raise an introvert.  Some chapters were more interesting than others, but as a whole, there are so many people I would love to give this book to… just so they understand that loud and social is not necessary better.  I appreciated the scientific approach Cain took, and I just… I found myself sighing in relief.  Because, if I needed it, this book told me that it’s okay not to love networking, and social gatherings, and group brainstorming discussions.

Extroverts, read Quiet so you can understand your less outgoing friends, family, and coworkers.  Introverts, read Quiet just to know you are perfect the way you are.  Even though your culture may not support you.

Ratings Breakdown

Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★★
Sources: ★★★★★
Detail: ★★★ 1/2
Delivery: ★★★★
Subject: ★★★★★
Narrator: ★★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★ 1/2

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Do you identify as an introvert or an extrovert?  As I mentioned, I identify as an introvert, but I love both my introvert and extrovert friends.  Tell me whether you see yourself as out there and social, or reserved and thoughtful, in the comments!

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4 responses to “Quiet by Susan Cain

    • Amber

      I’ve had this on my TBR since I saw your review… which just goes to show how LONG my TBR is lol. But I’m so glad you read it and I discovered it through you, because I found it very informative and interesting, PARTICULARLY as I listened to it just as quarantining was starting and watching the evolution of socialisation and business interactions in the new environment. Fascinating, and at times, absolutely painful. 🙂