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

March 15, 2013 — 19 Comments
Book Review: Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking | Joseph Lalonde

My wife and I tend to be on the total opposite ends of the introvert/extrovert spectrum. She’s quiet and has trouble around crowds. Me, I like to be in the midst of large groups, mingling with others.

So I was excited when I saw the book Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking (Affiliate link, I get paid a small commission if you click this link and purchase the book) by Susan Cain. My hope was it could shine some light on the differences between introverts and extroverts and how being an introvert could be a good trait to have.

Quiet The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking

What Is Quiet?

How did we go from Character to Personality without realizing we had sacrificed something meaningful along the way?
– Susan Cain

Quiet was Susan Cain’s exploration into the world of introverts, of which she claims to be, and how the world undervalues their worth. The idea of the Extrovert Ideal is challenged and put to the test.

During her quest, Susan interviews introverts and extroverts, discovering what makes them the way they are. Is it genetic? Cultural? Maybe it’s environmental? She delves into these areas and so much more.

You’ll also discover whether being an introvert excludes you from having friends, being a successful salesman, or a vibrant public speaker.

All of this is done in four parts. You’ll go from the Extrovert Ideal to Your Biology, Your Self? to Do All Cultures Have An Extrovert Ideal? to How To Love, How To Work.

The Good

Reading Quiet really opened my eyes to some of the flaws and misconceptions I’ve had about introverts. Many times I’ve felt it’s a reluctance to come out of their shell and interact with others. Quiet shows that this isn’t the case. Many times the lack of interaction is due to the reflective nature of introverts. They’d rather sit on their thoughts and flesh them out than shoot from the hip.

Susan also shares why introverts can be passed over for leadership positions and why this has been the downfall of many companies. The ideas are reinforced with case studies that show the decisions made by introverts, many times, are more successful than the decisions made by extroverted leaders.

If you’re a lover of research, you won’t be disappointed. Susan dives deep in Quiet and uses many scientific studies to examine the mentality and strengths of introverts. Over 50 pages of the book is dedicated to notes regarding the research she undertook and studied. I found this to be reassuring in the fact that the book wasn’t just tossed together but backed by scientific research.

The Bad

Towards the end of the book, you get the idea that Susan believes introverts need to loosen up and become more extroverted. This was a bit off-putting as it seemed to discredit the notion of the power of the introvert. It almost came off  as an “It’s okay to be an introvert but you’ll have to fake the extrovert more often.”

And while the research is amazing, it can be overwhelming as well. The talk of study upon study can slow the reading of the book and make it choppy.

How Quiet Can Help Leaders

Oft-times the introvert is overlooked in the business world. Managers look for the gregarious, outgoing extrovert for the next promotion or great idea.

Through the reading of Quiet, we begin to understand this may be the wrong approach in choosing who we ask to join us. Many times we should have looked towards the introvert for advice. They’re the ones doing the deep thinking and analyzing the data.

If you’re finding yourself gravitating only towards the extroverts in your leadership, I think Quiet will help you re-assess whether or not this is the best decision and why you should reconsider the choices you’re making.

Does this sound like a book that would interest you? If so, you can purchase a copy from Amazon by clicking here.

Question: What do you think you could learn from Quiet? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    I think Quiet could help me in my management support to different personality types of my team members.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Jon, it’s an eye-opener about different personality styles. Susan’s research into that constitutes an introvert to how to deal with an introvert should be life changing and standard teaching.

  • Carol Peterson

    Interesting book. I am mainly an introvert so perhaps I would learn why that’s a good thing to be in a larger community. I love that God has made so many different types of people. I totally believe that what one thing we dislike about another person–if flipped over–becomes one of the things we love best about him.

    For example–it used to bug me that hubby dropped his dirty socks next to the laundry bin. Now I’m thankful that his view of good housekeeping doesn’t require me to be meticulous. It’s the same trait; the same behavior but it depends on how you look at it. Life has become much less difficult when I try to see everyone from that flip-flopping frame of mind.

    Thanks for the review.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Carol, it’s worth the read, even for introverts. Susan shares stories of introverts and what they’ve done to change the world. She also gives tips on what introverts can do to be hear more often.

      Thanks for sharing your example about your husband. It’s interesting what happens when we see through others eyes.

  • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

    Sounds like a interesting book. I think value comes when a leader takes time to be quiet. They are able to think and reflect during the quiet times. Thank you for doing the review Joe!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      It was Dan. Especially if you’re an extrovert leading introverts. Quiet puts things into perspective.

      • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

        Cool!

      • http://www.borntwolead.com/ TJ Trent

        What about an Introvert leading extroverts?

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

          Susan Cain shares a bit about this. I don’t think it was as in-depth as it could have been but she shares a few pointers on how introverts can be valued as leaders.

  • David

    Introverts spend a lot of time observing, we’re not quick to jump into the fray. We analyze and over analyze and store up a lot of information in the “grey matter”. I think leaders often miss out on what we can offer because we are, after all, introverted. We don’t jump up and say “look at me”. As a matter of fact, we are often content being “wall-flowers” but that doesn’t get us noticed. One of the downsides to this though, is leaders don’t seek us out and that leaves a lot of “observe-information” simply untapped.

    Don’t misunderstand, I’m not complaining. Really. I’ve just done a lot of observing. I recognize how important the extroverted, gregarious personality is in the development of relationships and making connections. And that is important in driving the success of any organization especially a commercial enterprise.

    But, all you boss-types out there, don’t discount the introverts among you. We just may have observed some information that your organization could really use … ;-)

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      David, you hit on a key point Susan Cain made in Quiet. The introverts of organizations are observers and analyzers. They put the pieces together much better than the quick thinking extroverts.

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    I can’t figure out what I am? I think I’ma little of both.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      According to Susan’s research, there are people who have the tendencies of both introverts and extroverts. I believe she called these people ambiverts.

      • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

        I like that. I’m an ambivert.

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

          It’s a fun term for sure. I can see a lot of people fitting into that label.

  • http://www.tessahardiman.com/ Tessa

    So happy to see you review this…I saw a copy at my library one day and debated on whether or not to check it out then or wait until later. I’ll definitely pick it up next time around.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      My pleasure Tessa. It’s an interesting read, for sure. When you read it come back and share what you thought about the book. I’d love to hear what you have to say about Quiet.

  • http://www.borntwolead.com/ TJ Trent

    Joe,

    According to Myers-Biggs I am an ISTJ. So I understand what it is like to be compared with Extroverts. I will read this for sure!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      I think you’ll enjoy it then TJ. It’s an asset to those looking to move forward while being an introvert.