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.
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.
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.
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.”