Quiet

Author: Susan Cain

Type: Non-fiction, single subject

Full title: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Published: 2012

I read it: March 2014

quiet

Sitting squarely in its target audience, I remain pretty biased toward this book. When I first saw it on the shelves, I knew I wanted to read it. When my fiancee got it for me as a gift, I knew I’d love it. I actually felt a little bad choosing it as my pick for our non-fiction book club, knowing that I had already decided to like it.

And I do like it a lot. It’s one of those cultural identity moments where people are reevaluating and using certain words we’ve always heard but never really pondered: “introvert” and “extrovert.” Cain unpacks as much baggage as she can around these concepts, while still wisely using the words we are familiar with. A huge chunk of the book focuses on work and school environments, and how in America these are often structured for extroverts. The history of American salesmanship is also illuminating, and there are helpful chapters on relationships and raising children.

The book club went well, but our token extrovert (and psychology major) pointed out some valid flaws with the book. A lot of these had to do with stereotyped extrovert examples set against glowing introvert personality traits. But what can I do, when a book just speaks to me and my kind? This book has allowed a whole lot of introverts to feel okay with themselves, and has even caused the pendulum to swing back the other way and cause extroverts to post “extroversion is okay too” pieces online. We all know a little more about ourselves and each other now.

Now, to keep discussing the merits (or lack of) of the Myers-Briggs or the Big Five Personality Test…

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