Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Hi everyone,

When I was home for Thanksgiving, I found Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain on the bedside table of my sister's room, where I was sleeping. She gave the book to my dad last Father's Day. Scanning the Table of Contents, I chose to start with middle chapters, "When Should You Act More Extroverted Than You Really Are?" and "The Communication Gap: How to Talk to Members of the Opposite Type." That's the advice I needed. Over the weekend, Dad noticed that I was reading his book and lent it to me to read cover to cover. Here I am nearly 6 months later....

This book isn't long; I'd planned to read its 11 chapters in 11 days. But, at one point, after reading how extroverts are taking over the world these days, a bunch of childhood (and recent) memories popped up of teachers, students, and coworkers telling me to "come out of your shell" and "speak up" or even joking within earshot that I "never talk" because maybe I was abused as a child. I put the book down and got distracted by more pleasant things for months before continuing.

Whenever I picked this book up to read a bit more, though, I loved it! Susan Cain, an introvert herself, shares the journey of fighting the bad wrap that introverts get. "There's a bias against introverts," she says. "Our schools, workplaces, and religious institutions are designed for extroverts, and many introverts believe that there is something wrong with them and that they should try to 'pass' as extroverts. This bias leads to a colossal waste of talent, energy and, ultimately, happiness."  Exhaustively researched and wonderfully written, Quiet explains the origins of introversion and extroversion, how extroversion became the American ideal, and how introverts can cope with the change and continue to flourish.

The great thing about this engaging book is that it doesn't try to dictate that one personality trait is better than the other. Instead, the author demonstrates how both are necessary and should coexist and collaborate to be most effective. Both introverts and extroverts can learn a lot from Quiet about how to communicate better with each other. Also, this book provides so many examples of successful introverts and how they handle common situations that fellow introverts will finish reading it feeling satisfied, validated, andabove allnot so alone.

Everyone should read Quiet. Maybe, then, extroverts and introverts will come to a mutual understanding that having a variety of approaches to social, work, and other situations is a good thing. This book can start that conversation so we can learn to appreciate and complement each other. If that happened, I think the world could be a more peaceful place. No pressure, but read this book. It's good!


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