Author: Susan Cain
Publisher: Crown Publishing, 2012
Suppose that you, as a child, preferred to spend your free time reading a book or with a microscope studying tiny insects or on your own with legos creating elaborate structures that no one else understood. Suppose that when you were in school you seldom raised your hand to answer a question only because you didn’t want everyone looking at you. Most of the other kids seem to roam in packs while you didn’t mind sitting at a lunch table by yourself, or maybe one other person. Now, pretend you are the parent of this child. Are you worried?
This is a simplified view, of course, of a young introvert. In our Western culture these children often are constantly prodded to be “more outgoing” which in turn makes them go on to feel there is something a little weird about themselves. Susan Cain’s refreshing look at the research on introverts provides a thorough understanding of why we need to celebrate all the differences we as humans possess. The author sets forth the proof that we all possess different ways of dealing with the world. There is no one way that is any better than the other.
It’s not only okay to be an introvert, but we should welcome the contributions they make to the world. This book is an excellent explanation of this topic. It is organized very well. It starts with what is an introvert and then begins an exploration of some pretty astonishing research that’s been done on everything from how introverts are developed or created on to the value introverts contribute in various ways to our society.
I’m not sure I am able ro express how much I loved this book. It explains so much about my own life and many others that I know and love. I particularly enjoyed the two sections on introverts as children and then the contrast between Western culture with it’s emphasis on extraversion and Eastern culture’s preponderance of introverts. This section I feel is very important in light of our increased interaction among neighbors around the world. This book is important for parents, teachers and anyone who deals with various people in everyday life. It will give you much to think about and boost your understanding of people in general.
I first heard about Susan Cain on TED Talks. (You can see her speech here: Susan Cain.) I listened to the audiobook first and then got the paperback when one of my book clubs decided to read it. There’s a little quiz at the beginning of the paperback/hardback to see if you are an introvert or an extravert. The print books also give the reader all the notes and back-up research that many will find helpful
I know many people shy away from nonfiction. Trust me, this book is so fascinating that you will not even think nonfiction. If you are a fiction-only person, think of it this way: Quiet could help you see those ficitonal characters you love in a whole new light.