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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain

2012/09/28

After several attempts to start and finish this book, I finally managed to get a hard copy and read through it one afternoon. If you are an introvert, or are trying to relate to an introvert (and there are more of them out there than you realize), this is a must-read.

Cain addresses several facets of introversion, looking first at the evolution of the extrovert ideal; examining historical examples, the idea of charisma, the emphasis on collaboration and sharing ideas in brainstorming sessions, and relates some surprising research on the efficacy of these. She takes a fascinating look at the role of nature and nurture in forming an introvert, discussing psychology, personality, and biology. She looks at high-context Asian culture, and how introverts and extroverts are viewed differently through the lens of non-western societies. The final section is devoted to learning how introverts and extroverts relate to one another, providing insight on ways to communicate, work together, be in relationships and families and work groups.

I already knew many of the things about introversion that Cain wrote about, but found myself nodding my head with all the things she writes about how we need to understand our stimulus level, especially how most introverts know that they need time alone or in quiet places to recharge, but that they also have a tendency to gravitate to understimulation and isolating themselves, which leads to boredom and depression. I have found this to be very true, but wasn’t able to really explain it until reading this book.

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