Sunday, April 1, 2012

Book Review--Quiet

You might not be able to tell from reading a blog post, but I’m a pretty quiet person. I like to read, learn, think, reflect, and absorb. I dearly love people, but I prefer them in ones or twos, so I can offer my full attention. This is a good thing!

Susan Cain will tell you why in her amazing book about the psychology, personality, and power of the introvert.

I loved this book! Cain is the first person I’ve ever come across who agrees with me that one can be quiet without being shy. There is a difference! I’ve always said so, but nobody listens to me.

And now I know why! Did I mention I love this book?

The book is divided into four sections. The first, The Extrovert Ideal, shows how our society has changed over the past 70 or so years, becoming obsessed with extroversion, and reveals some problems this has caused. Cain explains the strengths and weaknesses of both introverts and extroverts, that both have something valuable to offer, and why balance is necessary.

The second section explores the biology and psychology behind quiet tendencies, asking the question, “Can introverts become extroverts through training and determination, or are they what they are?” (This section gets pretty technical, but is fascinating if you'll choose to hang in there.)

The third section explores the Asian culture which tends to focus on the introvert. Cain focuses here on the experiences of Asian-American teenagers often caught between both cultures.

The final section is full of practical advice for both introverts and extroverts on how to get along with one another—particularly within a marriage and at work. Cain helps introverts determine when they need to stand their ground and when it helps to fake it, becoming a pseudo-extrovert. She also tells how to do this without over-stressing yourself or becoming insincere. She closes this section with a chapter for parents and teachers of introverts on helping them successfully transition into a world that often won’t accept them for who they are.

Throughout the book, Cain gives examples of well-known and respected introverts who used the strength of this bent in order to make great contributions to society.

I recommend this book to all introverts.

I also recommend this book to all spouses, parents, and teachers of introverts. (This book should be a college text for teachers in training!)

I especially recommend this book to every extrovert who has ever been tempted to ask an introvert why she is so quiet. (If you’ve yielded to that temptation, this book is required reading for you!)

Face it, I just recommend this book—and I thank Susan Cain for writing it.

Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group sent a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. The book is actually published by Crown Publishing, though. It is a well-researched and carefully written, secular psychology book.
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