Thursday, April 4, 2013

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

"...Introverts and extroverts differ in the level of outside stimulation that they need to function. Introverts feel 'just right' with less stimulation, as when they sip wine with a close friend, solve a crossword puzzle, or read a book. Extroverts enjoy the extra bang that comes from activities like meeting new people, skiing slippery slopes, and cranking up the stereo." --Susan Cain

As some of you might know, I am a pretty introverted person so when I heard about this book, I immediately went to check it out. Yes, I actually left my house and went to the library. And it wasn't even a Tuesday!

Quiet discusses how extroversion is idealized in our culture and why introversion has its creative benefits as well and shouldn't be devalued. Temperament is also talked about and how much of introversion/extroversion is nurture vs. nature. There's also tips on how to be an introvert in an extrovert-idealized world.

There's also a section on "Do all cultures have an extrovert ideal? Asian Americans and the Extrovert Ideal." Basically, it's a chapter on Asian-American kids growing up in Cupertino, California. This section seemed out of place. It's like the author finished the book, had someone read it, and that someone asked "What about different cultures?" So this chapter seems like an afterthought and an attempt to include other cultures into the book which could be another book in itself. I enjoyed the chapter and don't have anything against Asian-American kids who grew up in Cupertino (I even married one), but the chapter just seemed like a feeble attempt to add some ethnicity to the book.

Overall, this was an interesting read, especially for me, an introvert. There's neat stories and research, and it's just nice that introverts are finally getting some attention. The organization of the book was a bit unwieldy though and that chapter about Asian-Americans seemed randomly thrown in there.

Cain writes, "If there is only one insight you take away from this book, though, I hope it's a newfound sense of entitlement to be yourself." So, introverts, pick up this book! And then we can have an introvert party at my house and discuss it. Just kidding. I'd rather discuss with you each one-on-one.

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