Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was recommended to me by a couple of people - introverts who were glad at last to see some light being shed on the subject. And upon reading this, I can see why. I confess to feeling relieved that so many of my natural inclinations to seek quiet time alone, avoid talking on the phone, socialise in smaller groups, engage in deep conversations are not only acceptable, they can also be wonderful!
The premise of the book is that Quiet people wield vast and underrated power, in a world where extroversion and confidence are seemingly valued above all other personal qualities. Susan Cain explores cultural, work and educational institutions to understand why confident behaviour is valued beyond reason. She also suggests that many natural introverts have successfully built 'extrovert' masks to allow them to get on in their chosen careers. In Cain's opinion this is not a bad thing, but it goes a long way to explaining why some introverts (and I include myself) seem to others to be anything but.
She uses anecdotal experience alongside studies and interviews to build a case for the unique approach that introverts bring - not simply because they are steady and considered, but because they have the focus and the persistence to innovate and create.
Most people are able to relate to both introverted and extroverted thoughts and behaviours - Susan Cain makes the case for recognising and nurturing the unique qualities of each. In doing this she offers a scenario where individuals, families and organisations are more effective and harmonious, as each person is given the balance of space and stimulation that they need to live well.