Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking

Author: Susan Cain
Read by: Kathe Mazur
Genre: Self-Help, Non-Fiction
Type: e-audiobook
Source: Local Public Library
Publisher: Random House Audio
First Published: January 2012
First Line: "Montgomery, Alabama."

Book Description from GoodReads:  At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.

Perhaps most inspiring, she introduces us to successful introverts--from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Finally, she offers invaluable advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a "pretend extrovert."

This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.

My Review:  As I enter my 40's I'm starting to 'get' myself more.  Accept me for me.  One of the main things that I've learned about myself is that I'm an introvert. That's no big shock to me or to my family and friends (I don't think anyway).  That doesn't mean that I'm ultra shy (although I can be quiet and sometimes was thought of as a snob when I just didn't have much to say).  I have a healthy sense of humour and will share it with people when I feel comfortable with them.  I much prefer to socialize in small groups and really get anxious when I think about going into a huge group, especially full of people I don't know well.  While I can't claim to having 500+ friends on Facebook, the friends that I have I keep close and have many friendships last for several decades.

Okay, enough background on me.  Because of this revelation of myself, when I saw this book on my friend Nicole's GoodReads feed I knew I wanted to read it.  I wanted to validate some of my feelings of being an introvert and maybe have someone tell me the positives about being more of a quiet person.

The main thing that I took away from this book was that it's okay for me to not be an extrovert.  We get so many messages on a daily basis (school, work, media) that an outgoing personality means success, more friends and is generally more valued than introversion.  It was nice to hear that it takes all kinds of personalities to make the world go round.

I also loved getting the validation that some of my anxious feelings in large groups may stem from the fact that I'm just not necessarily wired to like that kind of thing and that my feelings aren't a social deficiency within me.  Quiet also helped me to see the introversion in my own kids (and husband) and that I need to stop pushing so much to get my kids to be outgoing because that's what I've been told (by society and others) that they should be doing.  My new plan is to let them be who they are but still encourage them to live life to the fullest ... in their own, unique ways.

While this book had some great validation and descriptions of introversion in the beginning and end of the book I will admit to skimming through the middle.  The middle felt like the author was focusing too much on extroversion with only little comments to show the benefits of being an introvert.

Overall, the benefits at the beginning and end of this book outweighed the slow go in the middle. This was a good book for those who want to learn more about the different social needs that introverts have compared to extroverts.

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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