I have just finished re-reading Quiet by Susan Cain. I am so re-enthused about it that I thought I would mention it in our blog.
The subtitle of Quiet is ‘The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’. The author explores our cultural perception of ‘introvert’ qualities. She challenges the (largely) negative connotations associated with having introvert versus extrovert characteristics.
As her thoroughly referenced research reveals, studies show that a third to a half of the population are introverts. That’s a lot of people! However, as Ms Cain writes (quoting the psychologist Carl Jung), “There is no such thing as a pure extrovert or a pure introvert. Such a man would be in the lunatic asylum.”
Fascinatingly, it turns out that other species also have introvert and extrovert group members. And that contrary to a single set of characteristics ensuring ‘survival of the fittest’, it’s the presence of both types that guarantees the survival of a species. Different characteristics benefit the group in different circumstances – in relation to food, territory, reproduction, etc.
Quiet is beautifully and entertainingly written in the first person – more like an adventure story than a sociological study (but stuffed full of notes and references at the back).
Most importantly, Susan Cain demonstrates that to value extrovert over introvert characteristics, or to push introverts to be more extrovert, is to risk losing vital sources of creativity, intelligence, skills and ideas that our human species and the planet are desperately in need of - now more than ever!
I realised as I began to write this, that I still feel insecure about ‘coming out’ and exposing myself as a person who identifies with these preferences, behaviours and experiences which define me as introvert (or on the introvert end of the spectrum).
But reading Quiet has started to free me from self-judgement that I wasn’t even fully aware of. So I am choosing to be courageous, hoping it might benefit others struggling with their own – or someone else’s – introvert nature. This book offers an opportunity to re-evaluate and celebrate these qualities.
Go Introverts Go! :-D ;-)
Here are a few links you might find interesting:
Quiet (where to buy)
Susan Cain (speaking at TED)
Quiet Revolution (org co-founded by Susan Cain)
Dear visitors: This is the first of (what I hope will be) many personal recommendations of books by the Othona team. At Othona West Dorset we are blessed to be surrounded by inspiring books, and visitors who enjoy sharing about interesting books, and sometimes the writers of the books! So we thought it would be fun and interesting to share about books we value.
By the way… We receive NO financial gain for recommending a book, nor from the links included in the blog post.