‘Quiet The power of introversion in a world that can’t stop talking,’ the first thing that attracted me about the book is its name, there is not many books that address the world of quiet people-the introverts. The book addresses discusses ‘the world of introverts’ not so widely discussed before.
It is a well researched book which addresses the two dimensions of human psychology: Extroverts and Introverts. As Cain describes, “The book is about introversion as seen from a cultural point of view.”
The book’s opening chapter discusses the example of Rosa Park whom everyone described during her obituary as ‘timid and shy’ yet shake the world with her courage by denying to give up her seat on the bus as a protest against discrimination against black people that shaped the history of the U.S. Park’s autobiography reflects this paradox in its title Quiet Strength – what Cain analyses as it is a challenge for us to question our assumption – ‘Why shouldn’t quiet be strong? And what else can quiet do that we don’t give credit for?’
Susan Cain who used to be a trainer, has dealt with people from all walks of life, dealt with extroverts and introverts both. In her view the world would have been a much better place if the power dichotomy between the two personality traits would have been more balanced.
Cain mentions the term “north and south of temperament,” giving reference to science, she points out that this is where all human fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum. According to Cain, the society embraces ‘Extrovert Ideal’ so unthinkingly. She criticises that the society makes room for a narrow range of personality styles. ‘..to be great is to be bold, to be happy is to be sociable. We see ourselves as a nation of extroverts—which means we have lost sight of who we really are. Depending on which study we consult, one third of Americans are introverts—in other words one out of every two or three people you know.”
. Introverts living under the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man’s world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we’ve turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.” She points out that the on the contrary what society yields us to believe without introverts we wouldn’t have got the theory of gravity, Charlie Brown, Google, Harry Potter and some great movies like the Schildler’s List.
“I have seen firsthand how difficult it is for introverts to take stock of their own talents, and how powerful it is when finally they do.”
The aha time for me in the read is when she mentions that secret to life is to find the lighting right for us.—‘For some it’s a Broadway spotlight; for others, a lamplit desk.”
Being an introvert I could connect to the book so easily and it was indeed useful from a leader’s point of view because I believe that to be a leader you need to know one third or one half of your audience who are introverts.
Quiet The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Crown Publishers, 2012.