I have just finished Susan Cain’s powerful book, Quiet. It has become a bestseller and it is not hard to see why. The book speaks to a need that introverts like myself have been aware of implicitly and articulates it in explicit form. Quiet is an introvert’s manifesto–empowering, enlightening, and comforting.
She spent seven years researching the book and it covers the entire corpus of research as well as field interviews and experiences such as participating in a Tony Robbins seminar.
She makes a good case that the United States is a culture of extroversion and has been for the past one hundred years. Introverts may find it difficult to find solace in the noisy world that extroverts have created. Worse, they may feel somehow deficient.
I have been vaguely aware that I have not fit the norm for all of my life. The wonderful thing about Quiet is how it normalizes introversion. It’s not a defect; it’s a different way of being.
I haven’t really given introversion much explicit thought since studying the theories of Carl Jung in college and the Big Five Personality Theory in graduate school (I used the NEO PI in my masters thesis).
I’ve definitely been subject to the types of prejudice she catalogues in the book and reading about this has been a revelation. As I said above, I knew this implicitly, but to have it explicated the is helpful. She provides a useful road map for tapping into introvert strengths and not losing sight of the power and value that introverts have.
I am currently working on my own book on introverts. Stay tuned for more details as the project progresses.