What do all these people have in common? Sir Isaac Newton, Theodor Geisel ( Dr. Seuss) , Steven Spielberg, Marcel Proust, J.K. Rowling, and Albert Einstein? They are all introverts. Each of these fascinating people has created art, ideas and inventions that have had a huge impact in our everyday lives.
Today’s book, Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking celebrates the introvert. If you are unfamiliar to what an introvert is here is a definition:
An introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people. Introverts are more concerned with the inner world of the mind. They enjoy thinking, exploring their thoughts and feelings.
Before I get into my review of today’s book choice, I must confess something. I have not read the entire book. I know it is lame to do a book review and not have read the entire book. I am doing it anyway, because I love this book.
I read a review of this book long before it was available for purchase. Introversion is a subject near and dear to my heart. I live with introverts. My husband and three boys all have introvert traits. I bought, Quiet, as a way to better understand them. At times, I have felt different from my boys and wanted to better know the world from their perspective.
Susan Cain, the author of Quiet, was once a corporate lawyer and now a successful writer. Her book is incredibly interesting for those of us who live and work with introverts. Ms. Cain’s book well researched and filled with stories of real people. She clearly explains what an introvert is and is not.
My goal for reading this book was to develop a better understanding of my immediate and extended family. Both older sisters, my brother and in-laws are all introverts. I have always considered myself an extrovert. Most of my friends and family think the same thing. But when I took Ms. Cain’s book assessment, I found out something very interesting. It turns out, I am an introvert too. The informal quiz listed all sorts of behaviors an introverted person might do and I answered yes to most of them.
I have always know certain things about me, but did not realize they were considered introversion traits. For example, I enjoy solitude. I enjoy to express myself with writing. I do not enjoy multi-tasking. I feel drained after being out, even if I’ve enjoyed myself. I often let calls go through to voicemail. Pretty interesting stuff, huh?
Once I started reading, Quiet, I began to understand the person who I would learn most about would be…me. The book gives examples of extroverted people and how extraversion is considered by most in the business world, a more desirable trait. But the book also, provides a lot of examples of introverted people very successful in business, despite their quiet demeanor.
The book is broken down into four parts:
Part One: The Extrovert Ideal
Part Two: Your Biology, Your Self?
Part Three: Do all cultures have an Extrovert Ideal?
Part Four: how to Love, How to Work
On the introvert scale, I am not nearly as introverted as my family. When I first became a parent, I struggled with my children’s need for quiet after a long activity. I was often disappointed when they were not interacting with other children in big gatherings. In some ways, I wished they would be more outgoing, outspoken and easy. I fell into the same trap of idealizing the extrovert, that Ms. Cain claims so many of us do.
What makes this book most appealing to me is how it celebrates how over one third of the population being introverts. Instead of trying to convince the reader to be the societal ideal extrovert, it provides many examples of why introverts are valuable. The book reminds the reader we all have something to give, no matter what our personality trait is.
Still in the process of reading this wonderful book, but I had to tell you my impression so far. I am learning so much, not only about the people I love the most, but the person who I often misunderstand the most…me.
Happy reading friends.