Quiet | The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

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It’s been a while since I shared a book review as it has taken me a few months to get through Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, a book that explores what it is to be an introvert or extrovert and that challenges the stereotypes of these personality types.

So, what does it mean to be an introvert? Commonly misconstrued as shy or socially awkward, there is actually a lot more to the introvert than meets the eye; Quiet explores the research and studies that have been conducted in recent years with regards to introverts and extroverts and reveals not only reasoning behind certain behaviours, but what sets the two personality types apart and how they can balance each other out.

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Many of the great minds of history, and even more present times, as well as the big thinkers, the creative gurus and the people who make headlines for their ideas, their work and their innovations, are in fact intorverts; take for example Stephen Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, who in his own book writes about how his need for solidarity growing up helped him develop mastery.

Teens who are too gregarious to spend time alone often fail to cultivate their talents “because practicing music or studying maths requires a solitude they dread”

According to the research in Cain’s book, the introvert is more capable of creative thinking and mastery because of their preference for solitude; however, this has nothing to do with whether or not an introvert is socially capable, people who are introverts don’t feel the need to seek out social situations, or spending time with large groups of people because of how their brain copes with external stimulus.

introverts have wide-open information channels, causing them to be flooded with stimulation and over-aroused, while extroverts have tighter channels, making them prone to under-arousal. Over arousal doesn’t produce anxiety so much as the sense that you can’t think straight – that you’ve had enough and would like to go home now. Under-arousal is something like cabin fever. 

For a long time growing up, I felt that I was lacking something because unlike most teenagers I didn’t have the desire to go out, join clubs or get involved in group work, I much preferred being at home in my bedroom drawing, listening to music or writing poems; it turns out that it is the extroverts inability to be easily stimulated that drives their need to be continuously surrounded by other people, so despite common belief, introverts are not the ones who are lacking, they are just more capable of finding their own company and interests stimulating and their is nothing wrong with enjoying solitude as Stephen Wozniak has clearly demonstrated with his success.

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Stimulation and socialising are just one aspect of the psychology behind introversion and extroversion that Cain explores in Quiet and what makes this book so very fascinating is that she doesn’t only focus on understanding the introvert, but the extrovert too and why the extrovert is so valued in our western culture, when in fact the introverts ability to process information, think creatively and have more attention detail, makes them a far more valuable member of the workforce and society then they are currently recognised as. Why do we consider the loudest person in the room, the one who is more capable of leading successfully, and not the person who takes time to consider their responses before speaking out loud? Why do we value the group think, the brainstorm and the open plan office when in fact they hinder our big thinkers from sharing their ideas? Quiet is not just a great book for helping those of us who are introverts to understands ourselves better, but it is for anyone who wishes to better understand these two opposing personality types and how to create a home, a classroom, a workplace or a relationship that caters for both.

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Buy Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking here.