Book Review: Quiet by Susan Cain.
“It was called the most important book published in a decade, and I completely agree.”
I have always questioned why I felt different to the majority, until recently. I was always quiet. Thoughtful. I preferred the company of books to that of people, so my school life was rather difficult. For this reason, Quiet by Susan Cain resonated with me in a way that left me speechless. I don’t think I ever quite fathomed the amount of research that had gone into the world of introversion and extroversion. I always thought I was odd, and was often made to feel that way, but it turns out that I was just one among many.
Quiet explores the strengths of the introverted among us. Susan Cain delves into the subject, and without fear, questions how change can be made to schools and workplaces to cultivate those strengths. You see, we live in a world that has adapted to the extrovert. In school, we’re taught to work in groups and speak among crowds. At work, we’re expected to be able to make presentations and enjoy team building activities. In our personal lives, we’re expected to attend every social event we’re invited to or be in a perfectly adapted relationship. These are all extroverted ideals that have been popularised by those that speak the loudest, without thought for those that need the quiet.
Cain’s research in this book is deep. From interviews with academics and professors, to personal views and experience, Cain has incorporated a vast amount of knowledge into Quiet. One of my favourite chapters was about the research done with how we grow to be introverted (or extroverted), and how it can be predicted from a very young age. It brings into question the nature versus nurture discussion. Is it biology or experience? Turns out, studies have shown, it’s a combination of both, but we can predict the probability of either. High-reactive children are more likely to be introverted, and low-reactive are more likely to be extroverted.
About the writing style; Cain’s ability is flawless as she switches between fact driven article and personal perspective. Despite it bearing a considerably heavy subject, Quiet is both easy to read and understand, and is thoroughly entertaining. I like how open Cain is about herself and her own experience. This adds much to the overall charm of the book. Cain is clear about her mission and what she wants to achieve through her research. She is a voice of reason among those that may not be willing to speak up.
And I know that many of you reading this can probably relate to Cain, and myself, so here are some strengths that you should consider, if you too are Quiet:
- We may not speak as much, but we listen intently. This makes us great empaths and absorbers of spoken knowledge.
- We read a lot. From this, we learn at an increased rate and have a greater ability for imagination.
- From art, reading and writing, we have a learned focus, that we can apply to other elements of our lives.
- We think a lot and have a greater ability to analyse and apply logic.
- We are generally more creative.
- We find joy from simpler things.
- We’re not afraid to be alone.
- When we do speak up, it’s for a reason, and we are listened to more intently.
These are just a few to consider and are inspired by the works of Cain and her research. Learn to lean into your strengths, and not fight against them. Realise your weaknesses, but don’t let them hold you back. This is something that I learned a few years ago and will never look back to who I was. In all my quietness, I have learned that I am a strong leader. I push myself because I am passionate about people and life. If you’re introverted, just be yourself. Find your passion and everything else will fall into place. If you’re extroverted, then remember that some of us just enjoy the quiet.
Quiet is an incredible book. It was called the most important book published in a decade, and I completely agree. I say this book left me speechless, and it did at first, but after absorbing so much information, I find myself with a lot to say on the subject. Quiet is a book that spoke to me on many levels, and is a book that should be read by most. Of course, without hesitation, I give Quiet 5/5.
(Also published on http://www.redefined-media.com.)