Book review: Quiet

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

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I can't believe it's taken me so long to finish "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking". As I mentioned this before, I can devour a novel in a few days but reading anything other than fiction tends to bore me --even if it's a topic I consider important.

This book was everything I expected and much more. Susan Cain, being an introvert herself, accurately describes all the struggles that most introverts face at some point in their lives. I praise how she took her time to travel, interview both introverts and extroverts, authors, teachers and scientists, and how she neatly laid it out for everyone to understand. Sure, from time to time, she shares her own experience. But this book is based on research and assertively argues that there is nothing wrong about being an introvert and that --just like anything else in life-- having a certain personality type it's downsides and upsides. 

Here are some of the topics I found most interesting:

  • The extrovert ideal: In the early twentieth century, America switched from the Culture of Character to the Culture of Personality. "In the Culture of Character, the ideal self was serious, disciplined and honorable." Impressions didn't matter, actions did. But in the Culture of Personality, the opinions of others became more important, people had to be "bold and entertaining". It has persisted ever since, only causing more cases of anxiety because the pressure of reaching the extrovert ideal can be mentally exhausting. 
  • Introverts can be good leaders, and work better with an extrovert team. The same happens with extrovert leaders that achieve better results with an introvert team. Both styles complement each other. Not to mention, there has been famous introverts who became leaders or caused a huge impact in history, such as: Rosa Parks, Mahatma Gandhi, Charles Darwin, Eleanor Roosevelt, among others.
  • Cain also discusses highly sensitive people. When I got to this chapter, I was about to skim it through, since I thought it wouldn't apply to me. Turns out, thanks to this book, I realized that I'm a highly sensitive person. Not something I'm proud of (I wish I could I drink normal coffee and not have my heart rate rise like crazy) but many things have started to make more sense now that I know more about this condition. 
  • Opposites attract is not a myth. My boyfriend is an extrovert, an ESTP to be precise, just the complete opposite of me an INFJ. The author mentions how couples need to learn from each other, accept their differences and look for a middle ground. I felt identified and definitely learned from the other couples she interviewed.

Whether you're an introvert feeling a bit out of place, or an extrovert who is simply curious about the subject: read this book. You won't regret it. It's very eye-opening and will bring you to an epiphany so you can live your best quiet life. 

"Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you're supposed to." 

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