Friday, August 3, 2012

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

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
By: Susan Cain

So I am a pretty introverted person. Yep, I even took the test (16/20 true), just to be sure ;) and I have to say, I loved this book. It strikes me as odd that people are so obsessed with being extroverted. It boggles my mind most of the time.  The amount of time, money and energy that people poor into making themselves and the people around them “extroverted” is a concept I simply do not agree with. Now I am not saying we should all live in a little shell as if we are a monk residing in an our own personal abbey, but seriously, to me, there is such a thing as being over extraverted.

While reading Mrs. Cain’s book I could not help but think our society was better off when our values were emphasized on the “old” attributes like: citizenship, duty, work, golden deeds, honor, reputation, morals, manners and integrity, than they have become with our “new”  attributes of focusing on the self  and being an enigma to others. We took great quality characteristics and replaced them with shallow, self serving, all about me characteristics. All I can say to that is I miss the old days and strive to bring my kids up by those characteristic and not our newfound ones that have people so jazzed up.

 I loved the quote from Woodbury’s 1922 soap Ad “All around you, people are judging you silently” and “critical eyes are sizing you up right now!” There is such an amazing amount of truth in those statements even today. Yet, our culture loves to be talked about. The more outlandish you are the more attention you get. It’s like we live in a world where the more idiotic you appear, the greater your chance of success in life.  I read the story of Tony Robbins, but I am skeptical of people that jump around and use closed ended statement s to get you to agree with them or their product they are pushing.  It is so cliché and laughable. It is said imitation is the highest form of praise, but I value uniqueness in an individual.  I don’t like people that go around and only regurgitate someone else’s opinion or idea about life. Have your own insight and creativity. Be your own man/woman. Stand up on your own coattails. I instantly distrust people who are hoping around, going crazy and running around like a fool who just did a line of coke. I am not impartial either to this. The sales man, the motivational speakers or the preacher. I show no bias. There is something distrust worthy to me about someone who has to put on such a show for his or her audience to buy into what they are selling. I am not saying I want them to stand in front the mike, flat faced with no external emotion, but there is a middle ground to be had and that is where I personally like to see things at. Everyone loves the charismatic leader that draws everyone’s attention and speaks just for them alone, but I prefer to rely on body language to see if someone buys into their product or self.

The section on “When Collaboration Kills Creativity” was amazing and insightful.  There is a struggle with both the introvert and the extrovert with group work. Each person has important information and creativity that they can bring into a group situation that would otherwise be lacking.  This section really gave me something to sit back and contemplate. It was worth re-reading to me, especially since I work with a VERY extroverted boss.

My favorite chapter’s though had to be the ones on communicating with people of opposite type as you and “How to Cultivate Quiet Kids in a World That Can’t Hear Them. “ These two topics really fascinated me simply because I have one introverted child and 2 major extroverted children and it seems we do have difficulty communicating with each other. I LOVED Carl Jung’s quote: The meeting of 2 personalities is like the contact of 2 chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” I could not say it any better myself! I tend to think that my kids and I complement each other in different level and help make up for each other’s “lacking” qualities.  I also, adored the role-playing aspect of this chapter. I have done this with my own children to get them to understand how their words and actions appear to others despite what they are trying to say/convey. It’s a standard technique that marriage counselors use themselves to this day and it is enlightening to say the least.

I greatly enjoyed this book .I learned so much from it that I know I can apply and take with me when dealing with not only my family, but my friends, co-workers and strangers alike. Although I have to say I don’t really enjoy the cover very much and as such thought the book was going to be a very dry read. I am glad I was wrong. The book is chalk full of humorous antecedents and several times I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard at the slogans companies used. I t was a fascinating read on al l fronts.  This book is diffidently for someone though that has at least moderate interest in the topic. It is not one that you pick up out of curiosity alone or I am afraid you will quickly become bored and put it down only to collect dust and that would be a shame. 

Want more? Click on any of the link to learn more about Susan and her great books!

Author Website - The Power of Introverts:
Susan Cain on TED:
More Info:
Read Chapter One:
Author Bio:

Amazon review:
 "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."

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