‘Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’ is a book I have been actively introducing to all my introverted friends because it is SUCH a powerful read.
One of the arguments that struck me early on in the book was when author Susan Cain argued introversion in our modern era has been relegated to a ‘second-class personality trait’ as compared to extroversion.
“You might still feel a pang of guilt when you decline a dinner invitation in favor of a good book. Or maybe you like to eat alone in restaurants and could do without the pitying looks from fellow diners. Or you’re told that you’re “in your head too much,” a phrase that’s often deployed against the quiet and cerebral.”
The book gives voice to a group of typically silent people in our society by dispelling the usual negative connotations associated with introversion such as ‘lazy, stupid, slow, boring.’ Instead, they are regarded as ‘high-reactive’ people, who are ‘alert, sensitive to nuance and have complex emotionality.’
Even though I am not much of an introvert, this book remains relevant, having met many quiet people in my daily life.
[Scroll below for video based on the contents of this book]
A fascinating comparison made between extroverts and introverts was in the financial market.
Extroverts who occupy the upper echelons of businesses, said Cain, engage in more aggressive risk-taking behavior because they are wired to be more driven by rewards than their counterpart. Some even resulted in high-profile bankruptcies and stock markets to crash. Recall the infamous Enron business scandal?
In contrast, introverts when faced with potential rewards tend to be more cautious and vigilant, which makes them unpopular because they are usually are the wet blanket at the party.
“The problem is that, on one side, you have a rainmaker who is making lots of money for the company and is treated like a superstar, and on the other side you have an introverted nerd. So who do you think wins?”
Towards the end of the book,I felt guilty for all the negative feelings and misconceptions I had towards my introverted friends and at the same time touched by the author’s main takeaway message – it is ok to be an introvert in our loud, raucous world.
Extroverts and introverts are unlike each other because they respond differently to external stimulation. Extroverts should respect their counterparts for the differences rather than to coerce introverts to ‘come out of the shell.’
“The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting. For some it’s a Broadway spotlight; for others, a lamplit desk. Use your natural powers – of persistence, concentration, insight, and sensitivity – to do work you love and work that matters. Solve problems, make art, think deeply.”
That would be exactly what I will be doing.
[Click on the image below to purchase this book on Amazon.com]
Below is an wonderfully-drawn animation based on the contents of this book. Enjoy!