I picked up “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain a couple of years ago on a whim in the Strand Bookstore. I generally don’t read non-fiction but there was something about this book that drew me to buy it; it was like the Universe knew I needed to read it.
As most books I buy, it casually sat on my bookshelf for months before I set out to read it. What prompted me was watching Susan Cain’s TED Talk on introversion. Within the first few minutes of the video, I had chills crawling up my arm. She was describing me. She starts off the talk thinking back to an experience she had at a summer camp as a little girl. I thought back to my own camp experiences, both as a camper and as staff and every single word she spoke illustrated my own struggle with staying quiet.
By the end of the video, I was almost crying. I felt so validated by Cain and all her research. I knew I had to start reading the book.
“Quiet” is a gem for introverts who are looking for a sense of validation that their timidness is not something that needs to be fixed or worked on.
It’s something powerful that helps build creativity, intelligence, and strength. Cain describes how powerful persuasion can something be more successful than aggressive persuasion.
There are sections in the book that talk directly to parents of introverts, teachers of introverts, partners to introverts. How many times have we heard that teachers are grading us on class participation but we are too terrified to raise our hands? How many times did we shut down in the middle of an argument with a partner?
One of my favorite college professors spoke to me when I visited her in her office hours on the importance of putting yourself out there and not being afraid to speak up or ask questions. She told me, “I know speaking in class is hard for you, but I’m expecting you to raise your hand or you will get a C in participation.”
“Quiet” made me feel like my introversion was not something to be ashamed of, and not something to feel like I needed to work on or get better at.
While I benefitted greatly from reading this book, it also wasn’t an easy read for me. It was broken up into hefty chapters with a lot of intellectual psychological language that I wasn’t familiar with. It took me a few months to read. Some chapters resonated more with me than others.
But I liked the way it grabbed me. I liked the way there were specific lines that explained exactly how I was feeling or what I need to work on in life.
Cain explains the nuances between introverts and extroverts and the benefits of each personality trait while also explaining the different types of introverts and extroverts. Not everyone fits easily and naturally into a box or category, and Cain recognizes and addresses that.
“Quiet” is a must read for introverts, teachers (especially grade school teachers), parents, or anyone invested in building relationships with people who identify as introverts.