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Quiet | Susan Cain | Review

Quiet Susan Caine book cover

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. You may have seen them around, they’re the listeners or off in the corner coming up with ideas. You may even be one of these people often labelled as quiet, shy, and easily overwhelmed in crowds.

Susan Cain endevours to explore this often forgotten personality type. Her starting point is the softspoken values of early civilisations to society’s evolution and preference for the ‘extrovert’ ideal, and more importantly why we suddenly live in a world where ‘he who shouts the loudest’ has reached a saturation point. Cain delves into the historical and contemporary psychological and biological research behind the differences between introverts and extroverts, showing the reader how the brain functions differently for the two personality sets.

She provides real world context for the studies, by speaking to and presenting case studies of individuals on all points of the introvert/extrovert spectrum. Cain also explores the varrying environments of the world and how it can effect introverts, from the modern open plan primary school classroom, to the differing cultural atmospheres of Asian and American schools, to the brash leaderships and collaborations styles of business in the 21st Century.

What is most interesting is the examples of successful Introverts in the real world, the advice she gives on how to work with and not against this personality type, and the empowering messages that will make you think twice about how powerful introverts can be.

So what’s my verdict?

I could speak volumes about how much I loved this book, but this post would go on for pages and pages! Quiet is full of eye-opening insights into the biological and psychological anatomy of an Introvert. It’s incredibly in depth and well researched by Cain, who’s knowledge of the subject matter seeps through each page.

But don’t mistake this for a science textbook, Quiet is just as much about the social and human effects introversion can have on individuals as the biological make up of their brains. It celebrates introverts and empowers them to share their trait with the world, because they are just as important as extroverts. Though the book is, obviously, heavily skewed towards an introverted reader, Cain never reverts to anti-extrovert bashing. She encourages a balance between the two, showing how both types of personality has it’s weaknesses and solutions on how they can work in perfect harmony.

As a self-confessed introvert I found myself nodding along to many points she brought up. It was a reassuring read as someone who, for many years, felt this personality trait was a hinderance rather than an enabler (Cain references the fact that introversion is often mislabelled as shyness). The first thought that crossed my mind when I finished was ‘Everyone in the world needs to read this book!’ and my view still holds firm. Quiet was brilliantly written and Cain’s tone felt both unpatronising and incredibly inspiring!

Reading Soundtrack:

Keep Your Head Up: Ben Howard; Voices: Joe Brooks; Long Live: Taylor Swift; I'll Be Ok: McFLY; I Stand: Idina Menzel; New Perspective: Panic! at the Disco

For lovers of

human psychology – in particular the works of Jung and Myers Briggs - as well as Cain's TED Talk on The Power of Introverts.

1 comment

  1. On my book list. Thanks.
    Claire xx


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