Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Quiet by Susan Cain - Book Review

Confession: I'm an introvert.  I discovered this during grad school when I had to take a Myers-Briggs Personality Test.  It was like someone pulled back the curtain explaining why I liked to be a homebody and have downtime by myself; it also explained why large gatherings were sometimes overwhelming.

Fastforward to now, when I had the opportunity to read and review Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain.  After reading the book synopsis, I jumped at the chance. 

Cain's premise is that our society is structured for extroverts (a culture of personality), and often introverts get pushed to the side.  This can, and does, result in important contributions sometimes going unnoticed.  Cain set out to explain how introverts can function in this setting, and even thrive.  Along the way, she references multiple studies and anecdotes, some concerning herself and people she knows.  I found this book fascinating, basically reading it over the weekend (after a rough start with the first chapter, which is heavy on background).  Topics include The Myth of Charismatic Leadership (looking at Harvard Business School), When Collaboration Kills Creativity (how group work drowns the benefits of working by yourself), Is Temperament Destiny, Why Did Wall Street Crash and Warren Buffett Prosper, Do All Cultures Have an Extrovert Ideal?, The Communication Gap (really interesting in Introvert/Extrovert relationships), and more.

This is a must read for introverts.  It will empower and validate you if you tend to struggle with the typical introvert needs (alone time, feeling lost in a group, work environment, etc.).  It can be a valuable read for extroverts as well, particularly extroverts in leadership positions (your introvert employees can be a strength).

To link to Susan Cain's website, click here.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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