Quiet: A Book Review

This summer I read one of the best books I have ever read in my life. The book is titled Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and it compiles years of carefully researched information to discuss introversion and the strength of being one. Not only that, but the author Susan Cain debunks several myths surrounding introverts and extroverts, which was really fascinating to read about. For example: introverts make just as good of leaders as extroverts do. An extrovert may seem like the obvious choice for a leadership role, but introverts can be equally as qualified because they take the time to listen to everyone and carefully consider all the options before making a decision, instead of jumping to a quick conclusion. Most importantly, Cain emphasizes that introverts shouldn’t be written off as antisocial and awkward. They are thoughtful, kind, passionate, observant, loving, good listeners and the list goes on and on. There is more than what meets the eye.  

What I love the most about this book is that not only is it incredibly well researched and supported, but it allowed me to understand myself a little better. I’m an introvert and I grew up in a family full of introverts. It’s always gone without saying that we cherish the time we spend together, but we also value and need our alone time. Interestingly enough, most of my best friends are extroverts, and making sure I get my alone time can be tricky sometimes. Even more so, navigating a college campus that seems to cater to the loud, extroverted types makes it easy to feel lost and overlooked. But this book helped me realize that introverts have just as many strengths as extroverts do, though they might come in quieter forms.

Cain describes how temperament, which is a biologically based emotional and behavioral pattern, can affect our personality. She explains that many introverts (not all) are high-reactive, which means they tend to think and feel a lot more deeply than those who are low-reactive. People who are high-reactive usually notice and absorb more about the world because they are generally more sensitive. These findings discovered by developmental psychologist Jerome Kagan were groundbreaking because it established the link between temperament and personality.

Perhaps one of the most interesting topics discussed was how most education systems are structured to fit the needs of children who are more extroverted and often neglect the quieter kids. Because of this, introvertedness is often portrayed as a negative trait for young children to possess. If a child doesn’t make friends easily or isn’t the first to raise their hand, they can be viewed as antisocial when really, they just process and respond differently to stimuli than the outgoing children do. I was and still am one of these kids. I am incredibly shy, quiet and it always takes me awhile to muster up the courage to make a new friend. It has never been a good feeling to be known as the quiet or shy kid in class. But now I understand the power of introvertedness and that there is always more than being the loudest person in the room. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is an introvert, is friends with an introvert or is related to an introvert. I can honestly say that this book has changed the way I think about myself and has helped me realize the strengths that lie beneath my quiet exterior. There is truly so much power in being quiet and it's comforting to know the world is beginning to realize this.