Review: Quiet by Susan Cain

Quiet by Susan Cain

A review

Susan Cain’s Quiet is a book about introverts by an introvert for introverts.

Okay, I think I got a bit carried away there! Quiet, subtitled “The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” is not just for introverts but also for extroverts and in fact for anyone lying anywhere on the continuum between the two. Of course, strictly speaking, as Carl Jung said, every one of us lies somewhere on the continuum and isn’t 100% of one or the other.

In Quiet, Cain lays out the facts of this enigmatic personality type: the whys and hows of an introvert. She talks about how the world came to worship extroversion as the ideal and why introversion has still survived and its evolutionary boons. Extrapolating, she diligently deduces the strengths of introversion and suggests ways to leverage these. Perhaps more importantly, she chalks out the path for an introvert to survive and bloom in a society where extroversion is the more widely accepted and appreciated norm. And this is precisely where Susan’s work grows beyond being just an academic study on personality types and interactions, to a living manual of applying that knowledge towards building a better, sweeter life. She takes on myths of charismatic leadership and collaborative creativity. But, through it all, she does not try to crown one personality as the king type. Introverts, though, are her primary audience. She details ways for them to work around their habits and preferences to achieve both joy and success – even in fields considered traditionally to be extroverts’ bastions.

P.S.: The cover of the paperback edition which I own ( the Penguin) is a gem in itself. Embossed in white on a white background, the hardly noticeable title will bring a quiet smile on your face !

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