Sunday, 25 August 2013

Book of the Week: Quiet

"Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pyjamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. The listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions."

As an introvert myself, I find it to be a fascinating subject, and so a book which sings their praises is something that I welcome with open arms. Quiet by Susan Cain is just that, an inside look at the psychology behind introverts and the qualities that make them wonderful. 

Now, I feel that I should define what an introvert is, for those of you that think that they are social recluses who hate everyone, a common misconception actually. An introvert is someone who uses energy to interact with other people, and then needs alone time to recharge, as opposed to an extrovert, who draws energy from socialising. That doesn't mean that we don't love being sociable, because I definitely do. I just find it a lot more tiring than an extrovert would. Also, I think that the most common misconception is that all introverts are shy. This is not at all the case. Shyness and introversion are not the same thing, although most would think so. As well as the introvert/extrovert spectrum, there are also the categories of anxious and calm. An anxious introvert would most likely be shy, but it is also possible to be an anxious extrovert (I can't think of anything more frustrating than wanting to socialise but being too shy to do so). I fall into the category of calm introvert. I'm in my element when working alone, I love to write more than I love to talk, and I don't like huge groups of people, but I feel relatively at ease talking to new people, I can discuss soemthing that I'm passionate about for hours, and I don't panic at the thought of interaction.

On to the book. One of first things that struck me is the amount of influential people who are introverts. I have always been aware that my idol, J. K Rowling is introverted, and quite proud of it, one of the many reasons I love her. But I didn't know that important figures like Rosa Parks, Sir Isaac Newton, Steven Spielberg, and even Dr. Seuss are also introverts! Another point that I found really interesting is that the most successful pairings are those of introvert and extrovert - Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. or Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, to name a few. Together they cover all bases, making them a force to be reckoned with, and this I find inspiring.

I also love how this book tells you the merits of an introvert. The society that we live in seems to think that being an extrovert is ideal, and the only way to get ahead, but this book flips that on it's head and discusses the qualities that an introvert possesses that make them just as valuable, if not more so in certain situations. An introvert, for example, can concentrate for an awful lot longer than an extrovert, and they do not make rash decisions, but focus on long term consequences. In some lines of work, like the stock market, the ability to think on your feet and make quick fire decisions is an important one, suited to extroverts, but in other fields, the qualities of an introvert are much more fitted. This book has been a godsend for me lately, as I have been job hunting, and it's really taught me about qualities I have that I didn't even realise were assets!

The book is filled with random titbits of information. I found myself audibly saying 'well I never..' on a couple of occasions. It's always nice to learn something new! For example, did you know that the human race are programmed to fear public speaking. When we were cavemen, if that many eyes were on you, they were usually the eyes of predators about to attack, so we either had to run for our lives (something I often feel like doing before a big presentation. I don't though.) or stand and fight. So, by nature we have to suppress the 'fight or flight' instinct that would have served us back then, meaning that we are actually hard-wired to hate it. Interesting, no? 

The book peters out a bit towards the end, with a whopping great chapter on how to deal with introverted kids. Now, I'm not a huge fan of children, so I couldn't really have cared less about this chapter, but up to that point, the whole book is fascinating. Totally worth picking up if you're interested in introverts. If you are an introvert, it will give you a lovely ego boost - you're brilliant, and you should know it, and if you're not an introvert, then I promise it'll change the way you think about them.

Have you read this book? Do you find the subject interesting? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Let me know!


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  1. This book does sound interesting to me, different to the usual books I read. I myself am an introvert. When I'm with my family I'm relatively happy and calm. But when I'm with friends I think that I'd feel that they'd only wish to talk to the crazy side of me. I may fear at times if they see the calmer me they might think somethings wrong.
    I'll definitely give this book a shot :)
    Michaela x

    1. I used to feel exactly the same way until I'd read this! It really makes you realise how many of your amazing qualities come from being an introvert. Instead of thinking I should try to be more extroverted all the time, I'm just happy to be exactly how I want to be now! Definitely read it, you'll love it! xx

  2. I always thought introverts were more mysterious and less likely to make social mistakes because they tend to be cautious by nature. Perhaps I should read the book to see if I'm anywhere close to defining introverts correctly. Great review!

    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such kind words on my post - I really appreciate it! I've been reading some of your posts too and it's all about books - which I TOTALLY appreciate!! I do book reviews once a month but I see that you do it about once a week which is amazing - it's so hard to finish a book in a week sometimes because life happens and we get so busy.

    Anyways, I quite like your blog as well and I'm following you on Bloglovin. I look forward to reading your posts!

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

    1. That is one of the traits of an introvert! I'd really recommend the book if you're at all interested in personality traits. It's so fascinating!

      And you're so welcome! Yours is such a wonderful blog =) I'm starting to regret the book of the week idea, because it is a lot of work. I really want to keep it up though, so I'm really trying!

  3. This sounds amazing - I love anything that prompts you to take a deeper look into yourself, especially if it's regarding a preconception you already hold. Thanks for the recommendation!

    (Sorry about the deleted comment, it had a broken link in it!)


    1. So do I, it's really nice to turn a negative preconception into a positive knowledge as well, especially when it concerns your own personality! I'm glad you like the recommendation, I'll try to keep them coming =) xx