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Susan Cain

Quiet



The subtitle of this book is ‘The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’. This is a pretty solid summary of what this book is about. I’m definitely an introvert so I thought this would quite an insightful read by attempting to know myself a little better.

Initially, Cain talks about the Western world being dominated by the ‘extrovert ideal’ which is described as ‘the omnipresent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha and comfortable in the spotlight’. She then goes on to cover the pitfalls of this idea and distinguishes introversion as ‘having a preference for a quiet, more minimally stimulating environment’. Cain covers a lot throughout the book and goes into detail about the dynamics of being an introvert and ways in which certain environments and society can acknowledge and optimise for different personalities. She also delves into her personal experience in this world as an introvert, accompanying some of her ideas with personal anecdotes.

I really enjoyed this book; I think some of her emphasis on the world not being built for introverts is sometimes a bit extrapolative. However, she does have a lot of research which backs up a lot of her claims. I thought her exploration of different environments was interesting, especially domains such as the workplace, personal relationships and education. I definitely think it helped me understand myself better and gave me confirmation about previously held beliefs.

Cain covers a lot in here so even if you are an extrovert you will still get some value out of it. I’d definitely recommend to anyone to be honest. Cain presents all her ideas well and it’s just an enjoyable read. If you don’t want to read her whole book, then you might want to check out her TED talk.