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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Book Review: Quiet

Long-time readers of the blog know that I'm an introvert - I scored 100% on the I side of the I/E section of the Myers-Briggs personality test. Since taking that test, I have become much more accepting of myself, how I spend my time, and who I spend my time with.

A few years ago, I read (and reviewed) The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney, and found many of the tips in the book to be useful. So, when I heard about Susan Cain's book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Just Can't Stop Talking, I was very excited to pick it up.

Quiet is a lot different than The Introvert Advantage. The latter is more of a self-help book, with tips and tricks on how to deal with certain situations, while the former was more of a review of the psychological and neurological research done on introversion versus extroversion. For a great review of the content, check out Bee's review of the book on Backreaction.

I'll admit, this book was a bit drier and a more difficult read than The Introvert Advantage, but was incredibly interesting nonetheless. Even though the book didn't include a lot of specific tips for how to thrive in an extrovert world as an introvert, except in the last couple of chapters, it did validate many of my thoughts, feelings, and actions. 

For example, I know I have a socially demanding job in science outreach: I share an office, I attend a lot of meetings, and I go into classrooms 2-3 times a week to give presentations and do activities. I can do all these things while showing my pseudo-extrovert side, but as soon as the day is over I just want to crash in front of the TV or computer and be "in my head". It's my way of recharging in order to thrive at work the next day.

I'm feeling more and more comfortable in my introvert skin. I understand my limits, and know when I'm pushing myself too hard. For example, I know to make sure I don't have social events two evenings in a row, or more than one social obligation on a weekend. It works for me, and I'm getting better at not apologizing for filling my needs.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who's interested in the research side of things on this topic --- which would mostly be interesting to introverts ;) --- there still is a lot to learn, but I hope that it opens the doors to more conversations about how to address the needs of introverts as well as extroverts at schools and in the workplace. I give this book a 4/5.

Check out Susan Cain's TED talk about her book (and, yes, she's an introvert and gave a wonderful TED talk).