Introverts: You Are Not Defective!

Book Review: Quiet  by Susan CainImage

Summary:  Western culture thinks extroverts are better than introverts.  The truth is that both types are necessary and complement each other. Our extrovert bias causes lots of problems.  These two personality types have a physiological basis and can be identified even in infants. We need to realize how introverted or extroverted we are and plan our time and energy around this.  Asian cultures value introversion the way we do extroversion.  Introverts can learn to ‘fake’ extroversion.  This is useful but unhealthy if done too often. We should teach children who are introverts how to be themselves.

Good Stuff:

Huge boost to anyone who is an introvert in North America. You will suddenly see all the potential in your personality type.  Your personality is not defective.  Your strengths may be undervalued, but they are powerful.

Section entitled, “Does God Love Introverts?  An Evangelical’s Dilemma.”  Highlights the sometimes extreme bias towards extroversion in evangelical churches. The good people are always happy, talkative, friendly and talking about Jesus to everyone they meet.  Was Jesus an extrovert?

Advice on how to fake extroversion is brilliant. This is necessary in western culture at times.  Also good advice on how to do it without burning yourself out.

Chapter on Asian culture gives great insight into cross cultural communication.  My favorite quote from this chapter from an Asian woman in a university class in the US, “Ahh, I see.  In America as soon as you start talking you are okay.”

The end of the book is a good warning for extroverted parents of introverts.  Try to help them but don’t try to fix them.  They aren’t broken.

Complaints:  Not many.  This book is awesome.

Conclusion:  I highly recommend this book to those who are quieter or like to be alone.  Introvert/Extrovert is a powerful lens to view the world through.  Introverts are devalued in western society and Susan Cain strikes a powerful blow at that kind of thinking. Quiet is balanced and very well researched.  We really need extroverts to read this book as well.  Probably knowing that many of them won’t Cain kindly made a TED talk video on the same subject.   Although, to be honest, the book is much better than the TED talk.

by Isaac Whiting

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