I have been described as “quiet” my whole life. I am not the person in the middle of the crowd, I am the one on the edges, watching and listening. I need time to myself, and I can only put up with large groups of people for so long. I enjoy in-depth conversations, but excessive small talk wears me out. In short, I am an introvert.
General opinion often prefers extroverts–the life of the party, the smooth talker, the one who exudes confidence. But in Quiet, Susan Cain makes the case for the “quiet leaders.”. She uses well known and influential people such as Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt as examples of how the world needs introverts as well as extroverts to reach its full potential. Cain assures readers that introversion is not something to be suppressed like a bad habit, but simply a different way of viewing the world. Cain stresses the need for an understanding of why introverts and extroverts act the way they do–an understanding that can result in a much stronger and less stressful relationship between spouses, parents and children, and coworkers.
I have never been ashamed to be an introvert, but after reading Quiet I have found that I appreciate my introversion and identify as such without hesitation. I am happy to simply listen, and proud to be a quiet leader. I feel that this is a book everyone should read, to see in a new light the value of the introverts in their life (or themselves!) that is so often overlooked.
Cain, Susan. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. New York: Crown, 2012.
Image from amazon.com. Cover design by Laura Duffy. Cover photography by Joe Ginsberg/Getty Images.