It’s no secret that being an extrovert puts one at an advantage in American culture. For many introverts, they have learned (sometimes the hard way) that in order to be successful, they have to pretend to be an extrovert. Why is the case?
In Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, she explains how the “Extrovert Ideal” came to be here in the West, as well as how the extrovert ideal isn’t the “ideal” in other parts of the world. This has powerful implications for the global neighborhood- whether it be doing business with people from other countries, working with NGOs, long-term missions, or simply interacting with neighbors from a different culture down the street.
In addition to HOW this ideal came about, Susan shares some interesting research on temperament (is it biological? environmental? both? can we change it? are all introverts the same?). Also, she shares some great stories about how introverts and extroverts think differently, and how that affects decision making, creativity, sensitivity, etc. I enjoyed learning about how some very “successful” people are introverts, and how their success had a lot to do with their introvert uniqueness.
The most interesting part of the book to me was the section titled, “How to Love, How to Work.” In it, Susan discusses when an introvert should act more extroverted than they are, how to encourage our introverted children, and how extroverts and introverts can communicate in a more effective way (helping meetings everywhere to be more enjoyable and productive!). I not only think this is an important discussion to have in the working world, but also in families and in the church body.
Even if you are not an introvert, this book could be an interesting read for you- because it’s guaranteed that you work, play and live with someone who in an introvert. Being able to understand introverts better can lead to being able to better serve and love those around you. Introverts grow up learning about extroverts, but rarely do extroverts slow down and think about what it would be like to be an introvert.
And see below for a video of her famous TED Talk:
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review purposes from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”