Monday, May 19, 2014

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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain – A Brief Summary and My Book Review


Till date I have read so many books on non-fiction which in its own way left some sort of unique imprint on my mind and which helps to understand this world and people better with ease. In my quest to know the psychology of people around me including near and dear ones I keep searching and looking for those types of books which are written on the basis of people’s personality and psychology.  No wonder our planet earth is full of interesting people with various thoughts and beliefs. And the most interesting thing is how people react differently and uniquely depending on their temperament, beliefs, behaviors, nature and personality.

All my queries regarding uniqueness of people’s perspective and mentality has been perfectly answered by a single book – “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking” which is one of the best books on non-fiction I have ever read.  I wish I could read this book in my school days so that I would have understood those situations and people I encountered without even the slightest thought of escaping or changing them.

This very book “Quiet” depicts perfectly and beautifully of the personality traits of both introversion and extroversion. As majority of world’s culture sees extroversion as a successful personality trait and due to that firm belief system people are madly trying to fit themselves and their children in this popular culture of extroversion qualities and they are rushing towards adopting this personality trait without even knowing who they really are and what their core personality type is. So, there are lots of people who are pseudo- extroverts meaning pretended extrovert who are actually introvert inside. The author of this book advocates impeccably that why introverts do not need to pretend to be an extrovert because it’s all right to be what you are. Yes, there are some traits the introverts or thinker group need to adopt to be compatible with the opposite personality type and vice versa to meet the demands of current competitive culture but to that extent only where someone is comfortable with its own self.

However, there is a word called ambivert, a personality trait including the qualities of both introversion and extroversion.  Susan Cain’s New York Times Bestselling book “Quiet” is not only an eye- opener, but also a homecoming for me.  In Quiet  I find so many  similar situations and facts which I personally faced earlier and I can relate those situations with mine like how uncomfortable I feel when I meet a new group of people who are completely strangers and how I feel exhausted after attending a crowded party and desperately need some down time. And, also why I feel so good in one on one conversation on serious subjects and why I hate small talks on the same time.  Also, I prefer to express my experiences in writing rather than talking.

In this remarkable book” Quiet” there is a great example of a couple of opposite personality. Husband is extrovert and the wife is introvert. Husband loves throwing lots of dinner parties, inviting friends and colleagues while on the other side, wife loves spending time alone or only with near and dear ones . Husband loves conflicts and the wife avoids conflicts. Husband gets his energy by socializing with lots of people and the wife recharges by spending alone time. These opposite two types of personalities attracts each other in first place and they get married and after marriage in practical day to day routine life how they handle this challenging  situations technically  to save their marriage without  fight or flight intention.

Susan Cain throws light on the cultural beliefs of Asians and how they are diversely different from Americans and Europeans. Students of Asian countries are quiet and studious in the eyes of the Westerners. And on the other hand, American students are friendly, outgoing and gregarious. In Asian countries like China or India it’s a strong belief that you can’t be loud and wise at the same time. There is also very alluring line which reads  like when an Asian is smart or intelligent he/she needs to be confirmed and when an American is intelligent he/she needs to prove that.  In Silicon Valley how Asian students or employees need to work hard towards extroversion to fit in American culture which demands good presenters and talkative persons. And, how do Asians face difficulties to tackle with demanding culture of extrovert personality while they have their inherited quiet nature from their parents. In this book, there are students from Cupertino, who are from Asia or Asian American but completely doing well and they are divided into two groups. The smart, outgoing, gregarious and talkative group is known as Asian super stars and others who talk less or shy are known as traditional Asians.

While arguing in favor of introversion qualities Susan Cain recalls Rosa parks, Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi,  Eleanor Roosevelt,  and many more great personalities and leaders who are widely known for their soft powers. The famous quote of Mahatma Gandhi is included by the writer in this book – “In a gentle way, you can shake the world”. Whether it’s the matter of leadership, teaching, delivering public speech, or leading a revolution both introvert and extrovert people can successfully perform their task in their own unique way.   So, from the very beginning the parents should carefully nurture their children only after observing the kids true nature and core personality type.  This book will definitely help extroverted parents whose kids are introverts to understand how to accept the personality traits of children and help them to grow and choose a career they are compatible with, despite forcing them unreasonably to become an extrovert and also the author repeatedly describes and shows with live examples of various people’s life that why you don’t need to be loud or talkative or aggressive in nature to become a successful person.

This world needs people of both personalities. They are completely good in their own way and we do not need to become one or another. Just what we need to do is to try to adopt and exchange some of the healthy traits of both the personalities, and accept one another respectfully and completely. It is also well said in this book that no man can be extremely extrovert or introvert, otherwise he would be in a lunatic asylum.

“Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking” is a must read for everyone, not just introverts. The author of this book Susan Cain, former Wall Street lawyer and self-described introvert, investigates using historic, neuroscientific, and literary evidence to show how, for over a century, the value of extroverts has been glorified to the detriment of innovation and productivity and how introversion has become dangerously scorned in the current American "Culture of Personality." 
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  1. The book sounds different...should try it I think...good review.

    ....and nice to see you writing after a long time... :-)

    1. This book seems interesting.
      A wonderfully written review, Bharati.