Saturday, January 2, 2016

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking (Cain)

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain, 2012

This is a book that was given to me by my wife. She told me, "Read this." As that is not something that happens often -- if ever -- I took it and put it on the side to read "next". (I believe the idiom "-ish" might be appropriate here.) She might hand me something that she thinks I might be interested in, but never tells me to read anything in particular.

A couple days after I started it, she let me know it was a library book and asked if I'd finished yet. Whoops. Hadn't occurred to me. However, by that point, I was hooked enough that I reserved electronic copies at both the Brooklyn and New York Public Libraries. I appreciate the NYPL's opinion of my reading ability, but it turned out that this volume was still in their 3-day loan category. Seriously?

So this book has the distinction of my reading it in both paperback form and electronically, on loan from two separate libraries. Yes, I found it that important to finish it.

About the book itself:

Cain talks about "introversion" and "extraversion" (iirc, it's been a while since I read it). She states that the terms she uses aren't the most accurate, but they are the most commonly used (or most popular among the masses, as it were) that she uses them.

I read it with interest because there were plenty of times I identified myself, on both sides of the equation. There have been times in the past that I have referred to myself as an "extroverted introvert". Sure, you can't shut me up once you get to know me -- ah! but getting to know me. Likewise, I have difficulty breaking into a conversation among a group of people. I find myself hanging on the periphery, waiting to be invited in, fearful to invite myself. I don't know how you would categorize this, but I've missed out on contributing to many conversations (and a few parties) because of it. And in many cases, I'd likely have been welcome if I'd either barged or stumbled right in.

On the other hand, her basic definition of introverts, or the basic characteristics of introverts, didn't really describe me all that much. Somewhat, sure, but maybe I'm not as introverted as I thought. Or maybe I am whatever, and I just don't know the word for whatever.

In any case, the book was worth tracking down, and I would recommend it if not to understand yourself a little better than to understand those around you and the challenges that they faced being an introvert in an overly extroverted world.

Some people can function together out in the open, but if they really want to get their work done, they need their Quiet places.

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