With this post, I commend to you a book that I have been pressing (figuratively speaking) into the hands of clients, colleagues, friends and family for the last couple of months: Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking (2012, Crown Publishers). A former Wall Street lawyer and high level negotiator, Cain offers an engaging, careful, and personal message about the power of introversion that I think we all need to hear.
The age-old dichotomy that’s fresh for us all
Quiet is about the one-third to one-half of people who recognize themselves in the following constellation of attributes: “reflective, cerebral, bookish, unassuming, sensitive, thoughtful, serious, contemplative, subtle, introspective, inner-directed, gentle, calm, modest, solitude-seeking, shy, risk-averse, thin-skinned” (p.269). Cain talks about what it is like for introverts to live in a world where the extroverted “mighty likeable fellow” is the ideal, where workplaces and schools are designed for extroverts and their need for lots of stimulation. And she helps all of us—introverted, extroverted, and ambiverted (yes, you heard me)—see that introverts are pretty excellent just as they are, bringing excellence to all aspects of life. What we need is a greater balance of power between the two types.
Sit back, unplug, and reflect on the power of introversion
Rest assured that you’ll happily tune right into Quiet, with no MBA or years of MBTI immersion required. Enjoy the read, and let me know what you think.