Book Of The Month – Quiet – A Silent Revolution


We are living in a world that highly favors and rewards extroverts. In a society that teaches you to be an extrovert at every stage of your life, being an introvert may become quite isolating and unfitting. Starting this year with Quiet, written by Susan Cain, which delves into the analysis of introvert-extrovert personalities. I am usually not a fan of self-help books, but I enjoyed reading this one. The author not only ensured that every statement was well-researched but also provided ample proof to support the assertions presented. She cited studies conducted by well-known researchers who have examined the range of personality types, from the most introverted to the most extroverted, and how these traits develop over time. In particular, I liked the anecdotes about introverts that she shared, both people she had worked with and famous figures like Steve Wozniak, Rosa Parks, and Mahatma Gandhi, all of whom share an introverted personality. She described in great detail the specific personality traits that make them lie on the introverted spectrum, and she also provided reasoning for how those characteristics shaped their specific identities. 

The book starts by describing the Civil Rights Movement, a turning point in American history. A prominent figure in that event, Rosa Parks, had most of the traits specific to an introverted personality. Cain, when describing the events that led to the movement, pointed out that it was those traits that she launched the movement because of, not despite them. Addressing the development of the “performing self” and a personality culture in the West, the author elaborates on the origins of the “extrovert ideal.” As a result of this cultural transformation, institutions, including schools and workplaces, began to adapt to accommodate people with an extroverted personality. This molded the world to favor extroverts, making people with more introverted traits feel out of place. Her subsequent description of the biology underlying personality types and the process by which an individual develops into their unique self is quite moving. In her explanation, she draws on the work of famous psychologists to show how our upbringing and the genes we were born with combine to form our unique personalities. As she recounted the lives of notable figures like Steve Wozniak, Eleanor Roosevelt, Warren Buffett, and Mahatma Gandhi, she emphasized the unique introverted qualities that shaped each of their personalities. She goes on to explain the Free Trait Strategy, which holds that, subject to self-restoration time constraints, it is sometimes helpful to behave inconsistently with one’s character to achieve one’s professional and personal goals. So, if you’re an introvert working in an environment that demands a lot of energy and enthusiasm, even though it makes you feel uneasy, push through and do it. Just be sure to give yourself time to recharge and find your equilibrium. The same holds for extroverts: if your job keeps you cooped up all week, treat yourself to a night out on the town on the weekend. 

Near the end, she went into a lot of detail about how people may deal with circumstances involving others with different personality types, whether it’s a partner or a child. Marriage between introverts and extroverts is typical; however, problems might arise when the two partners’ distinctive personality qualities collide in everyday interactions. Drawing on her experience with actual couples, Cain offers some helpful advice on how to handle all of the inevitable arguments by being aware of each other’s personality traits and giving each other enough time to restore balance. She went on to explain how parents whose children have different personality types from their own can better understand and meet their children’s needs. When an extroverted parent notices that their introverted child is acting out or isn’t engaging in social activities, the parent may worry that something is wrong with their child. Parents can help their children feel more at ease, noticed, and loved by addressing these difficulties, drawing on some of her experience counseling parents in similar situations. A child’s early years and their relationship with their parents are greatly influenced by several things, right from choosing the school to attend to communicating about their day. 

Everyone (introvert, extrovert, and everyone in between and beyond the spectrum) can greatly benefit from this book to better understand each other’s perceptions and behavior. People can better understand their traits, which can help others feel more comfortable and heard. As an introvert myself, I felt the book was extremely helpful in explaining most of my behavior growing up that I felt embarrassed about. I have been labeled “quiet” and “shy” most of my life, terms that people often use in a negative tone. As you grow up, you begin to believe in the people around you, convinced that there is something fundamentally wrong with you. Because you are surrounded by extroverts, it can also make you feel like the odd one in the room. People going through the same kinds of emotional struggles will find solace in this book, which encourages readers to embrace their unique personality qualities and the belief that they are capable of great things. 

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