Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – book review

“I worry that there are people who are put in positions of authority because they’re good talkers, but they don’t have good ideas. It’s so easy to confuse schmoozing ability with talent. Someone seems like a good presenter, easy to get along with, and those traits are rewarded. Well, why is that? They’re valuable traits, but we put too much of a premium on presenting and not enough on substance and critical thinking.”

“The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting. For some, it’s a Broadway spotlight; for others, a lamplit desk. Use your natural powers — of persistence, concentration, and insight — to do work you love and work that matters. Solve problems. make art, think deeply.” 

“There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.”

― Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Do you know any introverts? I bet you do. Problem is that they are trying hard to hide that very fact from you, and for that, they are probably exhausted. Our society’s focus on gregarious, outgoing behavior is so hysterical that being quiet has become the equivalent of being that weirdo that the neighbors comment on afterward, “He was always so polite and quiet”. Being quiet doesn’t make you a serial killer, but a lot of serial killers like to keep quiet to avoid attracting attention. To them I say, “Get your own thing.” Let the introverts have their quiet time, without you Dexters ruining it for them.

Susan Cain takes great care explain the deep waters of the introvert and how we can all be better served understanding what they bring to the party, apart from quiet, meaningful conversations. That the most intelligent people in history have been introverts and that the culture of extroverts caused the US bank market crash. That extroverts are more aggressive risk takers and introverts more careful might not be a big surprise but stresses how we should consider reprioritizing our glorification of the outgoing, loud mouthed, blathering portion of society if we want to stop the climate crisis, calm the financial markets and generally have a better life.

That schools and businesses should stop bullying the introverts into being more extroverted – and instead value and reinforce the natural talents of the introvert might lead to some major advances. Don’t worry, there is very little extrovert bashing in the book, just some extremely sensible advice. Everything in moderation. Every business should have a smattering of both, every group benefits from some introverts, even if it just give the extroverts more time to talk.
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