Friday, March 30, 2012

Review - Quiet

Title: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Authors: Susan Cain
Publisher: Crown (January 24, 2012)
Format: Book and Audio
Genre: Neuroscience
Source: Library

Holey Moley, this book should be a college course complete with PowerPoint presentations. High reactive, Low reactive, nature, nurture, gene percentages, this theory, that theory, this high-level media personality, this quiet reserved business genius, personality versus temperament. Pseudo-extraverts. Self-monitoring. By the middle of the book, I was brain fried.

…Free will can take us far, but it cannot carry us infinitely beyond our genetic limits….

Susan Cain has done her research masterfully. The amount of time and effort that she has put forth should be commended and hopefully will garner the attention that this fascinating subject demands.

I have so many sticky notes sticking out of this book that it is beginning to be embarrassing to be seen in public – which I am beginning to think just might be an introvert thing. I wish I could directly quote all the light bulb moments that I have found in this book, but that would border on plagiarism. You just have to track down this book for yourself to see how this subject talks to you.

…Psychologists often discuss the differences between “temperament” and "personality.” Temperament refers to inborn, biologically based behavioral and emotional patterns that are observable in infancy and early childhood; personality is the complex brew that emerges after cultural influences and personal experience are thrown into the mix…..

What initially drew me to this book is the diversity that I find myself in on a daily basis. 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week I work with highly educated introverted engineers in cubicle world where interpersonal communication can be a challenge and individualized working time is cherished. Add to that the remainder of my time is with a teenaged extravert. Her boundless energy and involvement with education, clubs, organizations, sports and friends has her running from place to place with very little down time and she thrives on this interaction.

Occasional sections talk about the parent child dynamic and I had found myself wishing that this had been expanded. I do not know if Susan Cain ever considered this book to be a parenting manual, but I have gained some great insight in my parenting role. Maybe that could be volume two. Examples, stories and interviews are included throughout the book allowing the reader to place the people that they interact with into each scenario to better understand the individuals around them.

Susan Cain has put a vast amount of time and research into this book. It is not a book to be read quickly and more along the lines of a long slow savor. Each section, each paragraph has something to offer the reader. Take your time with this book, it deserves an initial and a secondary reading to absorb the thinking and contribution that introverts can make. As Susan said, just because a person is loud, does not mean that they have anything to offer. Sit back and listen to what the quiet people have to say.

…Figure out what you are meant to contribute to the world and make sure you contribute it….

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