Rating: 5/5 stars.
I love reading on Friday nights, writing on Saturday afternoons, and having quiet get-togethers on Sunday. But I also enjoy giving presentations at school, tutoring peers in writing, and interacting with various people online and in real life. I’d describe myself as an introvert (and my Meyers-Briggs personality type agrees), though both introverts and extroverts would enjoy this fascinating book by Susan Cain. She provides an intriguing, in-depth perspective on introversion, its connotation in contrasting cultures, and the psychology behind it.
A profusion of the nonfiction I’ve read has contained too much of something – too many random anecdotes, too much scientific jargon, too many unnecessary statistics or explanations. But Quiet has the perfect blend of personal anecdotes, interesting analysis, detailed explanations, and compelling statistics. Cain references various studies conducted by psychologists and discusses several aspects related to introversion, such as the extrovert ideal, how extroverts and introverts can compliment each other and work together, nature v. nature, etc. Here’s one passage about sensitive people (who tend to be more introverted) that struck a chord with me:
“The other thing Aron found about sensitive people is that sometimes they’re highly empathic. It’s as if they have thinner boundaries separating them from other people’s emotions and from the tragedies and cruelties of the world. They tend to have unusually strong consciences. They avoid violent movies and TV shows; they’re acutely aware of the consequences of a lapse in their own behavior. In social settings they often focus on subjects like personal problems, which others consider ‘too heavy’.”
I guess I have an excuse for exposing so much of myself on my blog, huh? Anyway, Cain delves into other subjects that are intellectually stimulating too, such as the three things she thinks are important in identifying one’s personal project. She even brings up the relationship between Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. as well as other famous historical figures.
Overall, highly recommended to everyone curious about their own temperaments and how to embrace their natural personalities. One of the best works of nonfiction I’ve read.