Monday, August 25, 2014

Book Comment: Quiet by Susan Cain

Title: Quiet
Author: Susan Cain
No. of pages: 352
Published: 24th January, 2012
Read: August 22, 2014

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer. 
Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.

Perhaps most inspiring, she introduces us to successful introverts--from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Finally, she offers invaluable advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a "pretend extrovert."

This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.

Some weeks ago I posted this, an entry on Ted featuring Susan Cain. This book comment is highly related to it. I am talking about Cain's Quiet - the book that made it on top of my 2014 reads so far. The book that is an instant favourite. The book that best describes me. I know quite a number of people who would react "weeehh si Merie quiet hahaha!" Anyway, this book is more than just the one-word adjective as title. It's a whole lot more. 

I like how this book captured me. It made me understand myself more -- that I am not alone on those things I thought I was just being weird, on the way I think through things, on how I view events and scenes, on my restorative niche, on my preferred workstation and working habits and a lot more. This book convinced me that I am indeed an introvert, no more confusion, I just am and this book somehow contributed to the fact that I don't need to shy away from being one. It's a book of affirmation!! A book that will surely cheer out the introverts and will help people understand the people mistaken as just "Quiet". 

This book presents more than just the author's opinion. Substantial information, facts, previous researches are generously referenced to, making the author's points strong. It even has Bible references which is plus points for me. I highly recommend it to people who feel like they're introverts, who enjoy their self as company, who loves being alone, and to all other people who belong to the other side who tend to wonder on why this certain type of people exist. 

I don't want to spoil the essence and the pure enjoyment and entertainment with information absorption I received from this book by telling a lot of things belonging to the chapters of this well-written non-fiction.  Thank you so much Susan Cain. What a great read. 


Some quotes from the book but these are just some of my favourite parts, just really few:

"We don't ask why God chose as his prophet a stutterer with a public speaking phobia. But we should. The book of Exodus is short on explication, but its stories suggest that introversion plays yin to the yang of extroversion; that the medium is not always the message; and that people followed Moses because his words were thoughtful, not because he spoke them well."
“Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.”

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

“Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you're supposed to.”

“The highly sensitive [introverted] tend to be philosophical or spiritual in their orientation, rather than materialistic or hedonistic. They dislike small talk. They often describe themselves as creative or intuitive. They dream vividly, and can often recall their dreams the next day. They love music, nature, art, physical beauty. They feel exceptionally strong emotions--sometimes acute bouts of joy, but also sorrow, melancholy, and fear. Highly sensitive people also process information about their environments--both physical and emotional--unusually deeply. They tend to notice subtleties that others miss--another person's shift in mood, say, or a lightbulb burning a touch too brightly.”

“Don't think of introversion as something that needs to be cured.”

“Everyone shines, given the right lighting.”

“We know from myths and fairy tales that there are many different kinds of powers in this world. One child is given a light saber, another a wizard's education. The trick is not to amass all the different kinds of power, but to use well the kind you've been granted.”

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