Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (New York: Random House, Inc., 2012)

Guest Book Review: by Colleen Robison @ www.colleenrobison.com

Back in February 2015, I had the opportunity to attend a week-long Caribbean cruise with a business group of close to 90 people, making up a small portion of the close to 2,000 total people on the ship. Unfortunately, halfway through the wonderful time that I was having I began to feel trapped, uncomfortable in my own skin and on the verge of a full body panic attack. The beautiful scenery, the wonderful people and the delicious (and abundant) food were not able to soothe my soul.

I am an introvert. A quiet, thoughtful introvert. An introvert who dislikes crowds, strangers, and small talk. An introvert who had willingly and excitedly signed up for a week long vacation of crowds, strangers and small talk.

Thankfully, I was also surrounded by understanding strangers, one of whom recommended the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

In a world that is loud, crazy and of the opinion that you too must be loud and crazy to succeed, Cain shows proof through her storytelling that there is a place and a need for the quiet, thoughtful, introverts of the world. She weaves fact and research through stories of introverts like Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Moses, Rosa Parks, Theodor Geisel a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, Charles Darwin, Einstein and Gandhi, just to name a few. She helps guide the introvert living in the extrovert world. She explains why you might struggle and stutter and flub an impromptu presentation, but if given a little time to prepare, you will rock the audiences’ socks off. She gives tips on how to get through a dinner party with your sanity intact and maybe even leave the party having made a new connection instead of having spent the whole time hiding in the bathroom (if you even got out of your car at all). Quiet explains the differences between the extroverts and introverts and provides proof that the world needs both.

I began reading Quiet as soon as I set foot off the cruise ship. By the end, I walked away with a deeper understanding of who I am and an acceptance that it’s okay to be who I am. I also walked away with skills to adopt an extrovert mask when necessary without being deceitful of my true, quiet self.

P.S. I salvaged that last half of the cruise by taking a little quiet time to myself everyday to recharge and had the most wonderful time! Just in case you were wondering!

“’Introverts are drawn to the inner world of thought and feeling’, said Jung, ‘extroverts to the external life of people and activities. Introverts focus on the meaning they make of the events swirling around them; extroverts plunge into the events themselves. Introverts recharge their batteries by being alone; extroverts need to recharge when they don’t socialize enough.’” – Susan Cain

“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.” – Susan Cain

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