The world is made up of a lot of very different people. Our differences have often caused conflict; but slowly, we seem to be moving towards making the most of our differences. This is partly due to books like this one.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking is a book that can yield eye-opening understanding about a group of individuals who, although not always appreciated on a large scale, have contributed decisively to the fortunes of humanity. The result of years of work, Susan Cain’s book paints the portrait of a diverse group of people who have one thing in common: they are introverts.
Why would such a topic be important to the attainment of unity? Because North America is seemingly steadfast in its belief that extroversion is better. The implications of such a belief are numerous, with some of them being downright disastrous, and affecting the approximately one-third of the population that is introverted.
As explained in the book, many an introvert finds himself pretending to be extroverted, denying himself the space needed to recharge, with a negative impact on his mental, emotional, and physical health. There is also the fact that most people are not aware of the introverts around them – or aware that they are themselves introverted. Add that to the fact that the definition of an introvert is not clearly defined in research, and that it is commonly quite misunderstood, and we have a recipe for disaster on our hands.
When it comes to building a better self and a better world, there is a big need for some quiet for everyone, even the extroverts; Cain’s ‘Quiet’ is so much more than a compelling argument for changing the structures of society to include introverts. To me, it reads as a reminder that everyone needs a bit of quiet, and that perhaps by understanding the quietest members of our community, we can understand the quietest parts of ourselves. This is all the more important in that introverts really seem to be the ying to extroverts’ yang; an extrovert’s loud side might need its quieter side to take a bit more spade. After all, a bird needs both its wings to fly.
What struck me the most is how little we know about the phenomenon despite the advances in our collective understanding. Hopefully Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and other books like it can provide a framework for each reader to reflect on this important topic and contribute to creating communities in which both extroverts, introverts, and everyone in between can contribute fully to their development.
Based on the review first published here.