It’s been quite a while since I brought you all a book review. It’s not that I’ve stopped reading; I simply couldn’t do more than one blog post a day during the month of May (TBH, I’m honestly amazed that I was able to do even that, with as chaotic as my May ended up being).
Then June came…and June went. How it’s already July, I still don’t understand.
Anyway, I finished Susan Cain’s book Quiet several months ago. The sign of it being a book that’s well worth it? I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I read it.
I make no secret of the fact that I am extremely introverted. I couldn’t make it a secret even if I wanted to. It really is that obvious. One of the major obstacles I encounter on a regular basis is the fact that many within the business world have apparently decided that the world should have no time for introversion. I have a feeling it’s an even more extreme outlook here in America, where “go-getters” and “action-takers” are the desired worker model. We want bold personalities ready to schmooze and smile and talk and lead and be the successes they were obviously destined to be simply because of their scintillating personalities and take-on-the-world attitudes.
Too often, people make the mistake of assuming that quiet people are weak, one-dimensional, antisocial, and ultimately valueless. This is unfair in general, but damaging to both sides in professional settings. Instantly assuming this litany of negative traits about introverted employees locks us out of achieving our true potential because we are never allowed to operate within a work model designed for our unique abilities, and denies our employers the full power of our abilities because we don’t fit the square holes of the Extroverted Ideal.
Cain, herself an introvert, makes a poignant case against this assumptive behavior by the corporate world and for more understanding of the richness that introverts can bring to any professional setting with just a little bit of adjustment to what has unfortunately become the standard. She also discusses the need for adjustments in schools as well, which embrace the valuing of extroversion over introversion more and more, significantly reducing the success rates for all those quiet, shy kids before they’re even old enough to get crushed by the corporate world.
Is this an objective book? Hardly. A book about introversion written by an introvert? Of course she’s going to have a lot to say about what is often a fairly unbalanced treatment of quiet people by the (too) loud mainstream. Is it a valuable book? Absolutely. Who better to tell our story and argue our case than one of our own?
Final Verdict: I definitely want to add this to my library. I also want to make it mandatory reading for every single extrovert, but especially every single extroverted person in charge of managing even one introvert, because here’s a little hint: You’ve probably been doing it wrong this whole time.