The Power of Introverts in a World
That Can’t Stop Talking
Geoffrey W. Sutton
As the subtitle explains, Quiet is about introverts in an extroverted culture. As a psychologist, I appreciate Cain’s exploration of personality psychology, which included interviews with experts and an awareness of the differences between her broader view of introversion and extroversion compared to the less encompassing features that comprise the personality construct in psychology.
As a person favoring many features linked to introversion, I can identify with her stories and affirm the effort required to adapt to the demands of an extrovert-driven culture. In fact, American culture was a bit of a shock to us when we first came to the United States from England where the norm seems to be a polite reserve punctuated with copious amounts of saying “sorry” when we perceive we may have offended someone. What I did not realize as a child is that entire cultures could be viewed along a continuum between introversion and extroversion. Although Cain does not address contrasting cultures, she does a fine job of portraying the extrovert ideal in American culture along with the difficulties introverts have of fitting in to the incessant demands to be outgoing and “come out of your shell.”.
Although Cain refers to personality types, she is aware that people vary in the features that are critical to defining the trait of introversion. Unlike dense psychological manuscripts, she fills her chapters with interesting stories of people from various walks of life who present key features of introversion or extroversion. We have met these people, worked with them, voted for them, and shared with them throughout our lives. What we may not have realized is the contrast between the way introverts would organize and structure their lives if they were not continually pulled into the extroverts’ arena in a culture that values the extrovert ideal.
Cain introduces readers to numerous examples and interesting studies of introversion and extroversion, which gives readers a feel for how people think and act when their personality fits best with one type or the other. Then Cain addresses the age-old question of how to view the blend of biologically based temperaments and life experiences in shaping our tendencies toward introversion or extroversion.
Read more about Introversion and Extroversion
The Psychology of Introversion
The Psychology of Extroversion (extraversion)
Learn about the Big Five Personality Traits
Take an online test that includes measures of introversion and extraversion
A Big Five test, which includes Extroversion-Introversion
The HEXACO test, which includes the “X” trait for Extroversion- introversion
Cain includes tips on communication and suggestions for teachers and parents. Rather than worry about a reticent child, we can help them gradually learn to interact in small groups. And we can be sensitive to sensitive children.
Cain, S. (2012). Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. New York: Crown. Available on AMAZON
Sutton, G. W. (2022 November 17).Quiet-The Power of Introverts- A Book Review. The Interdisciplinary Journal of Book Reviews. Retrieved from https://suttonreviews.suttong.com/2022/11/quiet-power-of-introverts-book-review.html
Quiet Technical notes: Introduction + 11 Chapters + Conclusion pages 1-266. Hardback edition USD $26.00 Quiet is available on AMAZON
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Got a few minutes?
Watch Susan Cain's TED talk on YouTube: "The Power of Introverts."
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