I wish I had the money to be able to buy Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking for everyone in my company. I wish I had the money to buy this book for everyone at my church. Shoot – I wish I had the money to buy a copy for every family in the country. Yes. It’s that important of a book.
As a pastor and as a church member, I can’t tell you how many disagreements I had with church leaders over the years about the idea of making visitors stand up during the worship service so they could be recognized. You want to know the best way to make an introvert try to find the quickest escape route? Make that person be recognized in front of a large crowd without warning. I think I failed to communicate this awkwardness because I had failed to help them understand some of the fundamental differences between introverts and extroverts. I think giving them access to this book would have helped immensely. With up to 50% of the population being introverts, I would think that church leaders would want to know how the can best reach this people group. From what I’ve seen, however, extroverts are leading the way. And they don’t understand how an introvert feels (and on the flip side, an average, run-of-the-mill introvert has no idea what it’s like to be an extrovert).
The same is true in the workplace. As Susan Cain so rightfully points out, we live in a world that is biased towards the extrovert. We live in a society that assumes everyone wants to be an extrovert – that introversion is something to grow out of. We live in a society that seems to equate how loud you are with how right you are.
If we assume that quiet and loud people have roughly the same number of good (and bad) ideas, then we should worry if the louder and more forceful people always carry the day. This would mean that an awful lot of bad ideas prevail while good ones get squashed. – p 51
Quiet dispels the myths about both introverts and extroverts. The first section discusses some of those myths, along with assumptions that people make about people’s desires to be in social settings. I was amazed at the work environment that’s described in the book is very similar to some work environments I’ve encountered. And Susan Cain hits the nail on the head in discussing how these efforts to encourage collaboration really do very little to encourage real collaboration, primarily because people don’t really pay attention to the difference between extroverts and introverts.
After discussing the disconnect our society has with introversion, Cain focuses on science behind these two basic personality types. She talks about the findings from different studies over the years and the conclusions that could be drawn from them. While not exactly my favorite section in the book, knowing the biology and the psychology behind introversion and extroversion certainly helps clear things up. And it prepares the reader for the final section, which discusses what we can do with all of this knowledge. How can introverts navigate the world dominated by extroversion? How can extroverts and introverts peacefully
survive thrive together? Quiet gives some great suggestions.
Like I said in the beginning, I wish I could give this book to everyone I have met. It could start a revolution. A quiet revolution. I don’t say this very often, but you need to read this book. Your church leaders need to read this book. Your coworkers need to read this book. Your spouse needs to read this book.
Yes. It’s that good.
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