Posted by : Halima Khait Monday, March 30, 2015

I recently finished reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.  I was really excited to read this book based off of the title alone, but after completing it, can honestly say my socks weren't blown off.

As an introvert, I have spent countless hours inside my own head learning and trying to be true to myself.  So yea this book provided scientific evidence, but it was about stuff I already know and accept or want to change about myself.  Having data to back it didn't make me any more or less likely to do that though.

I'm happy ending kind of lady myself, so now that I've given you the bad news, I can move on to the good news.  The book is broken into four parts and every chapter in part one, The Extrovert Ideal, is outstanding.

  • The Rise of the "Mighty Likeable Fellow" details the shift from the pre-1920s American ideal that the best personality attributes dealt with virtue to the standard that it was more important to be exude confidence and likability.  
  • The Myth of Charismatic Leadership really hit home for me. It gave stories of how it feels to be an introvert in settings where extroversion is not only the standard, but where introversion is almost snubbed and not allowed.  It also spoke to one of my biggest pet peeves; just because someone says something loudly and with confidence does not mean they are right.  
  • When Collaboration Kills Creativity also struck a chord with me because it addresses the need to set introverts up for success by not making us work in a cookie cutter setting that is meant to promote collaboration, but just ends up being overstimulating for us.
But because professional development was part of my reason for picking up this book, it's important that I mention my biggest takeaway from this section - what type of leadership different types of people work under.  I found out a group of extroverts works better under an introvert because extroverts are not reserved about providing ideas and introverts are active listeners to all participants.  On the flip slide, a group of introverts works well under extroverted leadership because we're pulled from our own heads and motivated into action.

The other parts of the book were interesting but not as personally impactful.  They include: Your Biology, Your Self? which is basically the nature/nurture debate and how and how much we can expand our temperament; Do All Cultures Have An Extrovert Ideal which followed the cases of a couple of Asian American students who grew up in a California town where they were the majority and their respective cultures were largely intact.  Overall this meant have ambition, but you don't have to step on everyone around you to use it;
"Soft power is quiet persistence"

And the last section, How To Love, How To Work which was more of a how to guide - how to pull characteristics from your opposite type, how to communicate with the opposite type and how to raise introverted children.

A quote Cain provided near the end of the book brought everything full circle for me.  She said,
"Figure out what you are meant to contribute to the world and make sure you contribute it."
Simple words, but they needed to be said.  As an introvert, it's easy to allow your voice to be silenced because you get so exhausted from trying to be heard in such a loud culture. But we need encouragement like that to remind us that what we have to say is important too.

~ With ♥ from Halima


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