When I first picked up this book, I thought it was a self-help toolkit that would teach me how to be more out-going, more extroverted. A few pages in and I realised it was the opposite. Susan Cain wasn’t trying to get her readers to be gregarious at parties, instead, she painted a beautiful picture of why the world needs introverts (and had the research to back up the claim).
As a deep introvert, this book was a refreshing and enlightening read. I still wished I could be more gregarious but it’s made me appreciate my placid temperament a lot more than I used to. While the tone of Cain’s writing was decidedly leaning towards celebrating introversion, it was not completely as one sided as one would expect. She presented all facets of the broad personality spectrum and often had interesting anecdotes to share.
It was evident that many years of research had gone into this book and it was not penned by a lazy author. Even though Cain came from a law background, her materials were as psychologically insightful as factual. The gist of her message was clear; the world needed more introverts and that over reliance on the extrovert ideal could yield undesired consequences (such as unguarded risk taking and having bold speakers stunt better ideas of quiet thinkers).
Throughout the book, Cain made one continuous assumption, which was introverts had brilliant ideas lying dormant in their heads and most were simply too shy to compete with the loud mouthed, energetic extroverts. I’m not sure if I completely agree. I feel that often, introverts are quiet not because they lack the courage to speak, but rather they haven’t got anything clever to say. In that case, introversion isn’t so powerful.
Have a listen to Susan Cain’s TED talk: