Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking was the first book I read in 2017. It was such a wonderful and incredibly relatable book that had me nodding throughout. After watching Susan Cain’s Ted talk on the power of introverts, it gave me a sense of reassurance and a wider perspective of what it means to be an introvert. The way she touched on many areas of being an introvert, being a highly sensitive person and interacting with introverts and extroverts, makes us aware that introverts and extroverts simply act, learn, work, socialise and live in different ways. A third to a half of people are introverts.
I thought the chapter where Cain talks about culture was intriguing. In Asian culture, we tend to have a more introvert approach to many aspects of life, where as in American culture, they tend to have a more extroverted approach. In terms of parties and social gathering, it made me flash back to a memory of when I joined my co workers for drinks after work. I ended up leaving after 15 minutes, after having a sip of half of my drink. Not that this happens often, but it was this desperate need to have my own space once I felt overstimulated with the loud music and crowded voices.
It’s not that I don’t love to socialise. It’s the conversations and environment that ultimately makes a difference. Most gatherings consist of surface leveled, easy conversations. These type of conversation tend to drain my energy batteries, whereas deep meaningful conversations make me feel engaged. Cain writes that there is no evidence that introverts or extroverts out perform one another. Both are capable of achieving a high standard, however the method of an extrovert is often applauded, even if it may not be the best. We tend to listen to the loud person in the group who is more talkative, however they may not always necessarily have the best ideas.
In the past, when I worked in an open office, it made me perform poorly. I couldn’t concentrate, and felt distracted with the phone rings, voices talking and the pauses when someone needed to ask me a question. As Cain mentions, there are extraordinary introverts who have contributed invaluably to society in their life including Rosa Parks, Chopin, Gandhi and Steve Wozniak. In terms of friendship, many introverts tend to have a small group of close and intimate friends.
The book really expresses how we need a world of introverts and extroverts. Both are a compliment to one another, and both are important in our society. Cain touches on the point that there is a need for introverts to be able to work at their best by providing them with suitable environments and communication methods. In a world where extroverts are praised, the introverts have a world of thoughts and ideas to contribute to the world. Never underestimate someones abilities, just because we cannot see it. Every individual has the ability to make a big or small change in the world.