“In a gentle way, you can shake the world”- Mahatma Gandhi
I recently read Quiet by Susan Cain after, quite suddenly, becoming interested in the Introversion/Extroversion comaparison. The first step was following a link to a Jungian personality test a friend had posted on one of the social networking sites. The test identified me as an INFP, which I wrote about in an earlier blog post. Then I remembered another friend mentioning the book online after he read it some time ago. The book sounded interesting to me, so I wrote the author and title down for future reference. I am very glad I read it, because I belive this to be an invaluable book for everyone- introvert and extrovert, alike.
In Western culture, the Extrovert has become the ideal personality. But, as Quiet sites, at least one third of the people you know are Introverts. I believe this number to be significantly higher among my family and friends. So, in catering to the extroverted majority, Western society relegates introverts to the sidelines. One of my favorite sections of the book identifies the contributions of Introverts to the world. Among those are: Rosa Parks, Chrles Schultz, Steven Spielberg, Theodore Geisel, Isaac Newton, and J.K. Rowling. And Cain also discusses the fact that the Extrovert Ideal does not exist in Eastern Culture.
Another section of the book deals with the idea that a quiet, introverted child needs to be “fixed”. The implication being that a child who is not an Extrovert needs to be changed, because being an Introvert is not good enough. I see this often in my daily experience. Also, it is a popular message from the media. The reality is that Introverts need to be appreciated more for our own personalities and our own way of contributing to society.
As I said at the beginning of this review, I believe Quiet to be a book that benefits everyone. Introverts can discover ourselves in its pages. And Extroverts can get some help in understanding how our minds and personalities work. Have you read the book? I welcome your ideas and thoughts about anything in the book, whether I’ve written about it here or not.