Have you ever taken one of those personality tests? The test that stands out the most in my mind is the one that assigned me a letter based on my answers to a group of questions. I remember distinctly that my answers determined me to be an “I” and that stood for “introvert.”
I have learned to operate, for the most part, in this noisy, extroverted nation of ours, but being an introvert has always felt like it is a less than ideal personality style. I have listened to speakers and read books on selling and similar topics. I even sold books door-to-door one summer – all in the name of attempting to learn to be more extroverted. As if being an introvert was some “problem” I needed to overcome.
On August 1, 2012, Dan Miller wrote on his blog, 48days, about introverts and success and highlighted the book Quiet, by Susan Cain. After checking the book out from the library that day, I could not put it down. This book with its gray cover and unassuming title, for me, was a page turner!
Cain begins with a look at two important historical pairs, Rosa Parks and Jessie Jackson and Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and the positive impact these introvert/extrovert pairings had on our world. From there she examines our nation’s embrace of the extrovert ideal and the impact this has had, and continues to have, on the nation’s children. These children are largely schooled in group settings when up to 50% learn better in non-group settings.
She then moves on to our stock market crash in 2008 where extrovert personalities were largely on display in those companies that contributed to that crash. Cain then explores research that shows the biological/physiological differences between extroverts and introverts and why situations with a lot of people make introverts somewhat apprehensive. It is not because they don’t like people. It is because it is literally a sensory overload for an introvert.
What I appreciated most about this book though was that it was written with a view to prompting extroverts and introverts to work together to utilize their different gifts. She does not promote anyone personality type over the other. Cain deeply researched the differences between introverts and extroverts and emphasizes that they need each other for balance.
A former attorney turned writer, Cain is an introvert herself. She shares her personal experiences in the book and encourages all introverts to embrace the extrovert within and to use those attributes in all settings in life be it raising or teaching children, building your business or managing the money of the world.
It doesn’t matter what personality camp you fall in, you will get something out of this book and even laugh at yourself here and there along the way. For me, this “Quiet” book sold me on both introverts and extroverts. One is not a problem and the other is not a solution. We are a pair.