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Sunday, March 18, 2012


Are you an introvert, an extrovert, or perhaps a mixture that you can't quite explain?

Has anyone read Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking?

I haven't.  After reading a review of the book page of the local paper recently, I decided it was of little interest to me.

I'm an introvert.  I'm also short.  Each quality has occasionally been a drawback (sometimes I have to ask my husband to hand me something from a high shelf-- if he isn't there, however, I have a step stool).   On the other hand, there are times and places when when being tall (or being extroverted) could be a problem.

I skimmed the review with little interest.  I'm an introvert, and I like extroverts because they pull me into conversations and activities that would otherwise pass me by; I'm not unhappy with my introversion, although I have to be careful to avoid becoming a recluse.

Today my interest in the book was revived because I read two reviews of the book in The Guardian, one by an introvert and one by an extrovert.

What I found most interesting and reassuring in reading the reviews is that both Sara Maitland, the introvert, and Miranda Sawyer, the extrovert, are offended by the book's premise.  Neither were pleased by the dichotomy set up in Cain's book.

When I checked Amazon, I discovered that reviews were overwhelmingly positive--which certainly came as a surprise to me.

113 Reviews
5 star:
4 star:
3 star:
2 star:
1 star:

 I'm curious...have any of you read the book?  If so, what did you think?

  I may have to read it after all. 


  1. I have been seeing this book around and put it on my wish list, but I haven't read it myself. I am probably a little bit of both depending on the situation.

  2. I have not seen many reviews of this book. I had wondered about it and was sort of intrigued, but not enough to do much about it. I suppose I consider myself an introvert but I think most of us are both, depending on the situation. I do know that I have become more outgoing the older I've gotten. I, too, have to work at not becoming reclusive, especially when I am disturbed or stressed about something. I'll be interested to hear if you read it, Jenclair.

  3. Kailana - Maybe most people have a mixture depending on the situation, but perhaps one facet of the "self" is more dominant. I do know people, however, that really hate being alone.

    Kay - Reading the two reviews has really aroused my curiosity, and I think I probably will look for a copy.

    I know that I am so content with being alone because I love to read and sew, and am therefore, not bored when alone. Not everyone enjoys solitary activities. I wonder if what we enjoy influences our introversion or extroversion, or if it is the other way around....

    Yes, I think that I'll have to give the book a try.

  4. I have a copy but haven't read it yet. There are a lot of misconceptions about what introverted and extroverted mean. Being introverted does not mean a person doesn't like being around others. Many introverts are quite social. And many extroverts enjoy solitary activities. The difference between the two mostly has to do with whether a person is energized by being around people or needs alone time to refuel/regroup. I don't know if I am explaining it right, but that is the simple explanation. People are one or the other at their core.

  5. LF - Yes, I neglected that aspect--those who need quiet or solitude to refuel/regroup as opposed to those who are energized by connections with others. I was too narrow in my perspective, Wendy, especially as I was basing my remarks on the reviews rather than the book itself.

    I was surprised to learn from another book some time ago "highly sensitive" people, who are often less tolerant of intense activity or noise, etc. are often confused with introverts. The two may or may not occur together.

    Thanks, for the input, Wendy. I think my problem (and perhaps that of both the introvert and the extrovert who wrote the reviews) is the premise that introverts are undervalued, and I may be wrong about that as well. Cain does state in an interview on the Amazon site that "Introverts are to extroverts what women were to men at that time [1963]--second-class citizens with gigantic amounts of untapped talent."

    Gotta read the book.

  6. I did read the book and I think that neither of the Guardian reviewers understood the basic definition of extrovert/introvert as explained by LF: Extroverts are energised and renewed by bwing with other people and introverts are energised and renewed by solitude. Doesn't mean extroverts can't ever enjoy a quiet evening at home or introverts can't ever enjoy a rowdy party. As an introvert in the US who spent my younger years trying desperately to live up to the pressures that being an extrovert was better, perhaps there is a cultural difference between the US and UK.

  7. What an interesting conversation here...and now this book sounds like a may read too! I'm highly sensitive, for sure and mostly introverted. What I find interesting here is that often when blogging, folks display other qualities from the comfort of their own home. Jenclair, I have had the impression that you are an extrovert and Not short!!!

  8. Lynn - I guess I never really felt that extroverts were better, but I always knew that many things were easier and/or more enjoyable for them.

    I also agree that there is a tendency to celebrate "the culture of personality" which is a reflection on the entire society. I don't really think the tendency is new, but technology has amplified individuals who would never have had such wide coverage.

    Nancy- :) I am surprised to see the responses, but guess I shouldn't be, we are all interested in what makes us tick.

    Oh, yes. I'm introverted and highly sensitive (although I hate that description) to excess noise, crowds, too many activities in a row, etc. I can enjoy the heck out of a lot of situations, and then may not leave the house for a week.

    That is why the internet is such a boon for introverts, we can have our cake and eat it, too. You are so right, Nancy, blogging is a way to be social and stay in our comfort zone!

  9. One more addition-- Stefanie at So Many Books has written a great review of the book.

  10. Jenclair- Have you seen this book?

    Very interesting read. I've read about 1/2 thus far and have learned a lot.

  11. Nancy - No, but I just added it to my wish list on Amazon.

    Thanks, Nancy!

  12. As you know, I quite liked the book. I'm with Lynn, it seems the Guardian reviewers didn't pay attention to the definition Cain used. She does acknowledge there are many ways of looking at personality. She has taken a very broad, more Jungian view. I didn't feel like she was separating the world into us and them or saying that a person could only be introvert or extrovert. Maybe things are different in the UK, but growing up in the US, not being outgoing and social and prefering to spend time alone doesn't win mcuh praise and support. It's a short book and reads fast, so not much lost if you read it and don't like it :)

  13. coincidence. me too. i just found a great quote on pinterest about introverts and had to read it to my husband who is the most balanced person i have ever met. just in case i am ever misunderstood. it is hard to explain how we see life. i think it is that we are doers rather than talkers.

  14. Stefanie -- I'm going to check the library to see if they have a copy!

    Peregrine Blue - There really is a huge difference is the way introverts approach life, and I think it is hard for most extroverts to understand. I've been extremely lucky in that my extrovert husband and friends are very patient with me; which is wonderful because they are so important in providing balance in my life.