Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Thoughts on Cain's Quiet

Susan Cain's book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking is an all encompassing book about introversion. In this widely ranging treatise she goes over many aspects of this term. She surveys many of the famous leaders who actually had been introverts such as Gandhi and Rosa Parks while on the other hand she discusses some of the underlying brain chemistry that she speculates is involved with introversion. It turns out that introverts tend to be the more excitable children (orchid children), and she speculates that this might have to do with the balance between their fearing amygdala and restraining cortex -- and also perhaps with differences in their dopamine reward system.

Cain comes out with practical strategies for introverts to a manage in a largely extroverted world such as brokering "free-trade" agreements with their partners, where one can get a little bit of quiet time and, alternatively, on some occasions become a pseudo extrovert through practice. She also talks a bit critically of an American culture that favors extroverts, starting in an obvious way with the open-plan workplaces of US businesses. She contrasts this with the more "quiet-favoring" Asian cultures for which not saying something is seen as a virtue.

Overall, I found this book an interesting read. It would be nice if there were a more coherent outline of the many different aspects of introversion discussed as it comes across as a bit of a "Chinese menu." Overall it is a very interesting book and very useful for both extroverts and introverts trying to understand the meaning of quiet.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking Paperback
by Susan Cain

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