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Booked for the Day

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

Susan Cain

On Monday, July 7th, the Booked for the Day Book Group met to discuss the book, Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking by Susan Cain. Here are a few things we discussed during the meeting:

I started the discussion with asking the group if they had taken the quiz in the introduction of the book and if they wanted to share their results. Everyone in the group was okay with sharing and surprisingly they all tended towards being an introvert.

Most of the group thought that the book was a difficult read, one group member even took notes while reading. Some thought it read like a text book and no one thought it was a book that could be read all at one time. One member felt she never really understood Cain’s definition of an introvert and I also felt that I was still unsure of what characteristics she felt were introversion and what was just being shy. Some of the questions on the quiz, risk-taking, thinking before speaking, and not discussing work until completed is something a shy person might do to avoid social disapproval. We also thought that some of the questions may be something that was more a characteristic developed due to culture rather than one of introversion.

One of our members pointed out that Cain kept making the same points repeatedly and that half way through found himself reading only the topic sentences of the paragraphs. He also found it telling that she was able to recap the entire book in the last page and a half. Many of us found the same thing and wished that she would just get to the point. In fact I recommended this book to my sister-in-law and told her she only had to watch the TED Talk video that Susan Cain had on her website and to read Chapter 11.

All of our members have children so we talked about whether they were also introverts. We then talked about our experiences with our introverted children and how we reacted to some of their experiences. We wished that we had access to this information when they were young, our responses may have been different. The chapter on “How to Cultivate Quiet Kids in a World That Can’t Hear Them” is a chapter that we found constructive and would recommend to new mothers.

One of the issues that one member had with the book was her lack of data on sensory perception. The relationship between the entire autism spectrum and introversion she felt was completely ignored.

Many of us thought we spent too much time trying to develop extrovert characteristics and that is was stressful and exhausting. We thought that the call for a quiet revolution is a good one in theory, stop work groups, have quiet time, and do what is important to you. We liked Cain’s mantra that it is okay not to always want (or actually, prefer not to) to dive into a big group and being silent is okay. We are thankful that Cain hi-lighted the fact that we underestimate introverts in our society and that creativity, for many, can be fostered with time spent in quiet reflection.

Lastly, we were happy to have read this book and thought it would be of value for both introverts and extroverts to read. These are just a few things mentioned during the discussion. Please feel free to add any of your thoughts in the comment section.

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