Wednesday, December 26, 2012

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

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain, 10h 39 min

read by Kathe Mazur

 I'm liking these non-fiction audio-book reads. Quiet is a wonderful read/listen. Susan Cain writes of the positive attributes of introverts, sometimes referred to as sensitive, sometimes as highly reactive, depending on which research has been done. I can see why it has become a popular book amongst readers, as I imagine a high proportion of readers are in fact, introverts.

Much of the book I spent nodding in recognition. Sections are devoted to cultural differences, nature versus nurture, pseudo-extroverts, and interspersed are anecdotes about real people. Real life case studies about Eleanor Roosevelt, Dale Carnegie, and Rosa Parks illustrate the points Cain is making. As in Malcolm Gladwell's books, sometimes case studies make the point better than scientific studies. Cain does include the research that is being done, talk of the amygdala (which was mentioned also in Annoying; I can't believe the amygdala figured prominently in two books in a row!) and brain reactivity.

This book is also helpful for teachers and parents, however, it was more written for extroverts and how to deal with the introverts they might deal with. I recognized for example why I was never a fan of group work as a student or why even as a teacher, I don't rely a lot on that type of teaching. I would, however, have liked a section on how an introvert parent could deal with an extrovert child. There was a reverse section (extrovert parent with an introvert child) but the opposite situation sets up challenges as well.

Cain does tend to make huge generalizations, and I think if I was an extrovert, her exhortations of the attributes of introverts might have made me uncomfortable. It is estimated that about one-third of the population is introverts. Gathering all the information on research in one place was pretty powerful, as the subtitle said. Really great book overall, for introverts, and people who deal with introverts. So, basically, everyone.

Every year I attempt this challenge, as I do like to read nonfiction science books.

1. Newton by James Gleick
2. Stiff by Mary Roach
3. Quiet by Susan Cain (more in the social science realm, but close enough!)

Here's the link to this year's project: Science Book Challenge