Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop TalkingQuiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Western society tends to favor extroverted personality traits to introverted ones. A result is that many of our most important decisions (when to go to war, how to invest our retirement funds, etc.) are made by the extroverts who occupy the top positions of companies and governments.

Although relatively new (about the last 150 years), society’s bias toward extroverted talent permeates almost every aspect of professional life, including office layouts. With the laudable goal of improving teamwork and collaboration, open office floor plans have left those of us who require more solo cerebral focus with few places to “be,” which has taken a significant toll on our effectiveness.

Cain, a self-described introvert, lays out several solutions that leaders in business and government might adopt to improve the productivity and well-being of all of their team members—extroverts and introverts alike. Her discussions about finding and facilitating each individual’s ideal balance of group and solo (or one-on-one) activities were specially helpful. Most introverts can pretend to be extroverts for some portion of the day (and should be to some extent). But too much feigned extroversion will result in unhealthy stress and burn-out, which are avoidable if we’re just free to find and achieve the right activity balance.

I’m an introvert in a lot of ways, but not in every way. “Quiet” has helped me to acknowledge and want to foster some of my introvert qualities that I might otherwise try to mask. It has also helped me to be more cognizant of the valuable qualities of others that might otherwise go unappreciated when juxtaposed with certain unmissable talents of the many extroverts (about 2/3 of the population) around us.

This review also appears in Goodreads.