Synopsis: For far too long, those who are naturally quiet, serious or sensitive have been overlooked. The loudest have taken over – even if they have nothing to say.
It’s time for everyone to listen. It’s time to harness the power of introverts.
It’s time for Quiet.
Author: Susan Cain
Publisher: Random House
Pub Date: 24th January 2012
I have a confession to make; I started reading Quiet in March 2016 and have only just finished. If that wasn’t bad enough, I think I was lent the book for about a year before I even started reading.
I know what you’re thinking; why did I wait so long before I started? Why did it take so long to finish? And why have I given it 5 stars if it took so long to complete?
Well, the first question is easy to answer; on average, it takes about 6 months between me acquiring a book and me reading it. Secondly, it’s a non-fiction – and a serious-looking one at that – so it will pretty much always be dropped down the TBR list if an exciting fiction crosses my path.
But then, why did it take so long to read? That’s harder to answer, because now that I’ve read it, the answer is I’m not quite sure. I do recall the first few chapters feeling a little samey – or at least that was what I felt at the time. To ‘get through’ I promised myself I’d read a chapter a day which, naturally, meant I stopped reading it completely.
After a week, I got caught up in yet another trilogy and the rest, as they say, is history.
It took a year for me to get the book back to the top of the pile…Literally, there is a big pile on top of, and under my bedside table! Once I started again, I couldn’t seem to put it down. Now, I’m completely in love with Quiet, and have bought my own copy to keep and re-read. It really is that good.
I do think, however, you need to be in a certain ‘place’ to read this book; I wasn’t quite ready to accept Cain’s insight and so, waiting a year may have been the best thing for me.
Quiet is not preachy or patronising. It will not convince you that you’re an introvert. It doesn’t take sides in the intro/extrovert debate – one is not better than the other. What it does achieve, however, is to provide an understanding to introversion that goes beyond the social stereotype.
On a personal level, Quiet took away the negative connotations I’ve always had with being introverted. Growing up in a Middle Eastern family means you must be loud to be heard; working in media means lots of networking and schmoozing; and practically any office environment requires a ‘shout louder than everyone else’ mentality. All of which makes me cringe at the thought of doing.
Don’t get me wrong, I will shout you down on any subject I feel passionate about, I’m loud and boisterous with friends, and my social calendar fills at an alarming rate. But I also love reading, playing the piano, drawing, and sitting quietly on my own. Sadly, these are the hobbies I normally feel most apologetic for.
Quiet gave me a completely perspective on these hobbies, and on introversion in general. It’s not a negative attribute, but a powerful and underestimated one.
This is a must-read for everyone, I think. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, there is something for you to learn here.