Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Quiet by Sandra Cain

Thank you to a fellow book club member who summarized the discussion for this post.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Of the 13 members in attendance, 10 really liked the book, 2 disliked it, and 1 was ambivalent. Members self-identified as follows: 7 Introverts, 5 Ambiverts, and 1 Extrovert.
A few folks found the book too academic to read pleasurably, others found it “interesting, inspiring, and gratifying.”

General consensus was that great benefit would stem from both ends of the spectrum (introverts and extroverts) being more aware of, more accepting of, and more skilled at recognizing and leveraging the advantages of those different from themselves. We acknowledged introversion/extroversion as another dimension of diversity.
We talked about role models for introverts and introvert/extrovert pairs (such as Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, and Eleanor Roosevelt and FDR).

Some of the most interesting discussion of the evening involved the use of social media, especially FaceBook, by introverts. Some introverts in the group wanted nothing to do with it, while others found it a wonderful lifeline in certain circumstances.

A few members called out the problems with extrovert-oriented workplace environments; open office plans are counterproductive (sometimes extremely so) for introverted employees.
Similarly, school settings that have open classroom arrangements and desk group arrangements also can be problematic for introverted students. Targeted assistance also may be needed from teachers to help introverted students succeed in group projects. One member pointed out that author Susan Cain has subsequently written another book dealing specifically with introverted children (Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverted Kids).
Introverts need time to prepare and clear expectations in order to feel ready for events.
There was a sense that aging smooths out the edges of introversion as introverts learn to live with and accept themselves as who they are.

For more information on this topic, one member recommended the book The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney, which focuses more on the why and how of introversion.