Words from Quiet (Susan Cain)

Quiet by Susan Cain

Introversion—along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness—is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Introverts living under the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man’s world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we’ve turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.”  -Susan Cain, Quiet (2012)

I just recently started Susan Cain’s Quiet, a non-fiction book exploring the benefits of introverted people, and it’s already sounding close to home.  I’m a quiet person myself and, while I would never say I’m in constant persecution, I have definitely experienced the kind of culture that she describes here.  I’ve often wondered why introverted people are sometimes seen as unintelligent or indecisive, instead of thoughtful.

Are you introverted or extroverted?  Do you think introverts have certain disadvantages in society?  Let me know what you think below.


2 thoughts on “Words from Quiet (Susan Cain)

  1. “Quiet” is definitely on my to-read list! I have to wonder at the reality of the world she’s describing, however. Maybe it’s because I’m actually an extrovert and therefore can’t appreciate it (being in the preferred group and all)? Funny, because for years I considered myself to be introverted.
    One thing I noticed to be true: it was in those moments when I attributed my shyness to introversion that I felt the worst about it. It’s likely those moments turned into self-fulfilling prophecies, and I therefore felt “discounted”. Further, if things like shyness and sensitivity can be altered over a lifetime (as in my particular case), can that actually change who we are at the core? I’d be interested to see how Cain unpacks this.

    • Very interesting thoughts here. Non-fiction books are often seen as “true,” but it’s important to remember that we can always disagree with the argument the author is making.

      That said, Cain approaches the subject after a lot of research (she worked on the book seven years, if I remember correctly). The quote I used is of course just one small part of the book’s introduction, so she does elaborate and show some evidence for the concept. In addition, she would agree that people can become more social, because she doesn’t consider shyness and introversion the same thing. She even taught herself how to be more outgoing, and she helps others in the same way.

      At any rate, her book is just an opinion and even if someone disagrees with it, it’s always interesting to hear different views on a topic.

      Thank you very much for reading and commenting!

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