This book was a revelation to me. In the Introductory chapter, Cain asks the reader to do a quiz which determines whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. I answered 100% of the questions as an introvert. Many people possess traits from both personality types but generally lean further towards one type than the other.
Cain describes introverts and extroverts as requiring different levels of external stimulation to function optimally. Extroverts obtain energy from social interactions, they need company, they are sociable, assertive and risk taking and they prefer talking to listening. Introverts need solitude to recharge their batteries, they are thoughtful and contemplative, they listen more than they talk and they tend to dislike conflict. However, introverts are not necessarily shy.
Cain argues that the Western world is geared toward extroverts, that work places and schools are formed around the extrovert ideal where the loudest and most confident dominate.
This book made me understand myself better and accept some personal characteristics, that I previously thought of as failings, as positive or acceptable. In short, it was a relief to understand more about being an introvert.
My only criticism of the book is that if you answered half of the quiz as “True” (introvert) and half a “False” (extrovert) then you are apparently an “ambivert” and the book has little to say about ambiverts; the discussion is based on an assumption that most people fall neatly into either the introvert or extrovert category. However, despite this, Quiet is very well researched and I recommend it to introverts and extroverts alike. It might be helpful for you on a personal level but equally, it might help you understand some of your friends and family who operate on the other end of the scale from you.
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