The first book I read this year was not fiction. Not because I was avoiding fiction! Of course not. It’s because I had a small pile of books borrowed from friends, which had accumulated while we moved house. Now that I was starting to feel settled in a new home, it was time to start working through these books I’d borrowed.
A friend recommended this book to me because I was confused about how to define introversion. I find it easier to think when I can talk out loud, but I get exhausted quickly when I hang out with lots of people. Am I an introvert? What does it mean to be an introvert? Is there even one clear definition?
‘Quiet’ is an exploration of introversion that goes deep and stretches wide. Susan Cain has collected pretty much every scientific study, historical milestone and self help movement that is remotely connected to introversion. Her book ties it all together to tell an incredible story about what introversion actually is, and what potential contributions introverts could make if they lived and worked with people who understood them.
The whole story is held together through an adventure of field trips and interviews. Susan takes us from place to place in her search to understand introverts. We visit offices and shops, a church and a university, psychologists’ clinics and self help seminars, families and schools, in the past and the present. The whole trip left me feeling pretty well informed about what an introvert is, and why introverts are cool.
Susan Cain has a website all about this stuff. You can even take a quick text to see if Susan Cain would pick you as an introvert. I am apparently an ‘ambivert’. No wonder I was confused.