I just finished reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won’t Stop Talking by Susan McCain. This book definitely makes the top of my favorites list. Over the past year, as I’ve been trying to live more authentically, I’ve noticed that a lot of my preferences and habits don’t align with some of my closest friends, for example:
> I don’t like to have dinners with big groups or be in social situations where there are a lot of people
> I tend to keep my thoughts to myself in order to dissect them before I approach others
> I spend A LOT of time thinking about the purpose of life and how I fit into this puzzle, in addition to embarking on this endless pursuit around passion and meaning
> Spirituality, philosophy, meditation fascinate me
> I feel like the energy is sucked out of me after spending time in social settings for extended periods of time
> I find it super hard to multi-task and feel drained from working in an office with an open floor plan
> Caffeine, alcohol and other stimulants affect me way more than a lot of people in my life
> I find it REALLY hard to communicate when I am put on the spot. I feel way more comfortable communicating through writing or only when I have time to prepare
> I try to research all my options before making a decision
> My reward sensitivity is really low, I am not really motivated to pursue things for extrinsic reasons
> I try to avoid conflict at all costs and therefore usually choose silence over voicing what I truly feel
> I find it really hard to make small talk but really enjoy having deep meaningful conversations with everyone I meet
> I hate movies/tv shows with gore, violence, and horror
I attributed some of these things to being an introvert but I honestly at times didn’t understand some of my preferences, and felt that I was doing or being something wrong. However, as I was reading this book I felt like I was reading my life story and now realize a lot of my habits/preferences aren’t weird it is just who I am.
Susan does an excellent job in this book summarizing research on the study of introversion and extroversion and dissecting the personality differences and how they manifest in the real world.
It was eye opening to learn that genetics plays a large part in determining a person’s temperance in life. We all have the ability to stretch ourselves and push ourselves but we all feel most comfortable living in alignment to who we are. I think this would be an excellent read for introverts and extroverts alike. It is important for introverts to understand their personality better and structure their lives in a way to take advantage of their strengths.
Similarly, in a society that favors the extrovert ideal it is important for extroverts to understand introverts since they will most likely interact with introverts at some point as colleagues, managers, parents, friends, family, spouses.
I’ll post a chapter by chapter summary in a follow up post for anyone interested in the cliff notes version 🙂