The book 'Quiet' by Susan Cain will actually converse with you ...

Sunday, March 17, 2019 Heba Moeen 4 Comments

This book reveals that it's okay to be an introvert

Sometimes you need solitude more than anything and you would long for it through an overwhelming desire to take a break from everything routine based and everyone around. It may be difficult to realise it's worth for most while some would definitely know what I am talking about. It is much needed when perhaps you've been highly stimulated and you cave into the depths of your self-contained personality that finally demands a break. 

Corporations classify days off into categories such as sick, casual, annual but is there a leave of solitude and mental well-being being recognised? Well, there you go with your sick leave ...

Solitude and nature, together may heal you like perhaps nothing ever will (although one can't deny the much needed company of some close friends and family); the sound of birds chirping in a forest, the sound of crashing waves or simply a cool breeze blowing may help you rediscover yourself or better yet, help you make peace with the reality or practice gratitude in a way more profound than ever before.

I came across this book called 'Quiet: The Power of introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking' by Susan Cain and I must say that it is the best book I have read this year. It's about personality types, most importantly introverts and goes on to share in-depth, research based examples of introverts who have done something extraordinary in the world or studies conducted over decades to reveal that one doesn't necessarily have to be a party animal to do something worthwhile. 
You do not necessarily need to create noise for everything that you do but may often be mistaken as inert and someone who lacks energy or reluctance to take an initiative; unlike maybe a colleague who is highly extroverted and prefers delegating tasks while taking credit for work done by a smart introvert. It's a battle of using, let's say 'we' in work emails versus 'I' ... as in 'I did this' or 'I did that', it's often teamwork, someway or the other. It's also worth noticing that introverts though sometimes having done something entirely themselves avoid using 'I' and prefer using 'we' to indicate teamwork and give credit to the team of colleagues that works together towards achieving a certain goal or while working for a specific client for instance. 

Introverts may use 'I' when it is absolutely necessary, when they know they can't justify that something has been done by a group of people, yet such emails can later be overshadowed by their sense of guilt. And these people are perfectionists too, they may re-read something several times before sending it ahead while working out different scenarios in their heads of what may happen or what the other person may say. They tend to stay ahead in mind.

Also, with a growing need to excel at one's job, he/she is required to be well versed with multitasking, however, quite a few studies have revealed that although it sounds like the brilliant requirement of this era, it doesn't facilitate productivity but in fact hampers it, you need to focus on one thing at a time. 

Introverts are often mistaken to be anti-social which is definitely not true, they may not appear highly gregarious at once but are selectively social and prefer their circle of fellow humans whom they can be themselves with. Here's an excerpt from the book:

'Probably the most common - and damaging - misunderstanding about personality type is that introverts are anti-social and extroverts are pro-social. But as we've seen, neither formulation is correct; introverts and extroverts are differently social. They are more likely to be with someone with a select group of friends, who prefers sincere and meaningful conversations over wild parties.'  

Furthermore, one cannot entirely be an introvert or an extrovert, you could have a certain personality type that could be a mix of both but slightly skewed towards a certain trait; mostly, we are ambiverts which is a mix of the two. Yes 'ambivert' is also a term.

If introverts were of no good in this world, we wouldn't have had the likes of Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates or even J.K. Rowling for that matter. Here's what Susan Cain has to say for some:


She further goes on to explain a situation in which an introvert is part of a dinner party:

' ... suddenly taking turns talking and listening; responding to what the other person said; assessing whether you're being understood; determining whether you're well received, and, if not, figuring out how to improve or remove yourself from the situation. Think of what it takes to juggle all this at once! And that's just a one-on-one conversation. Now imagine the multitasking required in a group setting like a dinner party. So when introverts assume the observer role, as when they write novels, or contemplate unified field theory - or fall quiet at dinner parties - they're not demonstrating a failure of will or a lack of energy. They're simply doing what they're constitutionally suited for.' 

The reference of Moonlight Sonata is simply apt when considering the topic being discussed and also the fact explained that introverts are highly sensitive:

"Many introverts are also 'highly sensitive', which sounds poetic, but is actually a technical term in psychology. If you are a sensitive sort, then you are more apt than the average person to feel pleasantly overwhelmed by Beethoven's 'Moonlight Sonata' or a well-tuned phrase or an act of extraordinary kindness. You may be quicker than others to feel sickened by violence or ugliness, and you likely have a very strong conscience. When you were a child you were probably called 'shy' ..."

Highly sensitive people are probably the reason this world is still a better place to live in because of their acts of kindness and as a result of what they are willing to do to for humankind. They feel the need to do good because they have felt it so deeply and this is probably the schism that divides them from the rest.

In simple words, this book is a must read for not just people who are introverts but also those line managers who have introverted subordinates; these people who do not make excessive noise while completing a project but their final results have their own distinct voice to speak of their efforts. Mostly importantly, extroverts should read this book to understand introverts better and introverts should read it to understand themselves and know that it's okay to be the way they are.

I abhorred all such situations when a naive interviewer would ask, 'If you are an introvert how can you be into Marketing or PR for that matter?' or when someone who knew me in school, now has the audacity to say, 'Or she can't be in this field, she's not just meant for it.' This book is also for such fools who just assume they know a lot about someone and can pass on judgements behind their backs. Ambivert is the term, my dear and the need to be surrounded with quality people.

To conclude it, I highly recommend this book to people, especially working individuals. There is so much you would end up relating to ... which is why I ended up making so many markings and notes. Oh look! So read and enjoy!


 And here's something to relate with:

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  1. I must get it soon! Most who see the DiscoMaulvi persona consider me an extrovert but really it took years of pushing to get out of my shell. still an introvert at the core! Just a coating of extrovert behavior to get that ambivert label going!

    1. You must read it! It's such an amazing book. And just be yourself, you are awesome the way you are. :)

  2. I haven't read this book. But I'm now convinced that I need to. Loved the review so much.

    1. Hello Mehwish! Thanks for reading the review. Yes, you must read this book, you will be able to relate with it at many levels.