Why are some people more talkative while others measure their words? Why do some people burrow into their work while others organize office parties? Susan Cain shows that our lives are shaped as profoundly by personality as by gender or race. Where we fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum influences every aspect of our lives from our likelihood for exercise to our choice of friends. If you are an introvert you MUST read Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
Contemporary American culture glorifies the extrovert. Even in the evangelical culture, faithfulness is tied to the “virtue” of extroversion with its emphasis on community, programs, meetings, and meeting more people. But it hasn’t always been that way. Susan Cain takes us back in American history over 100 years to show that the preference for extroversion in our culture is socially determined rather than natural. In addition, she compares the American value of extroversion to the Asian value of introversion.
I am 100% introvert and have always considered it to be a thorn in my flesh. Why did God give me a heart to do so much but not the personality to follow through? Susan Cain showed me that God did not mess up when He made me an introvert, nor am I a failure for not being more extroverted. Instead, I need to be using the power that comes with the introversion He granted me.
After 41 years of wrestling with disappointment in my God-given personality, Susan Cain showed me I am entitled to be who I am instead of trying to force myself into an extrovert mold. I know this doesn’t mean I can use my introversion as an excuse not to stretch myself where I am weak; rather, I need to recognize that what I thought was my weakness may actually be a strength.
We introverts can fit in the evangelical culture – evangelism means listening as well as talking, and occurs one-on-one and in small groups. Social media opens up an entire world for introverts to influence others. Also, note that solitude is not one of the seven deadly sins, but in fact, is a virtue that can demonstrate a quieter path to God.
Whether or not you are an introvert, if you are married to an introvert or have colleagues, friends or family members that are introverts, I highly recommend this book to help understand and relate to all kinds of people across the personality spectrum.
Disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbook Multnomah Publishing in exchange for my honest review.