The following review is by Dhyan Atkinson of The Five Essential Skills. Providing business skills training, consulting and business coaching to English-speaking small business owners around the world. Learn the business skills you need to be successful and get help using them out in the real world to find clients!
I am an introvert. I love public speaking. I love teaching my classes. I love working with my clients and I do these things well… but I am a dyed-in-the-wool introvert all the same.
One of the best explanations I have come across for the difference between an extrovert and an introvert has to do with the things that energize and rejuvenate them.
Extroverts get energized by interacting with people and being in public. They find group energy stimulating and enlivening. They thrive on teams and competition, and relish expending lots of energy which, in turn, energizes them more. They would rather be with people than be alone.
Introverts are the opposite. Although they may enjoy being with others, they tend to get drained by too much time with too many people. At a party, they are more likely to be in the corner having a deep quiet conversation than dancing with a lampshade on their head in the center of the room. Sooner or later, they are ready to leave the party for some quality time alone. It is the alone time that gives them more juice and feeds their contributions to the world.
When I saw Susan Cain’s book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” advertised on my Kindle I bought it at once and have relished every page! Susan Cain, herself an introvert (and a Wall Street Lawyer), talks about the dilemma introverts face every day living in a world that admires what she calls “The Extrovert Ideal.” Think Tony Robbins. Think Mega-churches. Think our current political leaders. Think Harvard Business School. Think every mega-training program you have ever heard of.
Cain has clearly done her homework. The book draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience speaking to the biological origins and differences between introverts and extroverts. Every chapter contains entertaining stories of real people (both introverts and extroverts) in real life situations. (My favorite story is when Susan attends a Tony Robbins seminar to research extroverts in action. I loved the descriptions of the cheerleading, the jumping up and down, the chanting, the pumping up of enthusiasm, the mega-screens, Tony as bigger than life, the fire walk – mostly because I could enjoy these things in print and never have to attend a seminar myself! I know this is not for me!)
She also identifies many famous introverts and their contributions to the world. Without introverts we would not have the following:
The theory of gravity
The theory of relativity
The theory of evolution
W.B. Yeats’s ‘The Second Coming’
Proust’s ‘Remembrance of Things Past’
Van Gogh’s ‘Starry, Starry Night’
Orwell’s ’1984′ and ‘Animal Farm’
The Cat in the Hat
‘Schindler’s List,’ ‘E.T.,’ and ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’
It isn’t just that I enjoyed this book and learned from it: I felt validated reading “Quiet.” I felt encouraged. I gained a renewed sense that I can do anything an extrovert can do and I can do it in my own quiet way. I have been telling my clients for years that they can love their work and find ways to find clients without resorting to the fist-punching bravado of your classic salesperson. It’s true!
I would highly recommend this book to people who dread being out in the world in an open, extroverted way but fear that if they don’t “change themselves” their business will never survive. “Quiet” is a celebration of the “other” way of living – a sweeping validation of the power, creativity, contributions, and self-worth in being an introvert.
- The Introvert’s 12 Step Plan for Painless Networking. (dancurtis.ca)
- Attention Introverts! You Can Market Successfully. (dancurtis.ca)
- The Introvert’s Survival Guide to Conferences. (dancurtis.ca)
If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.