May 26, 2016

Book Reflection: Quiet by Susan Cain

I've had this book lying around the house since Christmas and only got around to reading it this month. It somehow fell through the cracks but I'm glad I finally found the time to read it. This book was released back in 2012, so many people will already be familiar with it.

Quiet by Susan Cain

I'm an introvert. I think most people who grew up with me know this for a fact. I initially wanted to read this book because of this. I wanted to learn about the different studies and data that are highlighted in the book. I wanted to know if the feelings I have are normal.

The title also got me curious. "The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking". Is there really much power in silence? Prayerful people will agree but many others will likely disagree. How can one be powerful if one is not talking? My key takeaways after the jump.

My key takeaways:
  • On a personal level, I think I have learned to act like an extrovert for certain aspects of my life. My line of work calls for me to present plans in front of Clients, work closely with different teams to arrive at an integrated communications solutions and negotiate with suppliers. Not exactly ideal work for an introvert. But the only reason I can do my job is because I really enjoy the quiet aspects of it. I enjoy the analysis and number crunching I get to do, I like the people I interact and work with. The quiet aspects of my work give me the energy I need to face people. I consider myself lucky.
  • My son is an introvert too. What's funny is that I failed to realize it until I read the book. It's a good thing the book gives a lot of great tips on how to help him cope with his sensitivity to new people and new situations. I may have been too hard on him, trying to get him to come out of his shell. I wanted him avoid becoming like me! But now I realize after reading the book that I need to nurture him rather than push him harder.
  • A lot of people equate being extroverted to being successful. The popular kids in school were most likely extroverts. Even in meetings and networking events, the talkative ones get more attention and airtime. But I've learned to measure success using my own gauge. I will never be the person who is the life of the party or someone who will be able to approach the CEO of Google to get a selfie taken with him. I'm completely fine with that. I let my output (and my thoughts) do the talking. Those who take the time to give me a chance, I'd like to think, will get their own reward in the end.
I recommend all people (both introverts and extroverts) to read this book. There is so much information and insights that one can pick up. 

For introverts, the book will help us realize that we are not alone. And if you are an introvert who is currently "underachieving" in life, the book will give you the inspiration to push yourself and find your own niche. At the very least, you may learn something new about yourself by looking inward and reflecting on the things discussed in the book.

For extroverts, it will give you a different perspective when looking at the "quiet" or "weird" people around you. You'll gain valuable insights on how best to work with and live with your introverted colleagues, friends and loved ones. You can even learn the power of silence. Like how a moment of silence during tense negotiations can tip the balance in your favor.

Overall, the book is an easy read. Not too technical with lots of real world anecdotes and examples to bring the concepts and discussion to life. This is a book where the lessons learned will have actual applications in your life.

Has anyone else read this book? What did you think? Happy to hear your thoughts in the comments section.