BookBrowse Reviews Quiet by Susan Cain

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Discuss |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Quiet

The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

by Susan Cain

Quiet by Susan Cain X
Quiet by Susan Cain
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2012, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2013, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Stacey Brownlie

Buy This Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


An examination of how our culture undervalues introverts and what we could gain by changing our perspective

When I heard through the book lovers' grapevine that a new title was to be published about the power of introverts, I couldn't wait to get a copy. As an unabashed introvert and someone who has read numerous books about this personality type, I was both eager and curious to read the new "it" book on the subject. And once I started reading, it quickly became evident that Susan Cain's contribution to the existing body of literature would be significant. Yes, she is an introvert and can therefore write from personal experience, but she is also an avid researcher of both the traditional and the real-world immersion kind. Though her research is current and substantial, the basic tenets of introvert-versus-extrovert issues she explores are, for the most part, not revelatory. Rather, it is her big picture view and her unification of so many aspects of one maligned temperament that make the book an excellent read.

Quiet is different from previous books on introversion because it explores the topic from so many perspectives. Other titles on this subject tend to be strictly in the self-help genre or straight memoir. Cain approaches introversion as a cultural anthropologist might, looking for all the ways it affects our society. How does a person become introverted? Can introverted people be good leaders? How does our education system affect the learning and well-being of introverted children? What is the best way to parent introverted children? Can introverted people be good at public speaking? Should introverted people try to act extroverted to fit in? Cain explores all of these questions and more with a mixture of anecdote, science, and personal experience.

She talks to pastors, takes seminars from hyper motivational-speaker gurus, interviews high school students who are children of first generation immigrants to the U.S., and mingles with Harvard Business School graduate students - all with the goal of fleshing out what would otherwise be strictly data and survey samples. Quiet's closing chapter, "On Cobblers and Generals," which tackles parenting introverted children, is one of the book's most valuable and contains the most unique information. In it, Cain offers not just practical tips, but also some thought-provoking information about how introverted children are wrongly perceived and the long-term damage this causes.

One of Cain's many accomplishments with Quiet is that she creates a work that reaches readers outside of the introverted spectrum. People interested in science, psychology, or the art of communicating with an introvert will all find value here. Because her treatment of the topic is wider than elsewhere - addressing it in American history, other cultures, in religion, in parenting, etc - I occasionally had trouble following the numerous threads of focus. Cain covers so much ground that I wish she had lingered more on some points and broken up the narrative less with abundant scientific research and study results. Nevertheless, Quiet is a satisfying read and a welcome addition to introverts' plea for the understanding and appreciation of our extroverted western world.

Reviewed by Stacey Brownlie

This review was originally published in February 2012, and has been updated for the January 2013 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Introverts and the Internet

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Overstory
    The Overstory
    by Richard Powers
    Many glowing adjectives can be used to describe a novel by Richard Powers: brilliant, moving, ...
  • Book Jacket: American Histories
    American Histories
    by John E. Wideman
    In American Histories, a collection of 21 short stories, John Edgar Wideman draws America's present ...
  • Book Jacket: I Found My Tribe
    I Found My Tribe
    by Ruth Fitzmaurice
    Ruth O'Neill was only 28 when she married film director Simon Fitzmaurice in 2004. Changing her...
  • Book Jacket: The Art of the Wasted Day
    The Art of the Wasted Day
    by Patricia Hampl
    Patricia Hampl wants you to know that daydreaming is not a waste of a day. Nor is spending time ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Girl Who Smiled Beads
    by Clemantine Wamariya & Elizabeth Weil

    A riveting story of survival, and the power of stories to save us.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Leavers

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One of the most anticipated books of 2017--now in paperback!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T E H N Clothes

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.