The Power of the Introvert

Woman Alone on a Beach

Although the ideal in America today is an extrovert who is "gregarious, alpha and comfortable in the spotlight, nearly half of the citizens in this country are introverts who are cerebral, quiet, emotionally complex, and very sensitive." These are the views of Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.

Introverts are those of us who prefer listening to speaking, who are innovative and creative without the impulse towards self-promotion, and who favor quiet reflection and solitary activity over gregarious interaction. In Quiet, Susan Cain shines a spotlight on this character trait, and what it means in our society. Cain argues that our culture undervalues introverts and, as our society has evolved from an emphasis on character to the cult of personality, we lose much in doing so. One has to ask where we would be without the contributions of well-known introverts such as Vincent Van Gogh, Mahatma Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Steven Spielberg and Steve Wozniak.

 Cain provides research regarding introverted personalities, along with real stories of successful people who are also introverts. She makes a good case for a greater appreciation of quiet leadership, the value of solitude as a fertile ground for imagination, and the need to honor the character qualities of thoughtfulness, sensitivity, and gentleness. If you’re an introvert, or you know one, you will enjoy reading Quiet, as it extols the virtues of this character trait, letting you explore its use in quietly influencing people and in strengthening your relationships.

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