Many people who have been labeled shy, reserved, bashful, and introspective or an introvert by themselves or others, will identify with the book Quiet written by Susan Cain. Through extensive research and interviews Cain presents a view of introverts that is expressed in a way that makes people with the label feel proud of the characterization. She notes that historically our society has held in high esteem those considered extroverts and by the same token undervalued introverts. We are presented with a different and more positive view of the power and strength of introverts as she explores the lives and accomplishments of people like Rosa Parks, Warren Buffet, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates and Dale Carnegie, to name a few. Consider Rosa Parks, she was just an ordinary workingwoman who quietly refused to give up her seat on a bus. She made a profound impact on the Civil Rights Movement through this simple but courageous act and helped to change the course of history in this country. Or think about Warren Buffet, who quietly makes investment decisions without a lot of fanfare or public display yet has become one of the wealthiest men in the world. There are many others that can be mentioned but the point is that being a quiet person is not necessarily a bad thing.
Cain’s book does an excellent job of presenting an interesting perspective of who introverts are and why they are so valuable to society. An interesting notion discussed in the book is the notion that many introverts can and do act like extroverts for important work, people they love, or things they highly value. In these instances they are able to use their self-monitoring skills to read social cues and respond with what would be viewed as more extroverted behavior. Introverts are multifaceted individuals so if you find yourself in this category of people and were considering making changes to appear to be more extroverted you might want to give that more thought.