QUIET – an introvert’s permission to breathe.

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I’m torn between reviewing a book that has been life-changing for me and just letting you discover it for yourself.

Quiet is Susan Cain’s expose of the power of introversion – a term which is increasingly thrown about in dinner conversations and staff meetings, but one which still carries negative connotations. Shy, a recluse, un-opinionated, awkward, antisocial. What about thoughtful, observant, a leader, person-oriented, interesting?

Cain highlights the neurological differences found in extroverts and introverts, examines cultural views on both personality types, and changes the lens when it comes to how introverts should see themselves and their contribution to the world. The book also discusses practical ways of working well with extroverts and introverts, and of how raising introverts in an extrovert-focused society. And, so very thankfully, it lets introverts off the hook. ‘Restorative niches’ are to be sought after, exhaustion after bouts of personal project-led extroversion is understood, and high-reactivity/sensitivity to our environments are tools to be used for good.

So I’ve just written a mini-review. I guess I couldn’t help it. I’ll leave you with a plea to buy and read the book – whether you are extroverted, introverted, or somewhere in between (we all are.) It will be like drinking a tall glass of ice water on a hot summer’s day. Much like this quote, with which I’ll leave you.

“So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don’t force yourself to seek breadth. The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting. For some, it’s a Broadway spotlight; for others, a lamplit desk. Use your natural powers — of persistence, concentration, and insight — to do work you love and work that matters. Solve problems. make art, think deeply. Everyone shines, given the right lighting.”

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