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What’s it like being an introvert in an extrovert world?

What’s it like being an introvert in an extrovert world? Susan Cain has written a wonderful book “Quiet” about the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. You can find it on Book Depository here.

Cain argues that modern Western culture misunderstands and undervalues the traits and capabilities of introverted people, leading to "a colossal waste of talent, energy, and happiness." Her book presents a history of how Western culture transformed from a culture of character to a culture of personality in which an "extrovert ideal" dominates and introversion is viewed as inferior or even pathological. She explains that with the increasing value on being an extrovert – a louder, bolder, risk taking person, our schools and workplaces have become more structured around this, with a lot of focus on groupthink and collaborative work.

As quieter, more reserved people, introverts can get lost. But Cain focuses on the many important qualities that an introvert temperament contributes. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. The greater willingness of introverts to listen to others makes them better leaders than is generally recognized. Their thoughtfulness and persistence, and their heightened capacity to work independently, often gives them an edge in creative enterprises.

Cain cites research in biology, psychology, neuroscience and evolution to demonstrate that introversion is both common and normal, noting that many of humankind's most creative individuals and distinguished leaders were introverts. She urges changes at the workplace, in schools, and in parenting; offers advice to introverts for functioning in an extrovert-dominated culture; and offers advice in communication, work, and relationships between people of differing temperament.

Cain also has a Ted talk that’s really worth watching, viewable here.

Her website Quiet Revolution – Unlocking the Power of Introverts provides lots of interesting articles and tips including a personality test to help you know if you are an introvert or extrovert, ways to explain your introversion, how to deal with public speaking and strategies for parenting as an introvert.​

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