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

Quiet. The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking - Susan  Cain My circles of friends, both online and offline, are small, and likely boast a higher percentage of introverts than average. We hate small talk, but will chat for hours about books and comics and philosophy. We hate going to large parties, but love movie nights with just a small group.In Western society, we are turning more and more to the cult of personality. No more can authors cut themselves off from the world like J. D. Salinger, now they must blog and tweet and spend more time promoting their stories than they do creating them, which is ironic in Susan Cain's case, as she points out in her excellent TED lecture.On the other hand, the nature of the internet is quite friendly to introverts, at Cain points out. We can take a moment and compose our answer, carrying on conversations at whatever pace is comfortable. I find this blog an excellent way to work out my thoughts about my reading at a pace that I enjoy, which makes it easier to sell them in the store when I'm having to think on my feet.Like me, many introverts can be extroverted for a purpose. I love recommending books, and so I'm able to wear extroversion like an accessory while I'm at the bookstore, though sometimes it wears on me after a busy shift. I need moments of downtime between customers (which I get through processing orders or updating the store website) or I wear myself out.Not all introverts can wear extroversion in the same way. The other night I was travelling home from a long day working a literary conference, and ended up chatting with someone who had attended the same conference. We somehow got onto the subject of introversion, but when I claimed to be one, she gave such a look of disbelief as made me proud, even as it made me wince, because I used to give people, those who seemed more extroverted than me, the same look when they made the same claim.Cain calls those who can act extroverted "high-self-montioring". Many of my circle of friend are, but to varying degrees. One of our number can't seem to speak a word if there's a stranger in the room. In fact, I've had people comment, on meeting him for the second time, they didn't realize it was the same person, though he's still far from gregarious. On the other end of the spectrum is a girl who, though she also vehemently describes herself as an introvert, can get up in front of tens of thousands of people and introduce a Knight of the British Empire.Since reading Cain's book, I'm started understanding myself a lot more, and I'm finding that I'm able to conserve my energy for those moments when I need it, and learning more and more ways to recharge more quickly after a bout of extroversion. I'm also more aware of the strengths of introversion, and how much stronger my reviews, and hence my bookselling skills, are becoming because I'm quiet and contemplative when I need to be.This review also appears at Boxes of Paper.