I had heard about the famous Ted Talk by Susan Cain sometime back but did not get around to reading this book. “Quiet …” is a book that made me relate to it very closely. There have been so many books that I have read over the years that tell introverts how to overcome introvert behavior by following some method or the other as though being introvert was some kind of handicap to survive in this world. For the first time “Quiet” tells you to celebrate introvert behavior and does not give you reason or means to change it.
The idea that today’s world recognizes culture of personality as opposed to culture of character resonates with me and I am sure with many people who have always felt world was more biased towards extroversion. In the last few years there is a recognition that there are introvert and extrovert people and they will behave differently in similar situations. But the emphasis has always been on telling introvert people that they need to change to survive with dominant extrovert culture. In this book the author says that this leads to colossal waste of energy and potential that remains untapped and I agree with her. The extroversion dominated environment gives preference to style and loudness of the arguments rather than substance and good ideas.
I see all around me this bias for extroversion. Group discussions, large meetings, seminars, team meetings, public speaking are all encouraged and rewarded. People who speak up are rewarded and encouraged. But there are the quiet ones who may have great ideas but the whole crowd situation makes it difficult for them to open up and speak. In the beginning, social networking brought out the best of introvert people. They could share their ideas with a large group of people without being in a group situation. But this has changed in recent times. Social networks have also become playground for extrovert people.
Even though the author celebrated introversion, she ended up giving advice to people how to manage in extroversion-dominated culture. What is required is a change in cultural behavior of society that goes back to recognizing culture of character.