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Friday, October 18, 2013

Book Review: Quiet by Susan Cain

BOOK review
Started on: 6.October.2013
Finished on: 15.October.2013

Title : Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Author : Susan Cain
Publisher : Penguin Books
Pages : 333 Pages
Year of Publication : 2013
Price : $ 14.47 (

Rating: 4/5

"Now that you're an adult, you might still feel a pang of guilt when you decline a dinner invitation in favor of a good book. Or maybe you like to eat alone in restaurants and could do without the pitying looks from fellow diners. Or you're told that you're "in your head too much," a phrase that's often deployed against the quiet and cerebral."
Quiet is a book that needs to be read by all introverts, to let them know that being an introvert in this world with an extrovert ideal is not a sin. All our lives, we see extroverts as the ideal being. They say we should be sociable, speak out loud, and be full of life. Of course there's nothing wrong with being extroverts; but being an introvert isn't wrong either. This book lets us know the power of introverts - that even introverts themselves might not know. Susan Cain gives us various examples of introverts that changed the world, and all sorts of research done to find out more about introversion and extroversion. To simplify this review, I will explain briefly the chapters in this book :)

The book is divided into 4 parts: Part One: The Extrovert Ideal, Part Two: Your Biology, Your Self?, Part Three: Do All Cultures Have An Extrovert Ideal, and Part Four: How to Love, How to Work?. Each part then contains several chapters to explain more about it. The first part explains about The Extrovert Ideal, which explains to us how extroversion started becoming the cultural ideal. Susan Cain brought up the story of Dale Carnegie - who's famous for his public speaking skills (I even wrote a review on his book: How to Develop Self Confidence & Influence People by Public Speaking). His evolution from a farmboy to salesman to public-speaking icon is part of the rise of the Extrovert Ideal. This culture affect jobs - where corporate will always want to employ an extrovert rather than introvert - even Harvard Business School - where all the students behave as an extrovert. And so Susan Cain explained how introverts can actually be better in leadership and many other things compared to extroverts.
"The lesson, says Collins, is clear. We don't need giant personalities to transform companies. We need leaders who build not their own egos but the institutions they run."
The second part, is talking about how our temperament (whether we are extrovert or introvert) is based on our biological structures. There's a difference between 'temperament' and 'personality', as this chapter will explain. Temperament is something we're born with, while personality is something that rises after cultural influence and experiences are added in. But in this chapter, Susan Cain also mentioned that each of us has the role of free will - which is when introverts stretched out of their comfort zone. From an introvert who despises public speaking, to someone who's capable of public speaking - although might not be as great as an extrovert would be.
"Free will can take us far, suggests Dr. Schwartz's research, but it cannot carry us infinitely beyond our genetic limits. Bill Gates is never going to be Bill Clinton, no matter how he polishes his social skills, and Bill Clinton can never be Bill Gates, no matter how much time he spends alone with a computer. We might call this the 'rubber band theory' of personality. We are like rubber bands at rest. We are elastic and can stretch ourselves, but only so much."
Part three talks about cultures related with extrovert ideal. Susan Cain did a research on introversion/extroversion on different cultures when she observed the life of an Asian-American. As it turns out, not every culture believes in the Extrovert Ideal. Some culture even respects introversion as being wise - including those from "Confucian belt" countries like China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. It's quiet fascinating to see how the proverbs from the East and the West brings out totally different ideals about extroversion/introversion. Gandhi is an icon respected by introverts, and Gandhi himself is also an introvert.
"Another study asked Asian-Americans and European-Americans to think out loud while solving reasoning problems, and found that the Asians did much better when they were allowed to be quiet, compared to the Caucasians, who performed well when vocalizing their problem-solving."
The last part is talking about the most important things. The first chapter of this part is titled 'When should you act more extroverted than you really are?'. In this part, Susan Cain takes the example of an introverted Professor, whose lecture is extremely respected and loved by the students - as if he's an excellent extrovert. Indeed there are times when we have to be more extroverted, but every introvert needs "restorative niches" - when we want to return to our true self. There's also a simple test included to see how strong a self-monitor we are. Another important point, is how to talk to members of the opposite type - in this case talks about a couple: Greg (an extrovert) and Emily (an introvert). A problem arises between the two, and both has a different way of dealing the situation - which then causes a fight. Lastly, it's about how to treat your introverted child not as a problem. Some parents are afraid of their introverted children who doesn't socialize much, but Susan Cain lets us understand the child's situation.
"Amazingly, neuroscientists have even found that people who use Botox, which prevents them from making angry faces, seem to be less anger-prone than those who don't, because the very act of frowning triggers the amygdala to process negative emotions."
There are still many more interesting details and discoveries about introversion and extroversion in this book. Both introverts and extroverts will gain advantage through this book. Introverts can understand themselves better, and stretch themselves into pseudo-extroverts in certain situations. While extroverts will understand the behavior of introverts better and respect them for it - not just trying to change those introverts into extroverts like them.

I'm an introvert myself, and right from the start of this book I feel like this book understands me so well. Everything it says about introversion is exactly what I feel in everyday life. How introverts enjoy one or two close friends better than having large group of friends, introverts who find it difficult to have small talks but enjoy deep talks, introverts who enjoy solitude, wanted some time alone after being outside and exposed to lots of people, etc - I keep saying 'that's me!' inside my head when I read about those things in the book. But after so many life experiences and cultural influence, I have my pseudo-extrovert self out in public. This happens especially because of the Extrovert Ideal that's been a burden my whole life. I was shy since I was young, and finds it difficult to socialize/blend with others. But my father always told me that I have to change - just like a case that was mentioned in the book. Since then, I always tried to be more extroverted. Even now, when I tell my close friends that I'm in fact a shy person, they laughed as if I'm joking. It seems like on the outside people always see my pseudo-extrovert side. I enjoyed the times when I try being more extroverted; but at the end of the day I always return to my introverted self who enjoys the moment of being alone.
"Introverts feel 'just right' with less stimulation, as when they sip wine with a close friend, solve a crossword puzzle, or read a book. Extroverts enjoy the extra bang that comes from activities like meeting new people, skiing slippery slopes, and cranking up the stereo."
There are so many new discoveries and knowledge I got from reading this book. One of it is how an introvert can actually be a better leader than an extrovert in some cases. And the fact that "introverts are more likely than extroverts to express intimate facts about themselves online that their family and friends would be surprised to read" is something I admit true, as an introvert. Which is probably why I made this blog, and enjoyed doing it so much (this is something I discovered only just now). There are of course so many other interesting things, but I won't share them all here. You can just read the book yourself :))
"They welcome the chance to communicate digitally. The same person who would never raise his hand in a lecture hall of two hundred people might blog to two thousand, or two million, without blinking twice. The same person who finds it difficult to introduce himself to strangers might establish a presence online and then extend these relationships into the real world."
Although this book talks about so many good points about introverts, it doesn't mean extroverts are bad, of course. I think the main point of this book is to encourage all those introverts out there to not be ashamed of who they are in this world full of Extrovert Ideal culture. Introverts needs to realize the power of quiet that most people don't see. And there are certain things we can improve as an introvert. I am absolutely encouraged by this book, and feels more satisfied with myself. The great people in the picture below are all introverts: Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, J.K. Rowling, Warren Buffett, and many more. So introverts, don't look down on yourself :)

"If you're an introvert, find your flow by using your gifts. You have the power of persistence, the tenacity to solve complex problems, and the clear-sightedness to avoid pitfall that trip others up. You enjoy relative freedom from the temptations of superficial prizes like money and status. Indeed, your biggest challenge may be to fully harness your strengths. You may be so busy trying to appear like a zestful, reward-sensitive extroverts that you undervalue your own talents, or feel underestimated by those around you. But when you're focused on a project that you care about, you probably find that you energy is boundless."
It's been quite a long time since I wrote such a long review like this one, but this lengthy review expressed how much I enjoyed reading this book. Even though it took me a long time to finish, and there are so many unfamiliar words throughout the book (because my English isn't all that great either), I really appreciate Susan Cain for writing it. I might want to re-read this book again sometime in the future, just to remind myself about the important points. Are you an introvert like I am? Understand yourself better with this book, and change for the better :))
by.stefaniesugia♥ .


  1. Review yang sangat bagus. Membaca review ini terasa sangat mengalir dari awal hingga akhir..Penulisan yang sangat personal. Tidak ada yang salah dengan seseorang yang introvert,mengerti dan memahami diri sendiri itu awal yang baik.. Sekedar pertanyaan,apakah orang ekstrovert suka membaca buku,novel maupun blog? I don't think so. Tell me if i wrong. Last question. What is your passion ? If i may know. Don't answer it if you don't want to tell. :D Keep the good work.

    1. well hi there, i'm an extrovert who loves to read novels and i blog too x)

    2. thanks for the nice compliment! :')
      itu pertanyaannya udh dijawab sm extrovertnya sendiri ^^
      my passion? books, design, and probably k-pop. lol x)

    3. @Agnes Koo= may i visit your blog? :p

  2. aaakh, i want to read this book too. i am also an introvert, tapi kasusnya sama persis kayak kamu, stef: "Even now, when I tell my close friends that I'm in fact a shy person, they laughed as if I'm joking."

    dan ini... "introverts are more likely than extroverts to express intimate facts about themselves online that their family and friends would be surprised to read." mwakakakkakak. saya banget! *lirik status2 fb dan twitter.

    great review. bener-bener jadi kepingin baca juga.

  3. Iya banget bahwa semakin dewasa, dipengaruhi pengalaman hidup + dorongan dari lingkungan, para introverts bisa punya sisi pseudo-extrovert-nya yg muncul sewaktu-waktu. Aku pribadi juga ngalamin sendiri, belajar sedikit-sedikit untuk nyaman di tengah orang banyak ataupun pada saat public speaking :) Reviewnya bagus Kak Stefanie, been a long time since I want to buy the book and now I won't hesitate to pick it on the next bookstore visit!

    1. yup betul :D aku jg lbh nyaman public speaking wktu udh di SMA. thanks for the compliment! love your blog as well ;*

  4. thanks for posting, the review is great! and I just wonder.. how do you make time with all of these books, and the review as well?? I always have a to-read-list (so many of them) and couldn't find a spacious time to read them.. anyway, I'm an introvert too, craving to buy this book. Hail introverts! :p

    1. thank you so much! glad you enjoyed it :))
      how do i make time? I just do. I think it's part of the commitment of having a book-blog ;D
      Hail introverts! x)

  5. hey, pas bgt pas baca ini pas lg ngerasa i'm introvert but the whole world expects me to be extrovert, and yet i am seen as extrovert too :D i love this quote very much anyway "Now that you're an adult, you might still feel a pang of guilt when you decline a dinner invitation in favor of a good book" pas banget hehehe. sama yang ini juga "You may be so busy trying to appear like a zestful, reward-sensitive extroverts that you undervalue your own talents, or feel underestimated by those around you".
    salam kenal ya, glad to find ur blog hehehe :D

    1. thank you for reading this review! salam kenal juga ;)

  6. My nephew is an introvert, so I found the summary and your review interesting. Thanks for sharing!


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