book review: “quiet: the power of introvers in a world that can’t stop talking” by susan cain

Today, I wanted to share with you a book that has changed my life in the most dramatic way: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. I delayed writing this review for fear that I would not be able to properly articulate the depths of my feelings about this book.

You see, I have known for a long time that I was introverted and thus, shy.  I mistakenly believed that this was something that wasn’t ideal, something that I was going to have to struggle against my entire life. I lay awake many nights, wishing, praying , that I would be more outgoing, that I wouldn’t enjoy being alone so much, that I would be more of what the world seemed to expect of me. I read more books than I can count about how to make friends and influence people, including the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I read books about my personality type: melancholy; and identified my Meyers Brigg: ISFJ. Don’t get me wrong, they helped but they didn’t set me free of the underlying notion that something was wrong with me.

Gretchen Rubin, one of my favorite writers, has said that Quiet is a “superbly researched, deeply insightful and fascinating read.”  She was not wrong. Susan started on the book in 2005, seven years before it was first published. And spent an untold number of hours investigating the introverted personality. It shows.

In Part One she discussed, the “extrovert ideal”, the history of what took our society from admiration of the thinkers (IE Abraham Lincoln) to the obsession of extroversion (IE entertainers and celebrities). She discusses how classrooms have become more extroverted with increasing number of group tables and group projects. She talks about how teachers are concerned when the quiet student doesn’t talk much or they can’t tell what they are thinking.  I believe a teacher approached my mother about this very thing when I was in middle school.

Then she hit on that question that I had asked myself over and over: Is there something wrong with me? Susan dives into the myth of what it means to be extrovert and what it means to be introvert: it is not about liking people, one is not more anti-social than the other.  This misunderstanding is common and it is also damaging.

An extrovert returns to equilibrium when stressed by being around people. For an introvert, being around people is a drain on their batteries; it doesn’t charge them up. This was a game-changer for me.  It wasn’t that I didn’t like or appreciate people. It wasn’t that something was wrong when I was exhausted after attending the very fun event (and it was fun). It wasn’t that I wasn’t friendly, or a snob, or thought of myself more highly than other people (although I’m sure there have been times when that was true).

Through impeccable research, Susan showed me what was really going on, why I seemed to need a vacay after my vacay. She even gave tips and tricks for living in this more extroverted world.  Now after an event, I am likely to schedule alone time; she calls it a “restorative niche”.  I go there often.

I am not ashamed to say that when I read this book I cried me a river.  It was the most affirming book I had ever read and I have recommended it to more people than I can count.  If you have someone who is quiet, if you are yourself, if your kid is, look through this book. Or go online and check out the Quiet Revolution. It will help you understand the people around you, and maybe yourself, in ways you can’t even imagine.

I write this in the Barnes & Noble café.  The book, Quiet, is sitting in front of me on the table.  I kid you not, a lady just walked up to me and asked me, “is that not one of the most empowering book you have ever read?”  I heartily agreed.

til tomorrow, enjoy life

Catch up on the rest of this series.

quick lit – next page, please {august 2018}

Quick Lit {August 2018}

I feel like my reading life has been weird this month.  I have felt the urge to plan my reading for the rest of the year: looking at the three books that I need to finish the Modern Mrs. Darcy’s (MMD) 2018 Reading Challenge, meeting my goal of reading 38 books this year, and reading books for my work.  However, random books have appeared in my life that just had to be read right now, throwing off my carefully-laid plans.  Well, at least I am only six books away from my yearly goal and it’s only September.

Currently Reading

  • Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton. I have time to think.  That is the great, the greatest luxury.  I have time to be. Therefore my responsibility is huge.
  • Transformational Speaking by Gail Larsen. Just beginning this one and while I have no desire to a transformational speaker, I am working to be a transformational writer. Hoping this will help.

Read

  • The Girl Who Takes and Eye for and Eye by David Lagercrantz. This one wasn’t as good as the others. As I write this, I am having a hard time remembering the storyline. That tells me something.
  • Write Happy, Write Smart by Cheryl St. John. The kick-in-the-rear I needed to get my writing life together. And the catalyst for prompting that reading plan I talked about earlier. Written for writers, St. John shares some interesting truths about conquering fear, releasing perfectionism, and others that are applicable for everyone.
  • Still Lives by Maria Hummel. A dark and twisty novel that was August’s Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club pick. Boy, does Maria Hummel have a way with words: “Most days pass in a pleasurable blur of words and pictures” – that’s a good line. But the book paced a little slower than I prefer.
  • The Mind-Gut Connection: How the Astonishing Dialogue Taking Place in Our Bodies Impacts Health, Weight, and Mood by Dr. Emeran Mayer. Very interesting scientific facts regarding probiotics and your digestive system. The most fascinating thing that I learned was that your digestive system has its own nervous system, known as ENS, that is practically independent of the brain. And is often referred to as the “second brain”.  Thus the accuracy of such statements like, “I feel it in my gut.” WOW!
  • How to Walk Away: A Novel by Katherine Center. One that entered my life quite suddenly and that I just had to read. Which I did. In two days – I absolutely loved this novel. Center takes a difficult and depressing event in her character’s life but somehow makes it an enjoyable read with lessons to boot.  She is also majorly gifted in writing from a character’s point-of-view.  I was inside Maggie’s head and was thoroughly impressed.
  • I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel, of Modern Mrs. Darcy fame. This sweet little volume of Anne’s reflections of her reading life inspired me to do my own reflection of my love of books and reading which led to some pleasant and even tearful experiences. Coming soon.

 Abandoned Reading (Temporarily)

  • The Odyssey by Homer. Translated by Emily Wilson. I have been reading a lot (6 books this month alone) and I want to slow down and savor this one when I don’t have as much of a reading agenda.

What have you been reading this month? And I really could use your help with the MMD category: Book nominated for an award in 2018. Thanks.

enjoy life…

quick lit – next page, please {june 2018}

I have increased my reading exponentially this month.  I read seven books from the beginning of the year to last month and this month I have read ten! How’d I do it, you ask? Well, I intentionally made time to read this month.  On the practicality side of things, I stopped watching Netflix and Xfinity On Demand and read instead.

Read

  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. Loved this but I wasn’t surprised. As an English major I read Homer’s Illiad, and have been fascinated with the Greeks and the Trojans since. Madeline kept me engaged with this page-turner and I loss a significant amount of sleep that I can’t put on the Buddy Man. Madeline has written another based on The Odyssey entitled Unfortunately, I’m #11 in line for three copies at my local library. Ugh! Gives me something to look forward to. No Modern Mrs. Darcy Category; just the sheer joy of reading.
  • The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. Read this for our Rocket City Mom Virtual Book Club. I have a full-review on that site. It boils down to this: quick but disappointing read.
  • Sunburn by Laura Lippman. This was the first book from my 16 of the 26 selections from the MMD Summer Reading Guide (MMDSummer#1). I enjoyed it.
  • The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey. This is the first of a series. It was very interesting to read about Indian culture and history. This is also the first in Massey’s series about Preveen Mistry. I will read the next one when it comes out. MMDSummer#2 and MMD Category: A book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion than your own
  • I’ll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos. Lovely read. MMDSummer#3
  • The Ensemble by Aja Gabel. This is a debut novel that is still sitting in my bones. It’s about a classical string quartet over a few decades of time. This book reignited my love for classical music. The novel being a debut for Gabel means that there is no back list for this author.  I guess I’m waiting… MMDSummer#4
  • The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory. Quick and enjoyable read – The quintessential beach read. It’s a shame I wasn’t on the beach when I read it. MMDSummer#5
  • The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin. If you like ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, you will probably enjoy reading this book. The medical terminology, which I am not familiar with and unlike Grey’s you cannot physically see, may have gotten in the way of my really enjoying this one.  MMDSummer#6
  • We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union. Laugh out loud funny but raw and authentic at the same time, this is a collection of stories about Gabrielle Union’s life as an actress and activist. I absolutely LOVED this one. I read it in one evening.  My only regret is that I didn’t read this sooner.
  • The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. Interesting premise; how would you live your life if you knew the exact day that you were going to die. I loved this one. Right now it is in the top three books I have read this summer.  It will be interesting to see who, if any can bump it down for me.

Currently Reading

  • When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön. Continuing this one still; this is one to read slowly, contemplating each chapter before moving on. It was going to fulfill the MMD Category: A book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion than your own but The Widows of Malabar Hill did that.
  • Art of the Memoir by Mary Karr. Still taking this one very very slowly. I don’t think I am ready for this.

Doing these Quick Lit posts are so fun!  I love reading but sometimes go about it in a more haphazard fashion.  These posts, along with the Modern Mrs. Darcy’s (MMD) Reading Challenge, help keep me focused in my reading life.  I have missed not doing them. And today, I am linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy to tell you what we have all been reading lately. Check it out!

enjoy life…