Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Shhh! Leave Me Alone!

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
(Random House Audio, 2012)
Format: audio download via library (narrated by Kathe Mazur)

From Goodreads: "At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society. 

In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves."

So, remember how June is Audiobook Month? And there's this awesome Going Public... In Shorts! project I got to participate in when I interviewed narrator Kaleo Griffith? Well, other bloggers are doing interviews all month, too, of course, and through one of those - Jen at Devourer of Books's interview with narrator Cassandra Campbell - I heard about Cain's Quiet, and Mazur's graceful, friendly narration thereof. 
Does this make your mouth water?
Like, a whole lot?
You might be an introvert!

I am an introvert. (<--- understatement.) So it's pretty cool to listen to a book where I can compare myself to Rosa Parks and Dr. Seuss and Einstein and think, 'hey, yeah, I get that!' Beyond that, I just enjoyed Cain's presentation of her material. It progresses nicely and I kept making notes for myself along the lines of "look up that lemon test!" and "monitor less / achieve more." It's not that the essential qualities of introversion were a surprise to me, but Cain adjusts the kaleidoscope on all those qualities, giving me a different perspective on them. It's thought-provoking (hey, introverts like that!) and action-making stuff. 

It's interesting to see the ways in which some of the 'closet' introverts she interviews manage their higher profile lives / careers, and to think about the ways in which introvert-extrovert collaborations can be stronger than the same tasks with all the same personality types. (Not too surprisingly, introvert-extrovert marriages are pretty common. I have one. My parents do, too. And my brother. Lots of people I know.) (Mine's the best.) (Hi, honey.) 

So, next time you see me reading (ie, next time you see me), you'll know that it's because I'm biologically destined to hole up in my cave thinking rather than doing. And next time you see me laughing madly around a dinner table with friends (which I was doing just this evening), believe me when I tell you I'm just highly adaptive. (Or don't believe me. Being highly adaptive also means I'm a great liar.) (Apparently. I'll never tell!)

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