The phrase “the power of introverts” seems like an oxymoron. Yet, that is what Susan Cain proves in her book, Quiet. She is an introvert herself and gives the following reason why she wrote the book: “Our schools, workplaces, and religious institutions are designed for extroverts, and many introverts believe that there is something wrong with them and that they should try to ‘pass’ as extroverts. The bias against introversion leads to a colossal waste of talent, energy, and, ultimately, happiness.” Being an introvert as well, I know this to be true.
The book is filled both scientific evidence and personal anecdotes. One example is the move to the “open office” space and its effect on the productivity and well-being of introverts. The days of individual offices and even cubicles are going the way of the dinosaur. The new trend is to have everyone work together in an open area with no walls or dividers so as to maximize the group dynamic. That is all well and good for the two-thirds of the people who are extroverts, but introverts do their best work alone; they are worn out by dealing with people and energized by privacy. So one-third of the workforce has their productivity, job satisfaction, and ultimately, their well-being decreased because of a one-size-fits-all bias towards how people should work.
Cain makes the science interesting and her real-life illustrations drive the point home and put a human face on the topic. Introverts will want to read this so they can better understand who they are and how they function best. And extroverts should read this book because it will help them understand the people around them who are different. Decision makers should read this book so they can begin to make positive changes to allow the introverts to become all they can be. Try a little Quiet – society will be the better for it.