Friday, 30 August 2013

Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

I've been reading this book recently as it was recommended by MrM. From the third page where I told MrM that this was the most relevant book I've ever read, I later came across this passage which made my eyes pop out of my head:

“The highly sensitive [introverted] tend to be philosophical or spiritual in their orientation, rather than materialistic or hedonistic. They dislike small talk. They often describe themselves as creative or intuitive. They dream vividly, and can often recall their dreams the next day. They love music, nature, art, physical beauty. They feel exceptionally strong emotions--sometimes acute bouts of joy, but also sorrow, melancholy, and fear. Highly sensitive people also process information about their environments--both physical and emotional--unusually deeply. They tend to notice subtleties that others miss--another person's shift in mood, say, or a lightbulb burning a touch too brightly.”

― Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

I have very rarely come across a paragraph that sums me up so comprehensively and ended up reading it about 20 times, 10 of them aloud to MrM. If I had read this years ago, it would have changed my life. Far from being the loner I thought I was (compounded by my Mum telling me "I always thought you were odd" recently), it's just a personality trait.

The reason I mention this is that always being a bit quiet has had a huge impact on my life and children like me are constantly being told to "buck up and stop being shy". I've done it myself to the McBaby when a stranger has approached him in the supermarket. "Don't be silly," I'll say. "Say hello!", conveniently forgetting that I don't tend to high five total strangers in the shops.

I had a torrid time with people thinking I was a rude teenager when I simply didn't know how to interact with people who wanted to talk about clothes and hair. I realised that I was not coming across well and have masked this social unease, but still would prefer to talk to people face-to-face rather than addressing people I don't know at parties and asking inane questions.

I thoroughly recommend this book, even if you're not an introvert as it will provide an insight into the thinking of the quiet person in the office. It also may stop you making your child think they're something wrong with them.

If you're a busy introvert, then check out Susan Cain's TED talk here:


  1. Thanks for the book recommendation, as an introvert myself i love the recongition given to the fact that it is ok to be an introvert and there is so much more to us. I get fed up of people expecting you to be loud or to be this or that, what is wrong with being quiet and appreciating the world differently!

    I love your blog, but alas the world stops me from being able to catch up very often.

    Enjoyed reading about your time at the festival, it sounded like a cool place to go.xx

  2. Thanks Dannie - you are so sweet! Thanks for finding the time to read my nonsense in between your amazing adventures! xx

  3. This book SO resonated with me too! I think it has been really relevant to a lot of people. x