“Quiet” Passes the Microphone to Introverts (Book Club Pick)

Here at Pressboard, we believe in few things more than the power of a great story. Stories inspire us, galvanize us and move us to tears. They change the way that we view a particular issue or society as a whole. But most importantly, they bring us together.

This passion for storytelling is what originally inspired us to design a platform that allows brands and publishers to connect and craft outstanding content together; now, it’s the driving force behind our book club, which delivers our favourite reads — fiction, non-fiction and everything in between — to your inbox every month. Allow us to introduce our pick for January 2019: Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

‘Introvert’ and ‘extrovert’: they’re words that are thrown around like confetti, denoting two neat boxes that most people can, allegedly, be sorted into. The introvert is the quietly focused type who’s likely more comfortable around the household pets at a party than the guests. The extrovert is outgoing and bold, equally as at home in front of a hundred people as they are in front of one.

Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking explores what she refers to as the “extrovert ideal,” or the belief that the ideal person is “gregarious, alpha and comfortable in the spotlight.” Cain argues that this common Western belief has resulted in introverts being cast into a corner (think Baby in Dirty Dancing, but with less tulle), ultimately wasting their talent and sacrificing their energy and happiness.

Part psychological study, part rallying cry, Cain’s words speak most directly to introverts who may feel undervalued or unseen. As, you guessed it, an introvert myself, I found the idea of viewing my introversion as a different kind of strength — rather than as a weakness or character flaw, as I’ve been taught to view it in the past — to be particularly empowering. But Cain also delves into early childhood education, workplace structure and the evolution of social norms, painting a comprehensive yet accessible picture of how the heck an entire culture came to view introversion as an undesirable quality.

Cain’s TED Talk, The Power of Introverts.

Though written primarily for the more withdrawn among us, Quiet is a valuable read for anyone seeking a better understanding of how we interact with and value each other. Cain’s research has made waves in the business industry and beyond since its 2012 release. That year, Fast Company listed it as one of the 12 best business books; more recently, The Guardian named it one of the best brainy books of the past decade. Whether you’re an introvert struggling to thrive in a loud, fact-paced environment or an extrovert struggling to understand your introverted coworkers, friends or partner, there’s certainly no downside to reading a book whose main goal is to sprinkle a little more empathy into the world.

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