Resisting the Culture of Extroversion: Stop, Look, and Listen!

July/August 2012

"Mom, you're reading that, too!?" My 23-year-old-son, home for a visit, was astonished to see that each of us had picked up the same book: Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. It immediately gave us something to-well-talk about.

Forget the paradox that one of Cain's goals in writing her informative exploration is to get introspective types like my son and me to give a shout-out for ourselves. (It put me in mind of the oxymoronic cry, "Anarchists, unite!") The very fact that Cain's celebration of strength through soft-spokenness is on the bestseller list suggests we've been listening (quietly) for a long time, baby, awaiting someone like Cain to speak up for us. And she definitely provides a hefty boost of self-esteem to anyone who lives by the principle that you take in more by listening than by interrupting.

Indeed, from chapter to chapter, Cain champions bright students like my son, who lost grade points every semester of his school career for not raising his hand enough (or, as he put it, for refusing to be a loudmouth). She validates introspective types like me, whose lifelong passions include reading, playing music, and taking long walks (preferably in a national park). She delivers some long-overdue respect to the "geeks" and "nerds" and "eggheads" of the world. And she does all this with more than enough smarts and charm to demonstrate that we really are quite delightful souls-once you let us get a…

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1 Comment

Friday, July 27, 2012 1:34:39 PM | posted by Nancy Beltrandi
Ms. Cole's gift to make a clear and concise point clear allows the reader to become quickly intrigued to enjoy the subject matter. A superbly written piece.