117 of 120 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2012
As a professed introvert, understanding the beauty of being someone who prefers quiet over chaos more often than not has become an interest of mine. And upon writing the post shared this past February about embracing one's introversion, I was pleasantly surprised to discover many fellow introverts.
Upon discovering Sophia Dembling's new book The Introvert's Way, I had the fortunate opportunity to review a copy before it became available (released today - Dec. 4th). While similar to Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking, Dembling book is quite validating (". . . introverts can perhaps lay claim to high levels of creativity"), but at the same time Dembling, herself an introvert, offers accessible advice on how to interact successfully and create quality relationships with others that may be far more extroverted than we understand.
With chapters titled: What Quiet Says, Introverts are Not Failed Extroverts, Loneliness is a State of Mind and Mistakes Introverts Make, it is authentic based on her own experiences, helpful with its relatable situations that you may have thought you were the only one experiencing and wise on how to deal with those who may not understand. After all, it's okay if you enjoy your own company more often than not (in fact, it's a very good thing), and once you understand that this idea that extroversion is better and the American way is all a myth, you too will hopefully breathe a sigh of relief and go about accepting yourself for exactly who you are, being comfortable living in a way that works for you. Needless to say, I highly recommend this book.
55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I was introduced to this book after reading an article by Sophia Dembling in the Wall Street Journal on December 14, 2012 entitled "All I Want for Christmas Is...A Little Space," so I picked up a copy of "The Introvert's Way" in hopes of learning more about introverts like myself. I was not disappointed.
Ms. Dembling immediately dives into shattering the common misconceptions on introverts. Distinguishing shyness from introversion, she states "shy people are scared of socializing. Introverts just aren't always interested in it." She separates introverts into "shy" and "not shy" categories, shredding the common misconception of all introverts being the former. Because of society's preference for extroversion over introversion, a lot of the "not shy" introverts are able to give off the impression of being an extrovert when they really aren't. Ms. Dembling even cites a study that shows it's a lot easier for introverts to act as extroverts than it is for extroverts to act as introverts, perhaps because introverts are more experienced at putting on--as Ms. Dembling refers to it--the "dog-and-pony show."
Moving beyond the comparisons between extroverts and introverts, this book does teach a lot to introverts about their own nature. She spends a bit of time talking about what introverts like to do, such as hiking, biking, kayaking, coffee shops, reading, walking, yoga, one-on-one conversations with good friends, writing, and other activities that encourage concentration and solitude. I'm personally interested in trying out her suggestion on mountain climbing, so perhaps other readers will be encouraged to try some of the other suggestions that Ms. Dembling says introverts like to do.
Most of all, as a self-proclaimed introvert, I was already comfortable with my own nature. However, Ms. Dembling's book made me even more content with myself. She writes that extroverts and introverts are better off letting each other be themselves, since we won't be able to change each others' nature anyway (introversion will probably stick with you throughout your entire life, she writes in the aforementioned Wall Street Journal article). Since nobody can change an introvert's way, we may as well try to understand it. This book is a good place to start.
79 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2013
The Table of Contents is what sold me on this book. In and off itself, it captures the challenges, quirks, and perks of being an introvert:
* Introverts Unite
* What Would Jung Say?
* The Great American Racket
* Science Says We're Not Necessarily Shy
* Born to Be Mild
* Quiet Riot
* Just Intense Enough
* The Slow Train of Thought
* The Internal Flame
* What Quiet Says
* The Fertile Void
* I Like to Watch
* Energy In, Energy Out
* "We Didn't Know You Were an Introvert, We Just Thought You Were a Bitch."
* Magic Words to Plug Energy Drains
* Introverts Are Not Failed Extroverts
* I Like People...Just Not All People All the Time
* Don't Call Us, We'll Call...Well, No, Maybe We Won't
* We Gotta Fight for Our Right Not to Party
* Loneliness Is a State of Mind
* The Happiness Bias
* Who's a Narcissist?
* Turning the Extrovert Advantage Upside Down
* The Party Predicament
* The Bathroom and Other Party Survival Skills
* Hell Is a Cocktail Party
* Fact 1: Some People Are Boring, Fact 2: You Are Not Obligated to Listen to Them
* Saying Yes When You Want to Say No (and Vice Versa)
* Extroversion in a Bottle
* There Must Be Fifty Ways to Leave a Party
* Life Through Introvert Eyes
* "It'll Be Fun!" They Say, But We Beg to Differ
* Fun, Introvert Style
* Friend, "Friends," Acquaintances, and Why Bother?
* The Online Extrovert
* The Happy Noise of Extroversion
* Because They Love You
* Itty-Bitty Introverts
* Love Us, but Leave Us Alone (Sometimes)
* I F#&$ing Hate It When They Say That
* A Team of One
* Introvert Feats of Derring-Do
* First, Leave the House and Other Tips for Making Friends
* Mind Fullness to Mindfulness
* Mistakes Introverts Make
* Affirmations for Introverts
* Middle Ground
* C'mon People Now, Smile on Your Brother
Not surprisingly, the rest of the book is just as insightful, witty, and engaging. In addition to exploring, explaining, and validating the introvert's way (which really is way cool once you can fully appreciate it), it helps introverts "calibrate our need for solitude with our need for human interaction." (p. 70) And, to that end, the author offers some great affirmations (pp. 177-179):
*Staying home is doing something.
*My presence is a gift, not a requirement.
*I like who I like.
*Listening to bores is not my job.
*Managing my energy is a favor to myself and everyone around me.
*Saying no can be a kindness.
*I can love other people and still not be responsible for their good time.
*Just because I'm quiet doesn't mean I have nothing to say.
*Putting on my dog and pony show is optional.
*A ringing phone is not a mandate.
*I know what I need better than anyone else.
*Other people's desire for me to participate is not more important than my desire not to participate.
If you're an introvert, you'll likely feel understood, inspired, and deeply entertained by this book. The book's a breeze to read through--the only challenge might be finding a quiet spot in the noisy world where you can soak it all in. (And, of course, there's no need to answer any phones while doing so.)
49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is a wonderful book for the Introvert in your life. If that Introvert is _you_, consider getting two copies: one to read and one to share with friends, co-workers, and family members.
It's a light read, but well written and well organized. My favorite chapter, "Don't Call Us, We'll Call... Well, No, Maybe We Won't" describes many Introvert's love/hate relationship with phone calls. We may love the person on the other end of the line (Hi Mom!) but we hate communicating by telephone. (It may not just be Introverts who feel this way. According to Neilsen, in 2008 people were sending or receiving more texts on mobile "phones" than phone calls.)
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
If you are looking for useful information that you can use in your daily life, then don't get this book. This is another well-meaning author who only wrote about their experiences and turned it into a book. There are no strategies or tools in it to apply to your own life. If you are looking for a book who's gone through a similar experience just so you can not feel alone or say "hey, I feel that way too," , then this book is perfect for you. I am looking for something more useful.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2013
I read this book shortly after reading "Introvert Power" by Dr. Laurie Helgoe and I was very surprised at how identical the content was to Helgoe's book. I was hoping for some new information or insights but there really was only a few affirmations and a short chapter on mistakes that introverts make, and of course, different examples. Dembling refers to Helgoe's book a few times and it seemed to me that she just took that book and rewrote it in a more casual and informal style. It's a small book and the chapters are only 2 or 3 pages long so it's a very easy read. Very casual but still informative. I preferred Helgoe's book because she really did a lot of research and I like a book with notes. If you're only going to read one book on introversion, I recommend Helgoe's book. If you want an easy, casual, non-scholarly book, then this one.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Upon reading the first page, I immediately felt empowered because Sophia Dembling was describing my experiences. I found myself "mmm-hmm"ing and carrying an inner monologue. I'm not even half way through the book but I was compelled to declare (albeit quietly!) my appreciation for this book. Dembling's writing is concise; she does a beautiful job in weaving psychological jargon in ways all might understand. I thought the chapter titles were funny yet they accurately paint the picture of the life of an introvert, e.g., "We Didn't Know You Were an Introvert, We Thought You Were Just a Bitch."; Born to Be Mild; I Like to Watch; I Like People, Just Not All People All the Time; There Must Be Fifty Ways to Leave a Party, etc..
I dread class discussions and work meetings as I feel pressured to blurt out anything, something to convey that I am being attentive and the end result is me appearing inarticulate; my words are jumbled because I didn't think things through, and I berate myself for even opening my mouth. Thanks to the chapter entitled The Slow Train of Thought, I recognize and embrace that I am in internal processor. I carefully formulate my thoughts and I deeply think before I speak and there's nothing wrong with that.
"No wonder we are so easily streamrolled in conversation. Even if we have something to contribute, between the time we have a thought and the time we start forming words, the conversational moment may have passed. This can be frustrating. Nothing wrong with saying, "Going back to the point you made before..." of course, but you don't want to do that all the time, tagging along in the conversation, calling out, "Wait for me!" We don't only act slowly, but we are slow to act on the first thought that pops into mind. My brain takes longer to react because it turns things around to examine every angle first. I look at it this way and that way and then the other way before I decide which thought to express. So we need to allow our brains that room, accept it, and respect it. Let people know when we need to pause for thought. Refuse to let anyone force us into hasty decisions. ("Let me think about that and get back to you")."
My hope is that this book and others similar to it will help to erase the stigma and ignorance of introversion. Introversion is not a pathology. Those who tend toward it have the capacity to socialize but, simply put, AREN'T ALWAYS interested in it as they prefer to focus their energy inwards.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2013
For 20 years, I've never forgotten that the cover of "The Official Preppy Handbook" featured the tag line, "Look, Muffy, a book for us!" I think I remember it well because the book was so not for me. Ever since, I've wondered if any book would come around that I could completely identify with, and I've found it in "The Introvert's Way."
Of course I've had a vague sense over the years that I'm an introvert, but little in this extrovert's world has given me an outlet -- or even permission -- to fully consider what that means, both on a day-to-day basis and in terms of personal identity. Dembling's book not only has allowed me to feel quietly proud (introverts don't do loud) of what I am, but it also has given me a tremendous understanding of why I am this way.
"The Introvert's Way" is deceptively simple. It's a succession of brief and accessible essays addressing various aspects of introversion (several with LOL titles, e.g. "We Didn't Know You Were An Introvert, We Thought You Were Just a Bitch"). Dembling has a light, often playful, touch that makes her an appealing guide through the subject matter. But this is not a lightweight book. The insights are deep, resonant, and research-based, and their cumulative effect leaves you feeling both enlightened and inspired by book's end.
While Dembling celebrates the introvert in wise fashion, she also doesn't let us off the hook. Just because our energy may be depleted by people doesn't give us permission to be reclusive -- a piece of advice that I especially try to take to heart. Among my favorite nuggets is her differentiation between "mindfulness" and what she calls "full-mindedness." Of course mindfulness is, as she writes, "opening up your mind to what is really happening around you." But introverts tend to suffer under the strain of "busy brains" -- a fact of life that she considers both a "benefit and a liability." Yes, it helps us be creative and keeps us from getting bored, but it also often interferes "with our ability to connect with the world around us." Yeah, that has me written all over it. Thankfully, Dembling makes me feel okay about it. Even more so, she makes me feel exceptionally fine about living the quiet life.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
"The Introvert's Way - Living A Quiet Life In A Noisy World" by Sophia Dembling was eye opening and very self revealing. I discovered it in reading an article by the author in the Wall Street Journal. I was 76. I've had a good life. I'm highly educated. I've retired from a good profession. Yet, somehow, I've always felt that I just didn't mark up. I felt like an imposter. Deep down, I was a loner who preferred being by myself a lot of the time. I spent loads of time just sitting around thinking. I always seemed to be inside my own head. I shunned obvious socializing. I tried to hide my true nature and be more outgoing. Well, after reading only the Introduction to this book (What Would Jung Say?) I fully realized that I was a deep-dyed introvert. I guess I've always known, but I didn't think about it much. I always viewed it as a negative characteristic. Also, finally, I realized, with the help of Author Dembling and this book, that it was totally normal and not negative at all.
Ms Dembling defines what she means by the term introvert and introduces the extrovert-introvert spectrum. On that scale I lie deep within the introverts. Then, chapter by chapter, she explains what it means to be an introvert and always from an introvert's point of view. It's revealing and interesting. I can clearly see that author Dembling understands my kind of person. Every chapter fits me almost perfectly. Perhaps one thing I might elaborate on is shyness. It seems to go along with being an introvert, or at least that's the way people think. I've always considered myself as being shy, but am I? I love public speaking, for example. I've given over 400 public talks with audiences up to 300, plus I've taught university classes on a daily basis. I love being in front of an audience or on TV. I once had a 20-minute gig as a stand-up comic with an audience of about 150. I spent two solid weeks preparing for it, and when I finished and stepped down from the podium people were crying from the laughter. I had a high that lasted a week! This is shyness? But I'm still an introvert. Well, Johnnie Carson was an introvert, as Dembling points out.
Then there's the matter of extroversion via booze. That seems to work for a lot of people. Not me. Not at all. I can arrive at a party as an introvert, take a couple drinks and I'm an introvert who has had a couple drinks. I can drink to where it's hard to walk, but I'm still an introvert. At times, I drink a lot but nobody has ever witnessed me publicly drunk. Well, other people certainly aren't that way, as we all know. In graduate school, I knew a very shy extrovert. Yes, that's possible, as Dembling points out. Once in class on the first day, the professor asked the name and previous school of everyone. Each student had to stand up and deliver it. This one guy couldn't do it. He couldn't utter his own name or his undergraduate school! He was that shy! However, he would show up at a party and his shyness would decrease with every drink. Before long he'd be in the center of the room leading the crowd in singing hilarious dirty songs. He was always a big hit and everybody would be talking about it days afterward. At one crowded party, I heard a bunch of muffled thumping and bumping sounds and I looked around and this guy was in the center of the room outfitted with skis and ski poles. He had skied down the stairs from the second floor to that position. Everyone was laughing and having a great time with it. Ah yes, shy extroverts!
In looking back on my early years and using the insight of this book, I'd say that both Mom and Dad were introverts. Mom especially, and anyone could spot it. Dad was more difficult. He was superficially much more outgoing, but I think it was a learned condition and he was taught, possibly in corporate training sessions, that being an introvert was a bad thing. Well, I was a born introvert and it was readily apparent, and becomes much more apparent after reading this fine book. Dad always regarded it as a negative characteristic and thought it would prove to be a hindrance in my later life. He'd often tell me I had to be more outgoing. He'd always point out successful people and indicate out how they had lot's of personality, as he put it, and how people with less personality (a secret message to me) would never be as successful. I developed feelings of inferiority. No matter, it became a driving force. When I went to college, I had a slow start, but by the time I was 26 I had BA, MS and PhD degrees, all from major universities. Then I got a university teaching position at 26, and by 32 I was promoted to Full Professor. At the age of 35 I was elected Department Chairman. Dad knew enough university people to realize that this record was stunningly successful. I think he gradually came to realize that much of what he taught me was nonsense. Well, I should add, that his intentions were in the right place, I have no doubt. I'm sure Dad didn't know what an introvert was. He was interpreting my lack of extrovert qualities as being negative. Dembling explains this common tendency well in her book.
Now, I have a wonderful little four-year-old boy. He's very bright, energetic, personable and good looking. He's the picture of future success, I'd guess. But I can already see that down under everything, he's a introvert. That's okay. I'm very proud of him and I prefer him being an introvert. Personally, I regard it as a gift and I'll never criticize him for it. I'll try to nurture him in the best way possible to thrive in a world of extoverts.
This is an excellent book, especially for introverts. Read it and understand yourself. If you're an extrovert, read the book as a way of understanding introverts.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Once in a rare while, you come across a book that you can give to family, friends, spouses, or lovers and say, "If you really want to understand me, read this." Most of the time, expecting them to actually read the thing is an imposition. They had better have a large investment in you.
Here, the book is such quick and funny reading that the imposition is slight. The payoff, though, is large. They will stop feeling offended when you just want to closet yourself and read; stop calling you antisocial for not wanting to go to a big loud party; appreciate more the ruminative insight that you have to offer. You, on your side, will be reminded that you owe them some compromises in return. For a divided extrovert/introvert couple or family, this is better than just about any therapy you could attend.
This is the latest in the recent gush of introvert-extolling books. Chonologically, it was issued after Susan Cain's "Quiet" (reviewed by me elsewhere), but clearly most of it was written and posted earlier on author Dembling's blog. The Cain book is more elaborate and more scholarly, but there are so many similarities that it seems as if Cain just took this work and expanded it.
Introverts are a quiet bunch, no better and no worse than extroverts, just different. But if you extroverts push us too far in demanding that we be like you we will, referring to a famous rant by the introverted "Twilight" actress, "go all Kristen Stewart on your asses."