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5.0 out of 5 stars The Injustice of Personality Prejudice, October 8, 2011
This review is from: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking (Hardcover)
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First, look at this list from pg 5 in the introduction to this book:

"Without introverts, the world would be devoid of

the theory of gravity
the theory of relativity
W.B. Yeats's 'The Second Coming'
Chopin's nocturnes
Proust's 'In Search of Lost Time'
Peter Pan
Orwell's '1984' and 'Animal Farm'
The Cat in the Hat
Charlie Brown
'Schindler's List,' 'E.T.,' and 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'
Google
Harry Potter"

Of course, that is only a tiny list of the accomplishments of introverts, and she forgot to put the Theory of Evolution in that list. Let's face it. One cannot expect people handicapped with extroversion to be able to think deeply or meditate over the serious philosophical, scientific, or supremely artistic subjects which move the deeper among us.

Okay, maybe extroversion is not a handicap, but it is important to realize that introversion is no more a handicap than extroversion. So, the extroverts deserve a retaliatory jab once in a while for treating introverts as though we are mentally and socially challenged.

This book by Susan Cain is the ultimate jab, though she is sometimes overnice toward the ones that have promoted "The Extrovert Ideal" for more than a century in the U.S. I do not believe I have read any better work dealing with the issue of personality than "Quiet."

There are some scientific points to be made in the book, with mention of studies that show how introversion or extroversion are biologically, genetically ingrained in us, though some of the studies (particularly the one mentioning literal "thin skin") strike me as somewhat irrelevant if not pseudoscientific. Some of the best information has to do with twin studies, particularly notable for showing the error of "blank slate" theory. See also The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker. I am a little puzzled there was no mention of Pinker in this book, even in the footnotes.

I am tempted to go through all of the subjects covered in this book and give a summary, but better than that is the list of thoughts from Susan Cain's blog, which will give an idea of the thrust of the book:

1. There's a word for "people who are in their heads too much": thinkers.

2. Our culture rightly admires risk-takers, but we need our "heed-takers" more than ever.

3. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation.

4. Texting is popular because in an overly extroverted society, everyone craves asynchronyous, non-F2F communication.

5. We teach kids in group classrooms not because this is the best way to learn but because it's cost-efficient, and what else would we do with the children while all the grown-ups are at work? If your child prefers to work autonomously and socialize one-on-one, there's nothing wrong with her; she just happens not to fit the model.

6. The next generation of quiet kids can and should be raised to know their own strength.

7. Sometimes it helps to be a pretend-extrovert. There's always time to be quiet later.

8. But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is the key to finding work you love and work that matters.

9. Everyone shines, given the right lighting. For some, it's a Broadway spotlight, for others, a lamplit desk.

10. Rule of thumb for networking events: one genuine new relationship is worth a fistful of business cards.

11. It's OK to cross the street to avoid making small talk.

12. "Quiet leadership" is not an oxymoron.

13. The universal longing for heaven is not about immortality so much as the wish for a world in which everyone is always kind.

14. If the task of the first half of life is to put yourself out there, the task of the second half is to make sense of where you've been.

15. Love is essential, gregariousness is optional.

16."In a gentle way, you can shake the world." - Gandhi

The last thing I would like to convey is that I am happy I read this book, because being an introvert all of one's life can be difficult in modern U.S. culture. Being treated as a freak because of the personality characteristics introversion entails is unfortunate. Extroverts have it good right now, and frequently get the best rewards, even when an introvert is the one that deserves those rewards, value being placed on personality rather than merit, but it helps introverts to know we have superior characteristics, and should not regret them.
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Tracked by 14 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 103 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 1, 2012 12:03:12 PM PST
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Jan 2, 2012 12:29:43 AM PST
Sophia says:
This was great review until the last sentence:

"it helps introverts to know we have the superior characteristics, and should not regret them"

I don't think we're superior, but neither the inferior that modern US culture is trying to make us think..

Posted on Jan 5, 2012 5:05:40 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 24, 2012 3:15:59 AM PST
Hmmm. Tullia? If you haven't got anything useful to contribute to this conversation then don't contribute at all. No one's congratulating anyone but if you had stopped and paid attention to what was being said (like an introvert) you would know that these individuals and the author are merely basking in the discovery that not only are introverts completely stable people but also make monumental contributions (you could take a leaf out of that comment) to society and the world that have vastly improved life as we know it. Beyond that there's a bit of malice in the last contemptuous, sarcastic statement you made. To answer your impudent question, (although you don't deserve one) no it isn't "just a series of introverts congratulating themselves on their status as recluses". Mainly because as I said before no one congratulated anyone and none of these people are recluses. If you had an IQ slightly higher than that of a moronic degenerate you would know the difference between the word recluse and the word introvert. You would also, not have to spend your life trolling Amazon with negative, insulting and uselessly redundant reviews. More often than not it is the extrovert that is the recluse due to the fact that he over socialises and exhausts himself and then becomes moody and resentful until his mood picks up again. It is one of the stereotypical weaknesses of being extroverted. Myself and any other fellow extrovert who doesn't think to much of themselves would readily agree to this fact. However just as Sophia so deftly put it neither one is more inferior or superior than the other. Both have their strong and weak points. This book does not hold the introvert up and put him on a pedestal. It merely points out what introverts should be taking credit for. Nothing more, nothing less.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2012 7:19:27 AM PST
I think your self-confessed status as an extrovert adds to the discussion.

I posted my critical note expressly to draw in people like you and liven things up. Love fests in comment chains--and elsewhere--add little while debate can sharpen ideas and lead to insight. And yes, it is easy to charicature controversy as malice.

However, I like your idea about the extrovert's "addiction" to socializing which can lead to a cycle of emotional highs and lows where the individual feels first driven to get his/her social "fix," and later withdraws. I am neither an extreme intovert nor extrovert but have observed this pattern.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2012 10:50:22 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 6, 2012 10:57:15 PM PST
Your second comment dictates to me that you may not be the "moronic degenerate" I assumed you to be. Moreover I would go so far as to state that you may indeed have some very worthwhile points and opinions to add to this discussion. Nevertheless you might want to be a tad more careful in future as some people may find it easy to exaggerate or distort the definition of controversy and confuse it with malice. I however, never make that mistake. Hence my first comment. I commend you for your insight into the merit of debate and one of it's many uses/strong points. Although you would do well to remember the difference between a debate and an argument. An argument requires one or two parties to pitch ideas against one another utilising and incorporating the use of insults and insulting insinuations. A debate on the other hand is two parties pitching ideas with neither one of them employing the use of insults or sarcasm and merely discussing the topic at hand for discussions' sake without feeling the need to belittle one another. All that aside, I will admit there has been a fair bit of back patting going on in relation to this book. However such perspective is completely warranted due to the fact (which this book points out) that the USA and indeed western society caters to the extrovert and almost entirely neglects the introvert. The introvert throughout history has had to suffer certain inferior traits from the extrovert for anywhere between a hundred to 1000 years ago. Depending on how you look at the changes in social psychology over that time period. Such inferior traits as a generalisation include speaking without thinking, simplifying extremely complex matters/situations/problems and personality based discrimination/bullying. It's high time a book like this was written to remind us we would still be in the stone age without the introvert. It was obviously an introvert neanderthal that created the wheel. To be fair we wouldn't really socialise (or at least we wouldn't be very good at it) without the extrovert. But one last point to make. Unite an introvert with an extrovert (or multiple introverts with multiple extroverts) and together they are unstoppable. In business, in politics, in war and in relationships. So in closing we should remember that someone once said (probably an introvert who was sick of some extrovert taking the lime light) "always give credit where credit is due".

Posted on Jan 10, 2012 1:09:42 PM PST
What a lovely review! Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2012 2:33:08 PM PST
M. Soule says:
The sentence says we have superior characteristics, not THE superior.... It changes the whole meaning.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2012 4:31:57 PM PST
It does, nevertheless it's quite understandable that the comment in question could be misconstrued and regarded as an insult if you're not an introvert. Anyway. No one's baggin anyone out anymore so we can all just let shite go and bygones be bygones.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 20, 2012 3:52:57 PM PST
Sophia says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Jan 20, 2012 4:33:32 PM PST
Reginleif II says:
"I am a little puzzled there was no mention of Pinker in this book, even in the footnotes."

Because evolutionary psychology is a joke, and I'm glad to hear this book doesn't get into it.
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