Welcome to your summer book club with Crown Publishing! Here’s an introduction to our first book, Quiet: The masterwork by Susan Cain that’s changing the perception of introverts in the Western world. Check out our full summer reading list here and come back for our interview with Susan Cain in two weeks. Happy reading!
You know how impressive public speakers, charming networkers, and gregarious celebrities seem to get so much more praise and admiration than quiet, bookish types; whimsical dreamers; or reticent scientists? You might think it's just because those loud personalities demand attention in a way that someone who shies away from the spotlight never will. And, to some extent, you'd be right. But if you think that's just the way it is, always has been, and always has to be, you might want to spend some time with Susan Cain.
An attorney and introvert herself, Cain's passion-fueled research sheds a light on what it really means to be an introvert or an extrovert and to educate people on the strengths, weaknesses, and potential symbiosis between these personality types. A large chunk of her first book, Quiet, debunks the notion that "The Extrovert Ideal" is all there is.
Though American culture is dominated by the idea that Cain describes as, "the omnipresent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight," she believes the idea grew out of the rise of industrial America—"a perfect storm of big business, urbanization, and mass immigration."
Ancient Asian cultures, on the other hand, place great, almost mystical value on the silent seeker, the constant wanderer, the lonely philosopher. Quiet, at its core, is an invitation to consider the benefits of the introverted personality type (those who "have a preference for a quiet, more minimally stimulating environment") and to empower the nearly half of Americans who fit into the category of "introversion" to embrace themselves exactly as they are rather than attempting to fit into an extroverted mold.
The book delves into the causes of introversion and extroversion (some heritable, some environmental), the pitfalls of the extroverted ideal (instinctively mirroring/following the most extroverted person in a group, regardless of their qualifications), and the way being an introvert or extrovert affects our careers, personal relationships, and education.
Whether you think you're introverted or extroverted or haven't a clue, Quiet is an incisive exploration of personality, history, and culture that will change the way you think about yourself, your relationships, and the way you structure your life.