Quiet by Susan Cain

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. 

The title alone intrigued me, since I do know this about myself: I am an introvert. For over a year it sat on my book wish list, until last week I finally decided it was time to hear what Susan Cain had to say.

Wow. This book was so much more than I thought it would be. She begins with a history, our shift from a Culture of Character to a Culture of Personality. Fascinating stuff for the history lover, let me tell you! But as she delves into introverts and extroverts, who they are and how they deal with life, I felt as if I were reading pages from my own experiences. Interestingly enough, this was a great book, too, because it was very much a business book beside being “self-helpish.” Susan discusses the various ways introverts work in business and school settings–where we spend most of our lives. It helped me see how I can utilize my strengths in my “business” as an author.

And yet the power of this book for me was not that it validated anything about my innate personality, but that all of her scientific evidence for why and how introverts react as they do solidified my belief that God made us this way. He wired us as introverts or extroverts and to dismiss each other is to dismiss one (or more) of the multiple facets of our great God. (Now this book is in no way written from a Christian world view, but since that is the lens through which I filter everything, this was part of my take-away.)

What was even more interesting to me was to think how God has molded and shaped my introvert personality as I’m grown in Him. He hasn’t made me an extrovert. I don’t believe He ever will. Maturity in Christ doesn’t override how He’s wired us internally. However, it is the power of God that shores up those weaknesses that warped how He made me when sin entered the world. As I read, I recognized how God has helped me cope with fears that often debilitate introverts, not because of correct self-talk, but because I pray in those instances now. Because He sends the power of the Holy Spirit to stand in the gap of my weaknesses.

But for the most part this book isn’t about the weaknesses of introverts. It’s about their strengths. And there, too, I recognized how God continues to build those areas of my life. Because I value quiet and deep thinking, I love the time I spend in the Word and in prayer. And God has used those times in unique ways for His kingdom–even in ways I’m sure I won’t know this side of heaven. He continues to use my penchant for fewer, deeper relationships to spark conversations and relationships of eternal value, both for me and (I hope!) for the other person.

I came away from reading Quiet with a deeper appreciation for God’s hand in my life–how He crafted me, how He’s growing me. I need to embrace both instead of apologize that I’m not the life of the party or the girl who knows everyone. I’m me. God knows that and is pleased.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is an introvert or who has an introvert in their lives.

4 comments on “Quiet by Susan Cain

  1. Thanks, Anne, this is going on my to-read list. I am very much an introvert and have benefited a great deal from learning about it. It is often not considered a ‘strength’ in this world. I also have a very introverted son who is also extremely shy (not the same thing!). We talk about it a lot, and now he can recognize other introverts so he doesn’t feel so different.

    • You would really like this book, Stephanie. She talks about the difference between being introverted and being shy (and how sometimes but not always they are in the same person.) There is also a very good section at the end about parenting shy and introverted children. I had this book on my to read list for a year, but I’m so glad I finally moved it to the top!

  2. How timely is this? Amen, amen, amen!!!

    Just as we need to be content with our spiritual gifts and talents we also need to thank Him for the way they are packages and delivered.

    • I really, really like the way you said that, Mary! I had finally come to terms with that in my own life so I loved how this book reaffirmed what God has been doing in me for many years now.

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