During the summer, many of us seek out new learning and ways of understanding each other. My husband, Brandon, passed this book along to me and asked me to read it. He was so eloquent, and so right, that I decided to pass this book review along to you. As he is the writer in the family, I thought I would allow him to express why this is such an important book. I’m loving learning about myself and those I love by reading this book.
How do introverts fit in within a society that caters to the outgoing? Business and American culture, schools, even churches cater to the extroverted. Susan Cain in her book Quiet talks about many of these different aspects. Some aspects that I found intriguing were Cain’s analysis of school learning environments. The push in the United States towards group work/group tables/group discussion is questioned. Are these the most productive learning environments for kids? Do they learn more when they do group work or when they work on an individual basis? The importance of individual study, the effectiveness of individual mastery is stressed.
Cain visits various locations as she investigates the role of introverts. Harvard Business School, a Tony Robbins workshop, Rick Warren’s giant Saddleback church are all investigated by her as bastions of the often extremely extroverted. How, is an introvert to survive in those kind of places or even thrive? Are those places just pushing out the introverts knowing that they will not be power players in business or will obviously find a church that better suits their needs to create a thriving spiritual life?
Corporate culture is analyzed and encouraged by Cain to consider the input of the introvert. Cain questions the trend of the most vocal making all the decisions. When businesses get input from all personalities they thrive. When the most extroverted are the only ones considered businesses can suffer. The corporate world needs to find pathways to encourage introvert advice, ideas and innovation. Cain also questions the effectiveness of the open floor plan favoring the closed office to increase productivity.
Additionally, Cain explores Asian communities within specific California locations as highly successful learning cultures that value introverted learning. Their stress of academic success and their encouragement of scholastic rigor is in opposition to the sports obsessed, extroverted, traditional American student. Kids that grow up in these communities Cain highlights are very successful, and often attend some of the best universities. Universities that might not cater perfectly to their style of learning.
Cain’s book touches on many things that an introvert encounters within their lives within an American culture. What are the things that make them feel uncomfortable? Where are the place that they feel out-of-place? How can an introvert thrive in a society that values the extroverted? How can others better incorporate introverted people into their communities? If you are an introvert, or even if you are not and you want to better understand and value those around you I highly recommend this book.
Brandon Graham has a Bachelors degree in English Literature from Texas A and M, a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Sam Houston State University and a Masters in Fine Arts from Texas Women’s University. He has taught at Liberty Christian School in Argyle for 15 years and was recently awarded the honor of Master Teacher by his peers. He teaches High School fine art, digital art, photography, and AP Art. In his spare time, he is a fine critic of art, music, and what his wife considers ‘high brow’ books.
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