BOOK REVIEW: Quiet by Susan Cain

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop TalkingQuiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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I think it can be argued that this will be one of the most influential nonfiction books of this decade (it came out in 2012.) I say that not only as an introvert, but as one who has seen how confused and muddled introversion has been – not only among extroverts of the general public, but also among those who should have a firm grasp on the subject, namely psychologists and introverts, themselves.

Introversion is frequently confused with a number of different conditions and temperaments with which it may or may not occur in large overlap. The most common mix up is with social anxiety, which can occur in conjunction with introversion but can also occur in extroverts. While social anxiety may be more common among introverts, it’s important to note that – like any anxiety – it’s possible to reduce it through various approaches (but one will still be introverted if one was to begin with.) I believe Cain’s book (and the wave of books and talks that have come since) has done a great deal to reduce the confusion about what characteristics are in fact highly correlated with introversion and which ones are just lumped together in the public consciousness because they seem to involve being less adroit in social situations (i.e. everything from shyness to Asperger’s.)

There is a growing change in approaches to introversion, and I think it owes a lot to this book. The go-to advice for introverts of: “just behave more like an extrovert” is on the decline, and is increasingly being replaced with a clearer understanding of how introverts should manage their time and efforts to get the most out of life. [It should be noted that, if one is talking about pretending to be more extroverted for a short time frame and for a particular purpose, said advice is not so bad.] However, as advice for how to arrange and conduct one’s life day in and day out, it’s a recipe for disaster. And it’s not just a disaster for the introverts. If one is responsible for leading or managing a business, it’s a recipe for under-performing a firm’s potential. If you’re a teacher, it’s a recipe for turning smart kids off of school. And, if you’re a parent, it’s a recipe for handicapping your child. More and more, business leaders are beginning to realize that there are gains to be had from allowing employees to tailor their work schedule and mode of conducting business to their temperament. Educators are finding that a more balanced approach to lessons reaches more students with greater effectiveness.

The book is organized into eleven chapters. It begins with an introduction that not only sets up the topic but also tells the story of Rosa Parks – one of modern American history’s most well-known introverts. [The story of this civil rights leader is no doubt told in part to try to break the stereotype of the introvert as a milquetoast person lacking lead in his or her pencil.] Cain employs stories about renowned introverts from Albert Einstein to Mohandas Gandhi to Steve Wozniak to Brian Little. The latter might not be so renowned outside of academia, but he’s included because few who attend the lectures of this award-winning professor would suspect he’s an introvert.

Chapter one discusses this world made for extroverts that introverts find themselves living in. The second chapter rebuts the myth that leadership and extroversion are inextricably linked, discussing examples of introverts who excelled in leadership (of course, there are no shortage of examples of extremely charismatic and gregarious individuals who’ve once and truly run enterprises into the ground.) Chapter three discusses the breakthroughs that have often come about through solitude and a work environment that allowed individuals to focus on tasks for long periods at a time without interruption or distraction (instead of the standard work approach that involves a constant refrain of “collaboration” and which breaks up work days willy-nilly with meetings of dubious usefulness.)

Chapters four and five focus on two lenses through which researchers have investigated introversion. Together, the chapters ask whether temperament is destiny, and, if not, to what degree and how one can move beyond it. The first lens is “sensitivity.” In this case, the word sensitivity is not being used as it’s most commonly used these days – meaning becoming highly emotional about trivial events. Rather it’s about how aware one is of subtle stimulation, and – given there are limits to processing stimuli – how prone one is to becoming overstimulated (since one takes in more.) The second lens, which one might relate to the first, is “high- versus low-reactivity.” That is, chapter five focuses on a study that observed how responsive children were to stimulation and what influence that had on the children’s temperament. [Note: it should be pointed out that these factors aren’t considered synonymous with introversion, and there are some who bemoan the fact that they have become so with the popularity of Cain’s book.]

Chapter six explores a famous mixed couple (extrovert and introvert,) Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. While Eleanor was highly introverted, she is often considered one of the most influential first ladies of the twentieth century. (Which isn’t to comment on the controversial claim that toward the end of Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency, she was running the show because he was ill and lacked the energy to comply with the intense energy demands of the Oval Office.) The contrasting nature of this power couple yields interesting insights.

Chapter seven shows how an introvert’s more cautious approach to risk and reward often leads them to come out on top in turbulent times, while more reward chasing extroverts may get stuck in a cycle of buying high and panic selling low. The 2008 economic downturn was clearly fresh in mind when Cain was preparing this book, and there was lots of material about those who best weathered the storm and why. Warren Buffett, a noted introvert famous for his cautious but profit-making investment strategy, is used as an example.

Chapter eight shows how the extrovert’s world is not universal while discussing Asian approaches to education. This chapter shows the inversion between Eastern and Western approaches. Famously, there is Laozi’s saying: “He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know.” This is in stark contrast to modern American institutions, which often overestimate the intelligence of those who yammer and underestimate the intelligence of those who hold their tongues.

Chapter nine explores the question of when and how introverts should behave in a more extroverted way. This is the chapter that discusses Brian Little – the Professor who is a veritable scholarly rock star but who knows how to manage his introversion. His story provides a nice example of how introverts can get the job done without necessarily appearing awkward, overwhelmed, or run down — if they learn how to manage their time and interactions. Chapter ten discusses the differences in approach to communication and how it can be managed.

The last chapter may be the most important. It’s about recognizing introversion in children and helping them get the most out of a world in which the decks remain stacked against them. The chapter is titled “On Cobblers and Generals,” which refers to a story that begins the chapter. In the story, a man who enters heaven asks St. Peter if he can speak with the world’s greatest General. St. Peter points out a man who the recently departed man happens to recognize as a man who mended shoes for a living. When the man points out that there must be some mistake, he’s told that the cobbler would have been the greatest military mind in history if only his talent had been recognized and nurtured.

As is no doubt clear, I found this book to be tremendously well-written and beneficial. I would recommend it for anyone who is a leader, a parent, a teacher, or a person – be they introvert or extrovert – who would benefit from knowing how a misunderstood segment of society clicks.

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An Introvert’s Poem

Please don’t take this the wrong way,
but I wish you existed fewer hours per day.
 
It’s not that I don’t like your company.
 
It’s just that I wish your dosage were smaller.
It’s not like I wish you thinner, prettier, or taller,
 
I just wish there were less of you — temporally speaking.

5 Travel Tips for the Introvert in India

Most of these tips apply to an introvert’s travels anywhere in the world — at least the densely populated parts of the world. That said, India — particularly urban India — presents a daunting degree of challenge.

This is because Indians, to generalize a bit, love sensory stimulation, and are used to a vibrant environment full of colors, sounds, and scents. There’s an old story about an Indian man clinging to a cliff. At the cliff’s edge and within reach of the rock to which the man clings, there are two things. One is a sturdy loop of gnarly tree root, and the other is a fragrant flower. As the story goes, the man snatches away the flower and blissfully plummets to his demise while enjoying the flower’s scent the entire way down.  It’s probably not a true story, but hopefully it illustrates that it’s not just my opinion that Indian tolerance for sensory stimulation is above average, and that means it can be an especially draining place for introverts.

 

5.) Pace yourself / build quiet time into the itinerary: Spending a full day among the bustling masses of an Indian city can be exhausting for an introvert.

For the longest time, I was under the impression that I had a disproportionately high likelihood of going hypoglycemic (i.e. using up my glucose and getting cranky.) And maybe there’s some truth to it, but I know I’m a lot easier to get along with on a nature trek having skipped lunch than I am if I skip lunch touring a city. While I need to recharge my calories periodically, I think I need to sit down in a relatively quiet place even more.

One may want to keep an eye open for restaurants and cafes that look like good refuges as one tours, because it’s not always easy to find suitable places on the internet. One may find that the cafe one planned to rest up at, the one with fantastic ratings, also has no seating and / or is a beehive of mad activity.

 

4.) Be aware of the locations that will bring an over-abundance of random visitors: One will find, at certain times and places, that random people will come up to: a.) take a picture with you; b.) have their child’s picture taken with you; or, c.) to practice their English (or relevant language.) It’s fantastic the first few times in a day.

This phenomena is by no means unique to India. China is legendary for having parents who want their child’s picture taken with a foreigner — and the more foreign you look (e.g. if you are a six-foot tall blonde woman) the more of these visits one is likely to experience.

As I said, even as a hardcore introvert, I enjoy these interactions in regulated doses. That’s part of what one seeks from travel, interacting with locals who aren’t in the tourism trade. For example, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, I found these chats ( a few times a day, max) endearing and insightful.

It’s a matter of scale. The shear density of people in India can result in the situation getting out of hand. I’ve actually had lines form as though I was some sort of visiting dignitary. As in most countries, the average person isn’t super comfortable approaching strangers. However, once people see that some bold individual succeeded, they become emboldened. Eventually, all these interactions can become too much to maintain an energy level conducive to sightseeing.

Unlike sensory bombardment, this is one issue that is actually lessened in the heart of a big city. In Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bangalore, one doesn’t experience this as much. (Delhi, too. Though in Delhi one will frequently be approached, but by professional con artists. Sorry, Delhi is my least favorite part of India by a large margin.) These big cities see foreigners constantly. One will still be approached on occasion: a.) if one is in a neighborhood distant from the heart of the city where the people don’t see many foreigners, or b.) during festivals / holidays when many people come in from the villages. Villagers hit some of the same tourist spots as do foreigners.

I’ve found that the largest numbers of strangers approach in smaller cities like Aurangabad, where they don’t have a ton of expats and foreign companies compared to Bangalore or Mumbai, nor do many of the small to medium-sized cities attract massive numbers of foreign tourists in the way that a few small cities like Rishikesh and McLeod Ganj do.

Ultimately, one just has to have a polite exit strategy, which may feel a bit rude. Which brings me to…

 

3.) Avoiding being overwhelmed by touts: Unlike the pleasant, but potentially draining, interaction with locals, touts are just annoying. Like other places I’ve visited that have high rates of poverty and thus high rates of desperation, including parts of Latin America and China, the touts in India can be downright clingy, and will follow one for miles buzzing in one’s ear if one doesn’t handle the situation properly.

Introverts are often self-conscious of the fact that they can seem rude when they are turned inward in the presence of others. So, one may be tempted to keep saying “No thanks” to the tout who has followed you for two blocks. However, as long as one continues to acknowledge a tout, one gives hope — no matter how explicitly your words may be saying no. This thread of hope is what leads to the relentless behavior. After I discovered this, I began to say “no thank you” only once, and then to ignore the tout like he didn’t exist. It saved us both wasted effort and traveling got much easier. Two or three steps of completely ignoring a tout will achieve more than two miles of trying to explain why you neither want or need what he’s selling.

 

2.) Be careful where your vision goes if you zone out into your own head: The subject of eye contact comes up in almost every post I do on introversion. Probably because I’ve just recently become aware of the degree to which I under employ eye contact, and also because India has an unusual norm for eye contact. In most countries, there’s something like a one-second rule. One makes eye contact with strangers for around a second before averting one’s eyes. One may look back, but one doesn’t sustain eye contact endlessly. I don’t want  to make one think that most Indians will stare at you ceaselessly, but a few will — particularly those who don’t see or interact with foreigners often.

My point with this item is that when one zones out and stares off into the distance, one can create a number of problems for oneself, including: a.) convincing touts you are interested in a product that you aren’t, because it looks like you are staring right at it; b.) females may gain undesired attention from males, c.) males may gain unwanted attention from boyfriends or husbands.

 

1.) Beware of the importance of eye contact, but don’t try to keep pace with those who lock eyes.  Like traveling anywhere else, it’s important to make brief eye contact for both sociability and security. However, if you try to keep up with those who can stare the paint off a pump-handle, your energy is going to drain quickly.

 

I should conclude by saying that traveling is nothing one should be anxious about as an introvert, and, furthermore, introversion can have its advantages. (Not the least of which is the fact that if one has acclimatized to feeling oneself the odd man out, one is well placed to plop down in different culture.)

5 Things to Which My Introverted Self Has Been Oblivious

5.) In the absence of information, people write their own stories, and everyone gives himself the leading role in his own story.

Therefore, sitting in the corner, minding one’s own business, deep in introspection, may balloon into: “He’s giving me the silent treatment. I bet he hates me and wishes I would die.”

 

4.) Quietness may be interpreted as arrogance.

I was told this by a teacher in Middle School, but — at that stage in my life — that seemed an impossibility. In those days, I was self-conscious about being introverted — and I was shy, to boot. (That’s not redundant. If you think it is, I’d recommend Susan Cain’s Quiet)  Because I felt that I so blatantly lacked confidence, it seemed hard to imagine that someone would misinterpret my quietness as being over-confident and / or narcissistic. How could it not be obvious that I lacked the confidence to be arrogant, but people see a lot less than one (or they) might think they do.

 

3.) Miss eye contact, miss a lot.

It’s not just that one misses non-verbal communication, it’s that it might be assumed that you caught a signal when you didn’t.

 

2.) When you are in deep introspection, you may have total inattentional blindness, but others may not recognize that. 

You may be familiar with inattentional blindness from the gorilla – basketball pass video. It’s the fact that we can’t mentally multitask, no matter how much we might think we can. If our attention is given over to one task we may miss even the blatantly obvious. Most people don’t think this is the case, and it doesn’t feel that way. That’s because we are usually quite good as bouncing our attention between different events and stimuli. (Though never without a degradation of performance.) However, if you’re entranced in introspection, you may look like you’re giving the evil eye to the angry hoodlum at the bar, or that you’re seeing the projectile flying at your face, but maybe not.

 

1.) If one doesn’t outwardly express emotions, some people may not realize that you have them. 

It seems self-evident that everybody experiences fear, anger, or sadness on occasion. Some more frequently. Some less. Some wear emotions on their sleeves, some hold their cards close to the chest, and every point in between. Part of the problem is that our intuitive understanding of what it looks like to be without emotion is flawed. As is discussed in Antonio Damasio’s book Decartes’ Error, a true lack of emotion (as seen in those with damage to parts of the brain involved in emoting) may look like the inability to make a decision (i.e. paralysis by analysis,) rather than our traditional notion of Star Trek’s Spock — a perfectly rational decision maker who can’t be insulted and doesn’t get sarcasm.

5 Psychological Concepts Psychologists Disagree About [or Just Plain Get Wrong]

Every academic discipline has a concept or two that its scholars disagree upon. In the social sciences, these can even be the fundamentals of the subject, and, sadly, they aren’t always so much disagreements of definition as concepts the experts don’t grasp. In Economics [the discipline I was educated in], there is a famous war over whether economists understand “opportunity cost” — a concept that is raised not only in undergraduate texts but even in high school classes.

That said, Psychology appears to take the cake for being the most internally confused academic discipline. Ever. I first became aware of this problem with respect to a subject I have great personal experience with (by virtue of  being firmly lodged in said category), and that’s introversion.

Recently, this psycho-confusion has come up again as I’ve been reading two books that have major discussions around psychological definitions. One is Dean Haycock’s Murderous Minds, which devotes a whole chapter to the fight over how psychopathy is defined and differentiated from other conditions (in part, because another term — Sociopath — exists to spur confusion, but even without that term [which some psychologists think of as a synonym and others think of existing in another ballpark] there would be a huge gulf in expert opinion.)

The second book is Julia Shaw’s The Memory Illusion, which is a fascinating and generally thought-provoking book. In it, Shaw claims that hypnotism doesn’t exist.  I found this difficult to believe (both because I’ve been in a hypnotic trance state and because there is a well-established literature on the subject [i.e. it’s not like parapsychology concepts, e.g. clairvoyance, which are highly controversial]) until I realized that Shaw’s definition of hypnosis was filled with all the misconceptions that one would expect of an individual entirely unfamiliar with a hypnotic trance — except maybe having seen a stage hypnotist once or twice.

5.) Introversion: Introverts are often confused with those who have social anxiety disorder(severe shyness) — which an introvert may or may not have, but which an extrovert also may or may not have. (While it’s probably true that introverts experience social anxiety disorder at a higher rate than extroverts, there is a big problem with equating the two — not the least of which is that one can beat one’s social anxiety and still be an introvert.) It should be pointed out that Susan Cain’s excellent book Quiet (among others) has done a lot to bring a consensus view to the subject, but one still hears people — even experts — equating shyness and introversion.

 

4.) Psychopathy: Like many confused topics (including introversion and hypnosis), part of the problem is that everybody has a mental construct of what psychopathy is before they learn anything formally about it, and sometimes those preconceptions survive the presentation of formal knowledge — even, apparently, for the experts.  Maybe a person has read American Psycho or maybe they’ve seen Dexter or the movie Psycho, and so they know very well that a psychopath is a murderous maniac, and, therefore, they may not swallow the information that most psychopaths function just fine in society and aren’t even considered inherently mentally ill.

 

3.) Schizophrenia (v Split Personality): This is probably one of the most discussed of the confusions in the field. To be fair, this may be largely ironed out these days, but it certainly took long enough. Multiple Personality Disorder (commonly called Split Personality but today called Dissociated Identity Disorder [DID]) is usually a trauma-based disorder that results in schisming of personhood. Whereas, Schizophrenia is a genetically transmitted disorder that involves a disconnect with reality, but not necessarily a separation of personalities.

 

“Hypnotisk” by Richard Bergh (1887)

2.) Hypnosis: I mentioned Julia Shaw’s statement that hypnosis doesn’t exist. In her book, she mentions several preconceptions about hypnosis that are quite different from my limited (but existent) experience with hypnosis. To be fair, many hypnotists would tell you that the term hypnosis (coined by Scottish surgeon James Braid) is a confusing choice because “hypno” suggests the state is like sleep — which, not so much. First, Shaw calls the hypnotic trance state a non-attentive state. (This comes up because she is making the point that attention is critical to memory formation, which is probably entirely true and I don’t have any dog in the fight of whether hypnosis can help memory.) What I am arguing is that hypnosis is not a non-attentive state. It’s a highly relaxed state, but might be more accurately called a hyper-attentive state. Maybe the confusion is because stage hypnotists frequently successfully suggest participants temporarily forget things in deep trance, but keeping one’s attention focused  (on what may vary, though it’s usually voice) is critical to the hypnotic trance state. Second, she suggests that hypnosis is an act that must hinge on the activities of the hypnotist — i.e. the hypnotist as sine qua non.  I think many, if not all, hypnotists would admit (often begrudgingly) that the hypnotist is the most dispensable element of the process — or, as it’s more commonly phrased, “all hypnosis is self-hypnosis.” Third, she seems to have problem with hypnosis being considered an altered state of consciousness. To my mind, everything but ordinary waking consciousness is an altered state of consciousness. I don’t know of any way in which a hypnotic trance state could be confused with ordinary waking consciousness. (If you’re sure of it, go to a dentist who uses hypnotism for pain reduction and have them yank your tooth in a state of ordinary waking consciousness, and then compare your experience to the individuals who had it done under hypnosis. See here for a related BBC special on the Science of Hypnosis.)

 

1.) Delirium  (v. Dementia):  To be fair, by the time an individual is in a full-blown state of either, these conditions are nearly impossible to distinguish and have overlap. However, delirium has quick onset, involves severely impaired attention, and can fluctuate greatly from one day to the next. On the other hand, dementia often progresses slowly, begins with mild impairment of attention and focus, and is a far more consistent state.

5 Tips for Introverts

5.) Eye contact: Train yourself to be aware of eye contact. Eye contact doesn’t come naturally for an introvert. It’s common to not only avert one’s gaze, but to zone out in the process because one’s mind is trying to anticipate the direction of the conversation and formulate a replies. There’s not enough consciousness left for monitoring the visual stream. This has a number of side-effects such as:

-missing non-verbal cues

-appearing uninterested

-staring in the wrong direction (crotches, cleavage, Hells Angels, etc.)

Just don’t let the pendulum swing too far such that one stares like a homicidal maniac.

 

4.) Scheduling: Bracket social and /or noisy events with quiet time. It’s not just social activity that can be draining for the introvert, being in environments with high levels of sensory stimulation will run down one’s energy even if one isn’t interacting socially. Living in India, I find that sometimes just walking down the street and minding my own business wears fairly rapidly. In moderated doses, these sensory-intensive situations are enjoyable and beneficial, but the secret is to avoid redlining. Extended periods of high stimulation may result in you being grumpy and / or dull.

 

3.) Readings: Come on, you’re an introvert, you know you love reading. There are a number of books that have come out in recent years to help introverts both better understand introversion and to learn to arrange their lives in a manner optimized to it. I’ll mention two of the more well-known ones.

The first is The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney. I mention this one first because it was the first book I read on the subject, and it transformed my thinking about what it meant to be introverted. Though I’m an introvert, I didn’t really understand introvertism until I read Laney’s work.

introvertadvantage_laney

 

The more well-known and critically acclaimed book, however, is Quiet by Susan Cain.

quiet_cain

 

2.) Introversion ≠ Shyness: Know the difference between introversion and shyness (social anxiety.) Introversion has long been considered synonymous with shyness. Even many psychologists and mental health professionals seem to believe they are one in the same–or at least they did until the recent spate of books, TED Talks, etc. It’s true that many people are both shy and introverted, but it’s more complicated than that. One can be extroverted and shy. Talk about a raw deal. The shy introvert faces forces pulling them in one direction. The shy extrovert is being pulled in two different directions at once.

 

1.) Embrace it:  Accept your introverted nature. Given an extrovert bias, there’s a proclivity for introverts to wish they were extroverted or to even try to force themselves to be so. This is a recipe for disaster. I discussed the difference between introversion and shyness above, shyness is something that one can work on reducing through visualization, mindfulness, and–most importantly–practice interacting, but introversion is hardwired.

BOOK REVIEW: The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney

The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert WorldThe Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World by Marti Olsen Laney

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amazon page

A number of books have come out about introversion in recent years. Most of these books seek to dispel common myths about being introverted, such as:

a.) Introverts can and should change teams to the extroverted
“light side” as soon as possible.

b.) There’s something psychologically wrong (re: neurotic or even psychotic) with being introverted.

c.) “Introverted” is synonymous with:

1.) Shy (i.e. having social anxiety disorder)
2.) Schizoid
3.) Anti-social
4.) Self-centered (in the pejorative sense–a more neutral meaning could be said to be true by definition.)

This isn’t to say that one can’t be both introverted and any of the above, but one can also be extroverted and any of the above (including, believe it or not, shy—i.e. it’s possible to be an extrovert with social anxiety disorder.)

Where Dr. Olsen Laney’s book tries to carve a niche is in teaching introverts how they can conduct their lives in an extrovert-centric world so as to maximize their effectiveness and minimize their exhaustion. One will note that her advice doesn’t advocate attempting to become extroverted. In fact, one of the most interesting and informative sections of the book is chapter 3, which explains the differences in brain chemistry that result in introversion or extroversion. While some of the conditions mistaken for introversion–such as shyness–can be overcome or trained away, introversion is hardwired into the brain.

The book’s ten chapters are organized into three parts. The first part explains just what defines an introvert, what traits commonly mistaken for introversion aren’t introversion, and the physiological roots of introversion. The second part consists of four chapters that delve into problems faced by introverts in four critical domains: relationships, parenting, socializing, and work. The final three chapters present the prescription for modifying one’s behavior to keep one’s energy up in the face of the demands of modern life. It’s really all about energy—how we use it and replenish it differently. The external world—most notably interaction with other people but also anything of a chaotic environment—drains the energy of introverts faster than that of extroverts.

As one reads through the book, there are many tips for mitigating the negative effects of common introvert characteristics seen as problematic in an extrovert’s world. It should be noted that some of these are genuine problems (i.e. how one metabolizes food) and others are a matter of perspective (i.e. lack of conviction v. open-mindedness.) These “problems” include: difficulty making quick decisions, difficulty with word retrieval, lack of investment in one’s own ideas (“wishy-washy” in extrovert lexicon, but arguably open-minded), tendency toward over-stimulation, lack of inclination to engage in [prolonged] eye contact, proclivity to metabolize food quickly with resultant blood sugar drops, proclivity towards sedentariness, and a tendency to fail to delegate work and reward job completion—if one happens to be the boss.

I found this book to be enlightening. There were many ideas I found myself agreeing with (e.g. using hobbies and activities as a means of controlled interaction.) There were only a few pieces of advice that I thought poor (i.e. picking a weekend day to lay in bed or on the couch all day—reading or otherwise.) While it may seem logical that movement would drain energy in contradiction of the goal of restoring energy, I find being sedentary beyond a certain number of hours to be a huge energy drainer and that periodic movement is necessary and restorative to keep my energy level robust. (And I’m about as introverted as one gets by the criteria established in the book, most of which apply to me.) Of course, there are variations among introverts–just as among extroverts—not only with respect to the degree of introversion but also with respect to specific characteristics experienced. (e.g. Some introverts may not find that all of the criteria in the preceding paragraph apply to them.)

I’d recommend this book not only for introverts, but for those who interact with introverts in key ways (e.g. familial relations, significant others, bosses, employees, etc.) Non-introverts may find some sections are more helpful and necessary than others, and may not find they need to read from cover to cover.

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