Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

I might be the only introvert who thought this was a good book but didn't necessarily love it. She definitely hits on points that I wish our culture would grab on to and I even wish that some of my family members would grab onto. Not that they have to be different than who they are but for those that are more quiet, it's OKAY. My Lewis side is known as the 'Loud Lewises' where in a small room with tons of Lewises you basically have to shout to the person next to you for them to hear.

And they talk fast. Extended family reunions sometime exhaust me because you always feel you need to be in a conversation and you need to speak fast to be heard. I feel  some praise the idea that talking fast means you're smart and have charisma.

That is complete opposite of my husband. He methodically thinks about what he wants to say and he's quiet and talks slower. He's an observer and doesn't feel the need to contribute to a large conversation. Unfortunately some of my family members ask him a question and, because it takes longer than what they're used to give them an answer, they tend to lose interest and look at their phones. It irks me to no end but Austin doesn't care. But it's another reason why he loves playing with the nieces and nephews. He gets to build things, hang out with kids, and they don't ask him a lot of questions so he doesn't feel the pressure of giving lots of answers.

Sadly, I've fallen under the trap to sort of probe Austin to speak more quickly so I'm grateful for the reminder to let him be. We both crave intimate conversations. The other day, we went on a 20 minute walk where the whole time Austin was talking to me. As we were coming home he says, "well, let's go on another walk so you can do all the talking." :) I love one-on-one conversations and having a few friends that I can have those type of conversations with.

Jump back to my college experience near the beginning 8 years ago. I've always been a quiet type but somehow I picked up my Dad's journalist skills of talking fast and asking questions, and a lot of them. Many classes I excelled at and others I dreaded because of the force participation in front of the whole class that would determine your grade. I was in one class where we discussed very controversial subjects and you had to give your opinion out loud in class (there was probably 60 in the class) a certain number of times. If you didn't, your grade would drop. There was even his TA keeping track.

Looking back on that now, I realize how bizarre that is. That was not my comfort level at all. I'm grateful for experiences that get me out of my comfort level but feeling the pressure that my grade was on the line for how well I came formulate my opinion in an hour time period was really hard. I would have much rather written it down or talked to the person sitting next to me about it. BYU-Idaho is all about the learning model where you come prepared to class to teach one another. Participation is key but I just wish some classes there would be more flexibility on the way you participate.

Wow, apparently this book made me want to get a lot off my chest! I'll admit that after a third or so of the book, it was a little hard to push through. It was not a nonfiction that I was eager to get back to. Part of me kept thinking she was writing this book to validate herself as an introverted person. It felt like she was saying, "because you're an introvert, you obviously don't like being that way (because I didn't), so this book is to make you feel better about yourself." That was the vibe I got and I don't like reading books like that.

The overall take away is this book reminds me of books like The Color Code and I cringe when I read about those things (this is when my inner psychology student mode kicks in). Not much validity (some research was contradicting) and too much "labeling." I don't want to see people as colors or whether they're introverted or not. I want to see them as people. If I have to decipher which color they are or the type of personality they are, it kind of makes me anxious. I'm sure at different points in my life, I'll be more appreciative of the points in this book. But for now, it wasn't my favorite nonfiction.

Also, if you do the audio, do it at least 1.5 speed. The narrator is slooowww.


  1. I really appreciate the things you said because I feel like I had an experience really recently where I'm guilty of this! This has opened my eyes to how some people are!

  2. Smiled at your last paragraph. I have a distinct memory of doing the elliptical with you at the BYU Idaho gym and having that same discussion. Haha! Love your open minded view. People weren't meant to be put in a box with a label. Heavenly Fathwr loves diversity too much!