April 30, 2013

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking

If you are an introvert like me, this book will encourage you, and if you are an extrovert it may help you understand us introverts a little better.

Here are 20 questions to see if you are introverted or not. The more yes's you answer the more of an introvert you are.

1. I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities.

2. I often prefer to express myself in writing.

3. I enjoy solitude.

4. I seem to care less than my peers about wealth, fame, and status.

5. I dislike small talk, but I enjoy talking in depth about topics that matter to me.

6. People tell me that I'm a good listener.

7. I'm not a big risk-taker.

8. I enjoy work that allows me to 'dive in' with few interruptions.

9. I like to celebrate birthdays on a small scale, with only one or two close friends or family members.

10. People describe me as 'soft-spoken' or 'mellow.'

11. I prefer not to show or discuss my work with others until it's finished.

12. I dislike conflict.

13. I do my best work on my own.

14. I tend to think before I speak.

15. I feel drained after being out and about, even if I've enjoyed myself.

16. I often let calls go though to voice mail.

17. If I had to choose, I'd prefer a weekend with absolutely nothing to do to one with too many things scheduled. 

18. I don't enjoy multitasking.

19. I can concentrate easily.

20. In classroom situations, I prefer lectures to seminars. 

Here are 4 points from the book I'd like to share about introverts. Hopefully they will help extroverts to understand us introverts a bit better.

Four Important Points

Firstly, we are not hermits. : )

The author says here:

"A few things introverts are not: The word introvert is not a synonym for hermit or misanthrope. Introverts can be these things, but most are perfectly friendly...Nor or introverts necessarily shy. Shyness is the fear of social disapproval or humiliation, while introversion is a preference for environments that are not overstimulating. Shyness is inherently painful, introversion is not."

As an introvert I can become overwhelmed in a large crowd of people and retreat, but this doesn't mean I'm shy. If someone approaches me to talk I'm very happy to interact. I love one-on-one dialog. I feel I can listen better and that I'm heard better.

Secondly, introverts express themselves well through writing.

The author states here:

"Studies have shown that, indeed, introverts are more likely than extroverts to express intimate facts about themselves online that their family and friends would be surprised to read, to say that they can express the 'real me' online, and to spend more time in certain kinds of online discussions. They welcome the chance to communicate digitally. The same person who would never raise his hand in a lecture hall to two hundred people might blog to two thousand, or two million, without thinking twice. The same person who finds it difficult to introduce himself to strangers might establish a presence online and then extend these relationships into the real world."

I can relate to this. I feel I can express my true self better in writing than in speech. I think that may be because introverts need to process what they say before saying it, it's easier to think it over and then write it down.

Thirdly, introverts need alone time to recharge.

We really enjoy our alone time.

At one point in the book, Susan interviews a little 8 year old girl who is an introvert. I loved this so much, because I was that little girl so long ago. The little girl says here:

"I need a break after school,' she told me later. 'School is hard because a lot of people are in the room, so you get tired. I freak out if my mom plans a play date without telling me, because I don't want to hurt my friend's feelings. But I'd rather stay home. At a friend's house you have to do things other people want to do. I like hanging out with my mom after school because I can learn from her. She's been alive longer than me. We have thoughtful conversations. I like having thoughtful conversations because they make people happy."

If you think you may have an introverted child please listen to them. They just need some quiet time at home after school to recharge and they just want to be with you one on one.

Fourthly, the effect of being raised in the Evangelical church as an introvert

I was happy to read her interview with introverted pastor, Adam McHugh, which is the author of the book, Introverts in the Church: Finding our Place in an Extroverted Culture

Susan quotes McHugh here:

"The evangelical culture ties together faithfulness with extroversion," McHugh explains. "The emphasis is on community, on participating in more and more programs and events, on meeting more and more people. It's a constant tension for many introverts that they're not living that out. And in a religious world, there's more at stake when you feel that tension. It doesn't feel like 'I'm not doing as well as I'd like', It feels like 'God isn't pleased with me."

This interview really got to me. I was raised in a very extroverted large charismatic church and all my siblings and my mother are extroverts. I was surrounded! : ) (Thank the Lord my dad is an introvert too) I can't emphasize enough how growing up in this environment affected me, I still struggle with it. Is God happy with me if I'm not so involved and always meeting and greeting new people? Where do quiet people fit into a world of loud evangelism?

As a quiet person in a world of endless chatter this verse has always brought comfort to me:

"Do not let your adornment be merely outward--arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel, rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." 
                                                                                1 Peter 3:3-4

These are just bits and pieces that spoke to me while reading this book. There is so much more to it and I recommend reading it. Some of this book did drag on with endless statistics and experiments, but I loved the stories she shared. Stories from introverts like Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt. These I could relate to. These stories were encouraging.

If anything this book will help you embrace who you are, introvert or extrovert. Both these groups are full of great people who have something wonderful to offer the world.

Buy it HERE on Amazon


  1. This was a really interesting book, and I thought that she really "got" me, what life was like for me as an introvert. The part where she visited with the pastor from Saddleback touched me.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it too. I know what you mean about the author 'got' you. I can't tell you how many times people have said to me, 'you are so quiet' or 'you're to quiet.' It happened to me yesterday! : )

      I don't know what this author's beliefs are but her book encouraged me to embrace how God designed me. And that it is good.

      I believe the pastor she interviewed wasn't a pastor at Saddleback, they just agreed to conduct the interview on the campus because of the extroverted evangilism it promotes. Goodreads states that "He lives in Claremont, California and attends Glenkirk Church in Glendora" His book sounds really good and I'm looking forward to reading it.

      Thanks for stopping by Alan. Appreciate your comment.

    2. Thank you -- I remember that fact now. I actually go to a pretty big church myself, and it weren't for small groups and non-public opportunities to serve, I'd have a real struggle.

    3. We love our small care group too. : )

  2. I read and reviewed this book as well.
    The only question I answered no to in the questions is #18. I enjoy multi-tasking. I cannot just watch television, I have to read a magazine too. I love to do more than one thing at a time. I guess it's a habit.
    I was blessed growing up in that both my parents were introverts, all but one sibling is an introvert. My husband though is an extrovert, but he understands me and doesn't push me to be someone I'm not.

    1. I remember the author saying something about all introverts not fitting into all of these questions. People are more complex then 20 questions. : )

      I fit into all except no# 17 and 19. My husband and I are both introverts but neither of us can stand laying on a beach all day on vacation! We would rather have scheduled things to do and explore. I'm also not that great at concentrating. I often have to re-read pages of books!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing Annette. : )

  3. Hi Cathy,
    Thank you for this amazing review. I always express myself better in writing.

  4. Thanks for sharing this Cathy:) This book is next on my shelf and as an oft-misunderstood introvert, I'm looking forward to reading it! It is certainly hard to be an introvert and an evangelical. I'm a pastor's wife and sometimes I feel like a liability to my husband in ministry because I'm not more outgoing, but I've come to value the perspective I can give him behind the scenes just from quietly observing situations. Lovely review. Stopping over via Emily's:)

    1. Hi Joy, thanks so much for sharing. I can imagine how hard it would be to be an introvert and a pastor's wife. I don't know if I could do it! I do believe God places us where we are for a reason and a heart who loves Him is always an asset. : ) God bless

  5. I think I need to read this book. I've lately described myself as a "functional introvert," and got some interesting reactions from friends - like, "no way, you're not an introvert!" I've learned to be more outgoing, but it's almost always a drain, even when I had a good time. I think I'm finally learning to accept the way I am, and in this, there is a sense of peace and relief :-) Thank you for posting this!

    1. I know what you mean about feeling drained after a night of socializing. Even though I've enjoyed myself I'm ready to fall into bed as soon as I get home! : )

      The author talks about this in the book as well as how a lot of people that we may think are extroverts are actually introverts working extremely hard at being outgoing.

      The book is so interesting! I related to a lot of it. Thanks for stopping by Amber!

  6. Great post - I can so relate to your insights. I need to recharge alone...maybe read this book.

    1. Glad you enjoyed my post. It's a great book, lots of insights on introversion. Made me feel normal. : )

  7. I loved Susan Cains Ted talk about being an introvert, that was the first time I had heard of her. I too am an introvert. LOVE THE QUIET! and one on ones with my daughter :0)

    1. I enjoy my one on one times with my daughters too and my son! I always tucked them in at night when they were little and loved that time alone with each of them. My youngest is almost 17 and I still tuck her in just so we can talk!

      Thanks for stopping by Starla. : )

  8. Now I am determined to read this. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Sounds like another good one. I'm so glad you can read these books so fast and give honest opinions. I hate finding books that sound good, but end up being duds. Thanks again for linking up with Cozy Book Hop!


    1. Thanks Marissa, I enjoy your book blog hop! : )

  10. Fascinating review! I answered yes to 15 of the 20. I've always considered myself an introvert, but often end up feeling guilty, because I also feel like I'm selfish with my free time. And recently I've been feeling that struggle/tension of not being as involved in the church community. It's definitely a lot to think about . . . but more importantly to pray about.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Cathy. :)

    1. Praying is definitely the most important thing! Leaving my struggles with the Lord in prayer helps a lot.

      I think I've come to realize that extroverts can bless many people at once with their outgoing personalities, but introverts bless people one-on-one and sometimes that's can be more meaningful.

      For example, you have been a blessing and an encouragement to me through one-on-one commenting here on my blog. You were one of my first followers and I appreciate your every visit!

      God bless : )

  11. I saw this link at Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books. I enjoyed this book earlier this year (http://barbarah.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/book-review-quiet-the-power-of-introverts-in-a-world-that-cant-stop-talking/). I read Adam's book, too, and gleaned much from it but was disturbed by the "mystical" type of spirituality he said many introverts would prefer (which I disagree with). I thought this book was very helpful in understanding myself and other introverts, especially the part about being highly reactive to stimuli. I knew that about myself and thought there was something wrong with me - I was relieved to know it was a natural part of being an introvert.

    1. Hi Barbara, I've often been made fun of for being overly sensitive and maybe a little corny sometimes, but that's just who I am and this book encouraged me to embrace that sensitive part of myself and helped me feel normal knowing other introverts are the same. Glad it encouraged you too!

      I'm even more curious to read Adam's book now. I guess it depends on what he means by 'mystical' It's a word thrown around Christian circles and may have a different meaning to different people. For me it is just simply getting closer to the Lord and learning to hear His voice through His Word.

      I'll come by and check out your review. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Hi Cathy,
    Oh my, I love this book. I have to read it. I was laughing so much as I read through the list to see if you are an introvert, and I answered yes to every one. It was also really interesting about writing; being more comfortable sharing by written word.
    Thank you for sharing this book with us.


Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments. I try to respond to all of them by the end of the week. : )