Quiet by Susan Cain Recap

I usually don’t specifically highlight a book in a post—all of the books I read go into my monthly recaps—but I wanted to highlight this book because I’ve never felt more seen and understood before.

I had known about Quiet by Susan Cain for a while, and it’s a book my town library has on its shelves. With some non-fiction books, I prefer to own them so I can write in them, and I knew this would be one of those books. On a whim one day last year, I bought Quiet at Barnes and Noble and finally got around to reading it over my winter break.

I wish I had read this book so much sooner, but I’m glad I finally read it. I’ve never seen myself so much in one book, and it made me feel so much better about who I am as a person. I’ve always been an introvert, someone who is quiet and sensitive and thoughtful. I think it’s been a strength of mine, but at times has felt like a weakness because we live in a world that values extroversion and outgoingness.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve embraced being an introvert and I value my alone time, knowing that I express myself best in writing, and that I won’t speak up (like in a work meeting or something) unless I absolutely know it’s warranted. There are times when I enjoy being around others or in groups, but I also know that I need time to recharge after—and I make sure to make time for that. I prefer to work independently and have time to reflect on ideas or decisions before making them. I tend to be naturally quiet, but I’ll come out of my shell with people I feel comfortable with.

I’ve listed some of my favorite quotes from the book below, and I underlined and sticky noted so many paragraphs. I felt validated after reading this book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who’s an introvert, or anyone who knows an introvert in their life.

Some of my favorite quotes:

“Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while they wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussion.” (page 11)

“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 of 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.” (page 63)

“Introverts prefer to work independently, and solitude can be a catalyst to innovation.” (page 74)

“High-reactive kids who enjoy good parenting, child care, and a stable home environment tend to have fewer emotional problems and more social skills than their lower-reactive peers, studies show. Often they’re exceedingly empathetic, caring, and cooperative.” (page 111)

“The highly sensitive tend to be philosophical or spiritual in their orientation, rather than materialistic or hedonistic. They dislike small talk. They often describe themselves as creative or intuitive. They dream vividly, and can often recall their dreams the next day. They love music, nature, art, physical beauty. They feel exceptionally strong emotions—sometimes acute bouts of joy, but also sorrow, melancholy, and fear.

“Highly sensitive people also process information about their environments—both physical and emotoinal—unusually deeply. They tend to notice subtleties that others miss—another person’s shift in mood, say, or a lightbulb burning a touch too brightly.” (page 136)

“…introverts are more likely to pay attention to warning signals. They’re more successful at regulating their feelings of desire or excitement. They protect themselves better from the downside.” (page 158)

“Introverts also seem to be better than extroverts at delaying gratification, a crucial life skill associated with everything from higher SAT scores and income to lower body mass index.” (page 163)

“Introverts, in contrast, are constitutionally programmed to downplay reward—to kill their buzz, you might say—and scan for problems. … Introverts also tend to compare new information with their expectations…” (page 167)

“Introverts think before they act, digest information thoroughly, stay on task longer, give up less easily, and work more accurately. …the introverts tend to sit around wondering about things, imagining things, recalling events from their past, and making plans for the future.” (page 168)

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