Saturday, August 18, 2012

Reading Journal: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain (2012)

The first psychology book I've read since being peripherally assigned them in under/graduate literary courses, and one that walks a tightrope between academic-level analysis and the pop non-fiction of a Malcolm Gladwell. There are extensive notes in the back end, so I trust the author, though her theories seem dangerously simplfied. Particularly in its first chapters, the book ably takes down the Extrovert Ideal, and explains that though the introverted work very differently, there's no reason that their superiors at work, or worse, their spouses or parents, should write them off. Introversion is not the same as shyness or neurosis, but Cain's work draws some interesting conclusions from a wide body of selected studies to show how dichotomies as diverse as, say high vs. low reactivity, or our varied dopamine processing abilities, play a role in the way we approach our lives. The findings can't help but repeat themselves sometimes - she is, after all, trying to prove a point - but the book is nevertheless interesting and highly accessible to the layperson's understanding of psychology: there's a bit of Jung, a little more Kagan, and nary a Freud in sight. Cool read.

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