It began during the preface, in which Cain prints an "Are You an Introvert? Now it's fine for me to turn down party invitations. The loudest, most socially confident and quickest on their feet win the day, whereas the contemplative and quietly well-informed tend not to get a word in. The introvert child is an "orchid — who wilts easily", is prone to "depression, anxiety and shyness, but under the right conditions can grow strong and magnificent". The way forward, she argues, is to create offices that have open-plan bits for the extroverts and nooks and crannies where the quiet people can be quiet.
As any neurologist will tell you, we still have very little idea about why certain bits of our brains light up under various circumstances. The way forward, she argues, is to create offices that have open-plan bits for the extroverts and nooks and crannies where the quiet people can be quiet. The introvert child is an "orchid — who wilts easily", is prone to "depression, anxiety and shyness, but under the right conditions can grow strong and magnificent". Then I do the test on my son. We make them our bosses and our political leaders. The more we answer "true" the more introverted we are: Even for a writer like Cain, who is mostly admirably unafraid of grey areas, we ambiverts are too grey. But those adventures vanish as the book wears on, and it starts to drag a little, especially during the many chapters about how brain scans seem to demonstrate neurological differences between extroverts and introverts. I answer "true" to exactly half the questions. I finished Quiet a month ago and I can't get it out of my head. In fact, I read much of Susan Cain's book shaking my head in wonder and thinking: Extroverts are more likely to get book deals and art exhibitions than their introverted counterparts. The loudest, most socially confident and quickest on their feet win the day, whereas the contemplative and quietly well-informed tend not to get a word in. Before the industrial revolution, she writes, American self-help books extolled character. I don't get to the end because to every question — "I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities. Children sit in pods facing each other and are rewarded for being outgoing rather than original. I'm thrilled to discover that some of the personality traits I had found shameful are actually indicators that I'm amazing. It's because I'm an introvert! And there's a bigger nagging thought I couldn't shake throughout the book. A bit like the Pixar offices. It's also a genius idea to write a book that tells introverts — a vast proportion of the reading public — how awesome and undervalued we are. Until I read Quiet, I thought it was just me. School classrooms are increasingly designed to reflect this flawed environment. I don't enjoy multitasking. With good parenting we can become "exceedingly kind, conscientious and successful at the things that matter to us". I put it down to perhaps there not being enough iron in my diet. Cain says we're "especially empathic".
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