Why it’s OK to be an introvert

There's nothing wrong with staying in and reading!

According to the informal test found early in the pages of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” I am an introvert: I’d rather talk to single good friend than several acquaintances; I wish all of my communication was in writing; I’m not driven by ideas of wealth and fame; and I don’t like small talk. Sometimes, I even prefer books to people.

This does not bode well for me. According to Susan Cain, author of “Quiet” we live in a time when introversion is “somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology.” Anyone who has been to a public school in the past twenty years (if not more) will probably agree. The ideal person in our culture is extroverted; comfortable in front of crowds, and gregarious. Any deviation from extroversion is a sickness, and we should make it our life’s project to eradicate these traits from ourselves.

But Cain offers a reprieve to all oppressed introverts: not only is it OK to be introverted, sometimes it’s even advantageous. Many of the most important cultural and technological advances in our culture have come from introverted people, from Newton’s theories to stories of E.M. Forster. Introverts are more careful; they have concentration necessary to develop expertise in a subject and they are more creative than extroverts.

Pure extroversion, on the other hand, is not necessarily an unmitigated good. The financial crisis is an example of what can happen when the risk taking extroverts take control. For years traders who took the biggest risks and who were more adept at selling themselves and their ideas prevailed until finally the worst fears of the cautious introverts came to be. Extroverted behavior can be dangerous and even at times downright dishonest.

Quiet is best understood as a reaction to our culture’s entrenched preferences for extroverts. It’s a book directed toward introverts; thus, many pages in Quiet are devoted to the merits of introversion and the evils of extroversion as if restoring balance to our culture. These discussions should not detract from Cain’s ultimate conclusion though: that both introverts and extroverts have a role to play in our society, and that we should not be ashamed of our natural inclinations, whether introverted or extroverted, but should play to our natural strengths and be confident in doing so.

Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” will be discussing her book at Greenlight Bookstore 686 Fulton St (at South Portland) Brooklyn, NY 11217. I’m expecting a Tony Robbins inspired, rock music fueled presentation like the one described in the book but we’ll see.

Other Events of Note:

February 17, 2012 “Derangement of the Senses,” a live fiction and poetry at Happy Ending Lounge 302 Broome St. A live multimedia performance including music, fiction, and burlesque. There may be cursing.


For more please follow me on Twitter and Tumblr.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…

Local

Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…

Local

Woman arrested for attempted kidnapping of baby in…

Authorities said that a Queens woman behind an attempted kidnapping of an 8-month-old baby boy was arrested on Saturday.

Local

Hate crime charge in attack on Sikh Columbia…

A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly pulled the beard of a Sikh Columbia University professor as part…

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.

MLB

Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.

NHL

Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.