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

Apple says its systems not to blame for…

By Edwin Chan and Christina FarrSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The week before a crucial launch of its new iPhone, Apple Inc said intimate photos of…

Local

Tallest residential building planned for lower Manhattan

A residential tower planned for lower Manhattan will soar 1,356 feet in the air -- just 12 feet shy of 1 World Trade Center. When…

Local

Bronx man commits suicide by decapitation

A Bronx man committed suicide Monday morning in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx by decapitating himself. According to the NYPD, the 51-year-old man…

Local

Top cops enroll in Twitter course at John…

NYPD officers are reportedly getting a lesson on the best way to use 140 characters or less. The New York Post reported Tuesday top officers…

Arts

Pop culture and prostitutes: New Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at…

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec documented the cult of celebrity and the rise of pop entertainment in his prints, posters and lithographs — now on display at MoMA.

Arts

PHOTO: Extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken balances unicycle on…

Extreme artist’ Eskil Ronningsbakken balances on the edge of a cliff face at 4,600 feet – on a unicycle. The Norwegian travels across the globe, balancing over vertiginous ravines, tall…

Music

Hear two previously unreleased Adele songs

Missing some Adele in your life? Two previously unreleased songs from the singer have appeared online.

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

NFL

10 storylines to watch for the Giants this…

The Giants rebounded from an embarrassing 0-6 start last season, but not well enough to make the playoffs.

NFL

Michael Vick set to be weekly guest with…

Mike Francesa may need to backtrack from his harsh commentary of Michael Vick now that the Jets backup quarterback will be a weekly guest on his show.

NFL

Jets expect to make playoffs after sitting on…

The same pundits who predicted the Jets would be woeful a season ago are now eying the playoffs for this revamped team.

NFL

Antonio Allen returns to practice after concussion

Antonio Allen was cleared to practice again following his concussion two weeks ago.

Parenting

In defense of making a mess during playtime

"Recipes for Play" authors Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener think playtime should involve the five senses and making a mess is part of the fun.

Wellbeing

Jason Hope helps push anti-aging efforts forward

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In…

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…