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
International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.