Book Review #2:
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking
Quiet is a book that has been on my list for a while to finally get around to buying and reading. The book itself has been met with a lot of positive critical acclaim since it was released several years ago. My wife bought it for me as a Christmas present, so I would finally have my opportunity to check it out.
When I think of the name and the premise of the book, I can’t help but notice that it is specifically geared towards book readers themselves, who mostly happen to be introverts — so before even opening to the first page I was sure that brand of marketing contributed to the sales and positive response of the book — but I digress.
Overall, Quiet was an above average book. Definitely worth the couple of days it took to get through it.
The book is broken down into 4 parts:
1)The Extrovert Ideal
This part basically tells us about the ‘myth of the extrovert.’ The chapter reflects on how extroverts and introverts are historically represented and appreciated in society. It lays out all of the stereotypes and then tries to give examples to counteract these stereotypes. Some of these examples are anecdotal stories from the author’s own life and experience, and some of these examples are based on scientific research articles in the fields of sociology and psychology.
Though the examples were pointed, I ended up disliking this approach by the end. I feel the author overextended her opinions and made it sound like Introverts are God’s Greatest Gift to the world and Extroverts are all the popular kids in high school who will crash and burn when they become adults — unless their amazing charisma allows them to masterfully play a charade which masks their lack of actual talent and skill. Basically — I felt like the author battled the negative stereotypes of introverts by building stereotypes of her own.
She paints the picture that introverts are really the ones who push the human race forward, and extroverts are the ones who just think they are. As an introvert myself, the praise was nice…but I never bought into that message; which I’m not entirely sure the author herself realized she was pushing so strongly.
#ActionableContent: A piece of actionable content which I picked up on, that may be applied to dental practice management is as follows: There is some research that teams of extroverts achieve the best results when led by introverts — and teams of extroverts do best when led by introverts. This dynamic has been shown in some research to create a checks and balances system within the team that propagates towards greater success. Definitely something to keep in mind when hiring staff. If you are an introvert focused on the small details and like to stay to your own thoughts — it may be significantly important to hire that extra bubbly assistant to counter balance you and take the burden of small talk off your shoulders while you work on patients.
2) Your Biology, Your Self?
Nothing new here for anyone who has been through any sort of basic biology course load, which as dentists, we all have. Classic argument of nature versus nurture. How much of your natural inclination of introversion or extroversion can you ‘control’ and adapt with conscious decision. We are given examples of babies in cribs showcasing traits of introversion and extroversion that transfer into their adulthood documented in long-term studies.
The chapter gives examples including a masterful college professor known for his great lectures and speeches, who is a painfully reclusive introvert who literally hides in public bathrooms to avoid human contact on his work breaks. In his case study, we see details straight from the horses mouth of how he built a boisterous and revered public personality, while at the same time being an introvert at the furthest end of the spectrum.
We are reminded of the drawbacks we face in daily life as either an introvert or as an extrovert, and led to believe that through self-awareness we can surmount limitations put in place by our natural inclinations and amplify the strengths we are predisposed to.
#ActionableContent: A piece of actionable content in this section of the book was a focus on finding your ‘sweet spot’ in the balance of Extro/Introversion in your daily work and home life. For example, if you are an introvert dentist who’s job depends on interacting with people all day long — take 30 minutes on your lunch break to go for a walk or sit quietly in your office to recharge. If you are an extrovert and feel like your small office of a few employees is not enough stimulation, you may need to make it a priority to schedule weekly parties or social outings to avoid feelings of drudge.
3) Do All Cultures Have an Extrovert Ideal
These chapter is basically an analysis of Asian introverts in the United States. The first chapter’s title in this third section is literally, “Asian-Americans and the Extrovert Ideal.” I felt like this section spent way too much time on this motif to the point of making Asian people a spectacle. Again, the author is creating her own stereotypes to combat other stereotypes she does not like.
4) How to Love, How to Work
The 4th and final section is about balancing your levels of introversion and extroversion with family life. Essentially, we should all understand that we, our spouses, friends, and children have different levels of introversion and extroversion and in order to retain and cultivate harmony in your family and friend circle – each party needs to understand where the other falls on the spectrum and compromise and respect various needs. Pretty basic stuff, but we can learn to notice where our patients fall on the introvert or extrovert spectrum and keep this in mind when communicating with them. This can be a huge point for building (or breaking) rapport with patients in our practices.
Overall, the book was a good read, I enjoyed the anecdotal stories and I enjoyed reading the research studies.
There was honestly some great information in this book which has helped me understand myself better on the introvert/extrovert spectrum and will help me in the future when engaging with family, friends, and patients.
The biggest drawback of the book was the ongoing presence of the author’s push of her own stereotypes, glorification of introverts, ‘dumbification’ of extroverts, and awkward focus on Asians (making them sound like awkward people, while herself also coming across as awkward in the way she writes about race).