I nodded many times when I read this book, as this book is a kind of self-affirmation reading for me (and my husband). Both of us are introverts, but often take the opposite sides of introversion. As Susan Cain writes, there are a lot of sides of introversion, in which different people may have some but not the other traits.
It’s interesting how Susan explains how ‘the culture of personality’ takes over human interaction in the 20th century, where people are expected not only to sell product or service, but also ‘themselves’. “We live with a value system that I call the Extrovert Ideal – the omnipresent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight.” (page 4).
Here are several notes I take from this book:
- the excessive collaboration and open-office systems happening right now are not always the better ways to improve creativity and achieve goals.
- both introvert and extrovert leaders can produce the same effective results, if only they recognize the character of their teams.
- the ‘rubber band theory’ and ‘free trait theory’: we are elastic and can stretch our personality, but only until a certain point. A lot of introverts act as pseudo-extroverts if they think it will beneficial for things that matter to them (their job, people they love, etc.). But still, they need their solitude to calm their mind at the end of the day.
- several cases on how to deal with extrovert-introvert conflict, as well as how to nurture the potency of our introvert children.
Susan also argues about the correlation of genetic make-up (short allele of SERT gene) with high-reactivity and introvert people. However, I think it’s still a very early conclusion as there is no research paper directly prove the correlation of SERT and introvertness. We still need more effort to prove the biological correlation between genetic make-up and human traits (if any).
Reading this book makes me realize some reasons underlying my actions. After an intense and happy vacation with family or friends, I need a day or two to ‘take a breath’. My husband and I find that the maximum time we should go out in a week is three (attending events, dinner or lunch with our friend). In addition to the conversation during dinner time, our quality time is when we lay beside each other, he watches some youtube videos (about game strategy, or news, or cute kitten) while I read a good book. We enjoy our solitudes! Lucky me that we understand each other the importance of this kind of solitude 🙂