Join us for a read-along of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. We’re discussing Part 1 today, but there’s still plenty of time to catch up with us. Leave a comment or shoot me an email (all three of my names @yahoo.com) to get the discussion questions for Parts 2 and 3 on Saturday in advance of our second discussion post next Wednesday.
According to Quiet, at least one third of us are introverts. Are you one? Who are the introverts in your circles? This book will help you appreciate the introverts in your life.
Here are my answers to our discussion questions for Part 1.
What result did you get in the quiz on pages 13 and 14? Are you an introvert, extrovert, or something in between? Were you surprised by the result?
I’m an introvert. No surprise there.
I was a bit surprised by question 4 about introverts caring less about wealth, fame, and status. I know lots of introverts who want to be successful writers some day, accompanied by a desire for a certain kind of fame. My extroverted friends seem to be happy with how well they are known in their circles.
I had a similar experience with the risk-taker question. As an introvert, jumping out of planes holds limited appeal, although I’d do it once to get a scene right. But a lot of things feel like risks to me — maintaining a blog, expanding my audience with pieces on the Huffington Post, and working on a book. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month in November) has an element of risk to it and draws tons of introverts. Maybe, it’s how you define risk. If risk involves motorcycles, excessive partying, illegal activities, or the like, then I’m not interested and never was.
Question 20, “In classroom situations, I prefer lectures to seminars” was true when I was younger. Now that I’m older and more confident, I like seminar settings where I can make myself heard without too much effort.
Other than those three questions, I marked the rest as “true” which makes me pretty high on the introversion scale.
Looking at the quiz again, how do you think your closest family members and work colleagues would fill it out? Are they similar to or different from you in the introversion-extroversion spectrum? How does this influence your interactions?
In my birth family, Dad and I were introverts and Mother and my brother, Dale, were extroverts. I’m not sure if this was a good balance or the perfect mix for combustion. A little of both, I suppose. Only Dale and I are left and I think the difference is helpful to us both, now. He is a terrific resource for me when I need advice or a push or a companion for engagement in a wider world.
My husband is an introvert. There are times when this is a pain — we get blind-sided by the same issues and have the same lack of willingness to handle certain kinds of problems. We sometimes think about how wonderful it would be to have a more outgoing partner. And then, we look at each other and say “Can you imagine actually living with an extrovert? It would be exhausting.” And we happily settle back on the sofa reading our separate books.
In your work or social environment, do introverts have disadvantages in making themselves heard or achieving leadership positions? Are there times and places in those environments when introverts have an advantage?
My current work environment is my home. I’m grateful for the internet as a way of making myself heard that I can manage while keeping my introverted environment intact.
Does collaboration rule in the work or school environments that you know about? Would more personal space and more time to focus be beneficial in those environments?
My most recent work environment had offices with doors for librarians–most of us were introverts. The customer-service staff who were always on duty with the public worked in more open environments. A friend of mine, probably an extrovert, occasionally borrowed my office when she needed to get work done without interruption. My experience with my friend matches one of the conclusions of Part One of Quiet:
We also need to create settings in which people are free to circulate in a shifting kaleidoscope of interactions, and to disappear into their private workspaces when they want to focus or simply be alone.
What thoughts did you have about Quiet? Discuss in the comments or write a post and link to the list below.