15 January 2017

Quiet #NonFictionNovember2016

We're just about halfway through January so obviously, I thought now would be a good time to sit down and write my review for Non-Fiction November, 2016.

This was the first time I have taken part in this reading challenge which is hosted by Olive and Gemma on Booktube to encourage people to read more nonfiction than they normally would - if you don't normally read nonfiction, try to pick up one book; if you normally read two, try to get to three, and so on.  I can't remember the last time I read any non-fiction before this so my aim was just to finish one title, and the book I chose was Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

I am definitely an introvert so this book was such an interesting read for me. It talks about what is known as the Extrovert Ideal meaning that extroversion and the traits that come with it are often seen as more socially desirable than introversion and this affects the way many things are set up - most workplaces now are open plan to encourage collaboration for example, with few people having their own offices and cubicles. In classrooms too, children now often sit in school in groups rather than individually.  This isn't a bad thing but not necessarily the types of environments best suited to everyone.  The book goes into much more detail about this and the other ways that the Extrovert Ideal plays out in society but basically so much of it had me nodding along in agreement. Unfortunately I'm an introvert so I'm not very likely to start suggesting new office layouts to my manager!

I learned a lot through reading Quiet that was directly relevant to me. Probably the most interesting was learning about the different levels of stimulation that introverts and extroverts need and the importance of 'restorative niches' to introverts - that is, the time you take to yourself to recover after doing something such as going to a big party. The book talks about how this is actually a form of recovery, as for introverts continuous overstimulation can be very stressful and actually harmful to health and that's why we often plan more time in between social engagements. There were other parts too, but in general I felt like I finished with a lot of helpful insight.

There was a chapter I think everyone would find interesting - the author covers the history of scientific research into introversion, neurology as well as sociological and social psychological influences. There was even a chapter for parents of introverted children to help them understand how to bring out the best in them and I think the whole book would be really valuable reading for teachers, parents, people managers, and even friends of introverts.

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