Sunday, May 26, 2013


Quiet is a book about introverts. It was a fun, interesting read. However, I felt it was going too far with the introvert/extrovert dichotomy. At times, she would discuss introvert characteristics, and I would say "that's me. that's me. Yep, I'm a pure introvert." Then she would talk about extroverts, and I would think "hey, I feel some of that too."

I'm just not a fan of the black and white. I can take a little from the Democrats, a little from the Republicans, and then sprinkle in a lot of Green and Libertarian ideas. Similarly, I have trouble seeing the world divided so strongly in to introvert and extrovert camps. The author even sees some problems with this, as she mentions in her afterward.

One section talked about the "Asian introvert ideal" of Cupertino and the high achieving Monta Vista high school. UH. Well, I guess that is how things may seem on the outside. Just the other day I was talking to somebody who's sun enjoyed jazz music. And there was the boy who really liked sports, but had pushy parents encouraging him to study more. And the kids who spent all the time on facebook when they said they were studying. And of course there is the rampant cheating.

Monta Vista does have its share of introverts. However, it also has a lot of heavily pushy parents. They paid good money to send their kids to the school and they want them to get good grades and good test scores. The kids go to all the tutoring and test prep. They get the good scores. They are also pushed to get the good grades. (A = acceptable. B = Beating...) However, does this make it an introvert Utopia? Not really. There is a forced Asia-based introvert ideal coming from the parents. The school injects the "extrovert" American education standard. Where does that leave the kids? Either with the best of both worlds or in a confusing mess. There are regularly students that excel at national and international competitions. There are also kids that cheat and have no motivation to learn. (They only want a grade.) Most of these highly stressed students end up going to the local community college. All that work and struggle to get a good grade, and they end up in the same class as the kid who never did his homework.

To be fair, the Cupertino part was only a minor portion of the book. Other sections talked about being true to the introvert. Sometimes introverts can succeed as "pseudo-extroverts" by being true to their passions and not trying to be something they are not. Introverts also need their "downtime". Introverts and Extroverts need to balance their needs and desires to succeed. Sometimes an introverted child may seem maladjusted, but they are really just behaving in the way they feel most comfortable. Our education system stresses the extrovert ideal, but some of the greatest leaders are the introverts (and some of the most colossal mistakes are made by extroverted boldness.

There are plenty of good bullet points that should make any introvert happy. (And if you are reading a book on introverts, you probably are one.)

No comments:

Post a Comment