Reviewed by Monica Spafford, New York University
In a society that praises and encourages extroverted behavior, Susan Cain’s book Quiet Power: The Secret Strength of Introverts is a lifeline for youth and adolescents who struggle to accept and find the value in their introverted tendencies. Building on previous research on introversion, Cain’s book serves as both a self-help guide for introverts and a learning tool for clinicians seeking to understand introverts and adjust their practice accordingly.
In Quiet Power, Cain communicates a variety of stories, some her own and some the experiences of others that demonstrate how introversion can affect individuals in different contexts and how introverted behavior may be misconstrued in those contexts. She works to make the introverted experience relatable and eradicate previously held notions or stereotypes about introverts. Additionally, Cain provides encouraging words for those who have been in stressful situations and have been made to feel less than because of their quiet temperament, while also suggesting ways to empower the self and find a place as an introvert in a world of extroverts. Cain implores readers to embrace their introversion and not utilize extroverts as the standard for ideal behavior. Furthermore, she challenges introverts to find their voice, while still being who they are. Cain concludes her book by summarizing key points and strategies that can help introverts find their voice.
She extends her thinking in an afterword that addresses teachers and how they can accommodate and encourage introverted students. She also provides a guide for parents at the end of the book on how to support and empower their introverted children.
Clinicians may find this book useful as they try to “step into the shoes” of patients who may be struggling with introversion. This book has the potential to be a guide for clinicians when they are interacting with introverted patients, suggesting strategies, and composing useful interventions that will help introverts embrace their introversion, not hide behind it.
Monica Spafford studies applied psychology at New York University and is set to graduate in May of 2018. She is a research assistant for the INSIGHTS Into Children’s Temperament research study at NYU’s Institute of Human Development and Social Change testing the efficacy of the INSIGHTS program, an evidence-based intervention that works to support children’s social-emotional development and academic learning. In addition to working for the International Journal of Psychotherapy, she writes reviews for Somatic Psychotherapy Today.
Susan Cain attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School. She is a co-founder of The Quiet Revolution and the author of the New York Times bestseller Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. She recently received Harvard Law School’s Celebration Award for Thought Leadership.