on 6 June 2013
I made the "mistake" of reading Susan Cain's "Quiet" before reading "The Introvert Advantage". With my mind having been pre-blown, so to speak, I missed out on most of the Aha-moments that this book rightfully have.
Whereas "Quiet" left me feeling uplifted and ready to take on the world "The Introvert Advantage" once again convinced me that my introverted temperament was a serious handicap that i could, at best, learn to accept. The slightly condescending, self help, love yourself as you are, tone of the book generally annoyed me but where Laney lost me for good was the part about energy conservation. I am an engineer and, though I don't claim to be an expert, know the fundamentals of thermodynamics. Entropy is not "Fussy energy" that can be un-fuzzed by going for a quiet stroll. The lack of "energy" we introvert feels after socializing is not the same as actual physical energy as in heat or motion and i don't understand why she would try to make that connection. The author might only have intended to use the explanation of thermodynamics as a metaphor but it does make me wonder how well founded the rest of the "Science" in this book is.
The book is not without merits. If you have already bought it, good for you. If you haven't, read "Quiet" instead. If you have already read "Quiet" i would not recommend reading this book.
on 31 August 2007
I was almost put off from buying this book by the one solitary star and review on this page. My other introverted friends reccomended me the book however and, feeling in need of a self esteem booster about my introverted nature, I decided to buy the book. One of the best non-fiction books I'll ever own.
I believe that every introvert should give this a read and treat it like a Bible, especially those who are unsure about their own introversion, that do not understand it fully, or feel it is like some sort of mental illness. This book will help you understand yourself and make you feel good about yourself. It does have a lot of helpful tips to those new to the subject; but those confident in their introversion may want to read more advanced books.
Just like the back cover says, it really is filled with a lot of "A-ha!" moments. I would reccomend it to any introvert!
on 15 January 2012
I'm an introvert, and have never seen it a downside. I know our Americanised, Hollywood-inspired society is critical of introverts, but I've never fallen into the trap of "groupthink". I've always maintained that the world's best philosophers, writers, composers and scientists were introverts - people with the capability to "think outside the box". So why did I bother buying the book? Because I wanted someone else to back up my argument that introverts really are the "intellectual elite" and that there's nothing at all inferior about or wrong with us. I wanted it, I got it!
There was a lot I didn't know before reading this book. For example, the author explains the neurological differences between intro and extroverts - extroverts relying on the well-known neurotransmitter dopamine, and introverts relying on the lesser-known acetrycholine. She also explains that there are structural differences in our brains and that introverts use their frontal lobes more than extroverts, a logical explanation for our careful planning and "think before you speak" attitude. The author also highlights bias in studies that have been designed to "prove" that extroverts are happier. She points out that the studies (presumably designed by extroverts) only asked questions such as "I like to be with others" and "I'm fun to be with" rather than how introverts would define happiness - "I'm comfortable in my own skin", "I'm free to pursue my own path".
I gave the book four, rather than five stars because I didn't really find the "advice" part useful. She does give some useful advice, such as polite excuses for avoiding company, but I found other bits patronising such as in the "Introvert Survival Kit" at the end of the book, where she instructs us to carry umbarellas "in case the sun bothers you" and a colourful ski headband "in case the wind hurts your ears". I'm an academic, not a hitchhiker!
Other than my last criticism, the book was very well-written. Much recommended!
on 6 July 2012
When I started to read this book I thought it was so simple that even an extrovert should be able to understand it.
I suppose the big problem we introverts have in life is not so much that extroverts just don't get us, but even if you explain it in really, really simple words, they are just not that interested.
The most useful section for me was the chapter that showed the very different ways in which the brains of introverts and extroverts work. Yes it's true, our brains actually are wired up differently and have different chemistry. The diagrams that showed which parts of the brain are used by the 2 types clearly show that extroverts don't really use their thinking, planning, learning and reasoning parts a lot, so my reaction to that was "YES!!!!! That proves they really aren't as intelligent!!!". After I had done my typical introverted mulling process on this, I realized that an extrovert reading that would only focus on the slower/longer brain pathway of introverts and think "YES!!!! that proves they really are slower and therefore stupider!!!"Hmmmmm Guess who would have the last word?
I liked the sections that showed how the 2 types can misunderstand each other and find each other irritating. As this book is really only focusing on this one aspect of personality typing, it is a little simplistic. There is a reference to the difference between right-brain and left-brain thinkers, that gives a little more depth, so there is a sense in which not all introverts are the same, but for me the book was generally a bit too simplistic. The author is a therapist with many years experience and she gives a lot of tips on how to manage situations where conflicting styles and needs can cause problems between the 2 types. I found this (latter) end of the book less and less interesting and eventually abandoned it. She focuses so much on the fact that introverts are made tired by over-stimulating activities,and gives tips on how to conserve your energy and pace yourself that in the end I began to feel that Introversion IS indeed a kind of disability. This is not how I experience my own introversion at all. On any psychometric testing system I come out as 100% introverted and a right brain thinker too. But I do not have low energy, I can talk and think fast, I enjoy being physically active, as long as it is in a way that suits my nature, (so no high-adrenalin or competitive activities). It is not that my energy is any less than that of an extrovert, I just use it for different things.
There is one small section where the author talks about dealing with disappointment that you can't do as much as the extroverts around you. Like- why would I be disappointed if I can't go bungee-jumping or to 3 parties in one weekend? I'd be disappointed if I had to waste my time at things like that when I could be writing or going for long walks or meditating and praying, or having 'real' conversations with other introverted friends instead of that time-wasting chitchat. The only disappointment you have to deal with is that of the extroverts around you.
If readers are interested in this subject then the books of Dorothy Rowe, another psychologist based in UK who has written extensively on how key this basic difference of temperament is to dealing with mental health problems are really worth reading. She defines it as a different way of experiencing reality rather than to do with where you draw your energy from, so there is less emphasis on being tired and slow. I also found The Highly Sensitive Person had advice about how to keep your energy going in over-stimulating situations that did not make it feel so much a disability.
I still think this book is a good one for those who are new to this whole area and need to be told they are normal, and I am intending to give it to a young friend who needs to learn how to deal with his highly extroverted partner.
on 21 October 2008
I got so much out of reading this book. I picked it up on a whim, wondering what the advantage of an introvert might be, suspecting that I was one. Goodness me, I had no idea I was so introverted, or how much of my life it really impacted. Now, all these little nonsensical things about myself throughout my life suddenly have an explanation, and more importantly I feel validated for being me! I got 26 out of 30 on the book's questionaire, so I can proudly call myself an introvert. Marti helped me understand also that, being left-brained, I'm quite happy living an introverted life, whereas my sister, a right-brained introvert, struggles with the limitations. It was also surprising to find that my husband is fairly extroverted and the relationships section has been really helpful for me to understand where he's coming from and how we can get along better.
If you even slightly suspect that you are an introvert I highly recommend reading this book. You will feel much better about yourself, even if you didn't feel badly to begin with!
on 16 November 2011
The book is extremely voluminous in its description of the "introverted personality" and thus is likely to describe things -commonalities- that most people's will recognize as part of their own personalities whether they are introverted o extroverted. If you are reading the book specifically to understand introversion better, it is therefore important to note that you will not necessarily gain much by reading The Introvert Advantage.
Conversely, I will recommend the book to people with low self-esteem. While reading the book, you will never feel that it is too technical or advanced for you, and the book manages to really describe make introspection into something extremely positive, providing the reading with numerous assurances along the lines of "there is nothing wrong with being quiet." As mentioned before, the text is peppered with numerous examples from life situations and it even features personal development exercises.
A final positive thing about the book is that it indirectly introduces the part of psychology that deals with personality and typology. The reader can be told that other people do not necessarily think and act like one yourself and perhaps prime the reader for a further exploration of psychological type. Yet the book does provide some food for thought and hopefully the reader will be able to come away from it with a slightly more nuanced picture of other people and with the courage to explore the diverse literature that exists within the field of typology and psychological type.
But what was actually the advantage of being an introvert? Marti Olsen Laney neglects to give us an answer and lets the question remain, hanging in the ether.
on 13 January 2008
Marti Olsen Laney's "The Introvert Advantage" is one of the most profound works that I have ever read and I just could not put it down. It has provided great insights into the world of introverts and how one (myself included) can swim through the rough river of life with a strong sense of self-confidence. Before reading this book, all I knew that I am an introvert and that I get my energy by being alone. After reading this book, it has added greatly to my self-confidence and increases my self-understanding as an introvert in the world of extroversion.
I especially enjoyed reading the part about the difference between the introvert's brain pathway (parasympathetic system as activated by acetylcholine) and the extrovert's brain pathway (sympathetic system as activated by dopamine), and the nicotine connection.
Laney has provided a great deal of research and effort into this work, and done so with a clear clarity. This book has 10 chapters, with roughly 320 pages, and written in a clear manner. For both the extrovert, to understand their opposite, and the introvert, to understand oneself better, I would strongly recommend this book.
on 27 August 2008
An excellent book on the temperament of introverts. It helped me so much in understanding and accepting my nature: anyone constantly feeling tired in a party or when chatting with a group of people should read this book to understand that you're as normal as anyone, just that your energy level is used up quickly in high-stimulated environment. Parents ought to read this to understand their introverts children so as not to force them to be who they are not.
After reading this book, I recommend "Dare To Connect" for further personal development.
on 11 December 2012
I am most definitely an introvert, I have always had problems in crowds of people and enjoy my own company more than I should. I always put it down to being shy, people told me I'd grow out of it and it was "a phase". But as I got older I had problems with jobs, I could see where extroverts were going wrong but never had the guts to speak up and point it out. People thought I was standoffish as I'd often remain quiet, only speaking when I had urgent issues or questions. I couldn't open up easily and just talk.
After going through uni and now being self employed things have become easier, I am learning about who I am and that the word introvert should never be an insult but a personality type. Introverts are strong, they view things at a distance and often pick up on improvements and mistakes long before the extrovert has even stopped to think. We settle out extrovert friends and colleagues, ground them before they go too far.
This book helped me realise a lot about myself, it gave me confidence and created an understanding of how I actually worked. I'm not a one off, there's nothing wrong with me, I am an introvert and in many ways, that is one of the best things to be.
on 22 April 2013
As an introduction to the subject I enjoyed this book and would recommend it just before reading "Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking" by Susan Cain. Suddenly - I now realise after 30 years of 'pushing water up hill' that I am an introvert. I've just had my 'A-ha' moment. Suddenly it all makes sense. This book is particularly interesting in its description of the brain chemistry and how introverts may differ from extroverts. For me this book explains the problem the best but Cain's book actually is better on how to live the life to its fullest.
After reading this book I was a little depressed thinking at the end of it that I had a disability as there appeared to be few advantages to being an introvert. I would have to manage my physical energy very carefully among a number of other observations - maybe all this is true and actually for me uncomfortable - but at least I now know what the problem is and the guilt has suddenly evaporated.