When Introverts Speak

Book Review:  ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain

A few years ago I was in a bookshop and stumbled upon this book as I was browsing.  I picked it up and was hooked immediately.  I think I read the first chapter before paying for it.  What follows is my review that I’ve recently rediscovered, and I offer it here.

The sub-title of the book reads: ‘The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’.  And although this book is secular, the author not only accesses her biblically Jewish roots, but what she says is as relevant to Christian ministry as it is to industry chiefs and educators.  

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Cain refers to the introvert/extrovert divide as the most “fundamental dimension of personality”, arguing further that in a world of extroverted pomp, introverts make up over a third of the human race!  It is not the pomp of extrovertedness that she critiques per se, but rather the inevitable downside view that the sensitive and serious are seen as undesirable, in both the popular mind of culture and business.

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Being Human: Christ to the Rescue

Christ is certainly no less concerned than Nietzsche that the personality should receive the fullest development of which it is capable, and be more and more of a power.  The difference between them lies in the moral method by which the personality is put into possession of itself and its resources – in the one case by asserting itself, in the other by losing it. . . . . We complete our personality only as we fall into place and service in the vital movement of the society in which we live.

Isolation means arrested development.  The aggressive egoist is working his own moral destruction by stunting and shrinking his true personality.  Social life, duty, and sympathy are the only conditions under which a true personality can be shaped.  And if it be asked how a society so crude, imperfect, unmoral, and even immoral as that in which we live is to mould a personality truly moral, it is here that Christ comes to the rescue with the gift to faith both of an active Spirit and of a society complete in Himself.

P.T. Forsyth