The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney

The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Trade, 330 pages, 2002

Rating: 9/10

Reason for Reading: I happened upon this one on Amazon and was intrigued by the title, being an introvert myself.

Synopsis: Laney explains the personality traits of introverts in contrast to extroverts, and goes through how introverts can use those traits to succeed in relationships, work, and social occasions in a world where the fast-paced extroverts make up the majority of the population.

Why you should read this book: Laney does an excellent job explaining how the mind of an introvert works, the problems they run into, and ways of dealing with these issues. Most of the ideas are simple enough, and small enough, that it wouldn’t seem so hard to put them into practice. Extroverts with close relationships with introverts could likely also benefit from a glimpse at how the mind of a loved one works. The organization of the book is good for both quick references and a slower read-through.

Why you should avoid this book: Though she does a good job with keeping fresh material coming throughout the course of the entire book, at times Laney can be repetitive, especially at the beginning when she’s trying to spell out what it means to be an introvert.

Opening paragraph:

Introversion is at its root a type of temperament. It is not the same as shyness or having a withdrawn personality, and it is not pathological. It is also not something you can change. But you can learn to work with it, not against it.

Fabulous quotes:

Most introverts have good people skills and enjoy wonderful relationships with their friends and family. In fact, many have professions that put them in touch with people, just as I do. So why do social gatherings often cause them anxiety and that ‘draggin’ your wagon’ feeling?
The answer has to do with the fact that socializing in groups requires huge amounts of energy. First of all, it takes energy to gear up to go out, because introverts tend to think ahead and imagine what it will be like for them later: They will end up feeling tired, uncomfortable, or anxious. Second, most introverted people need to ease into social situations gradually in order to get acclimated to the stimulation. Noise, colors, music, new faces, familiar faces, eating, drinking, smells – everything can cause brain overload. Finally, just physically being around a lot of people, friend or foe, drains energy from introverts.

Because introverts tend to speak slowly, with long pauses, they can appear hesitant and uncertain of their opinion. Actually, they give deep thought to their ideas. And since they value meaning, they want to be precise and select just the right words to express them. But this can drive extroverts nuts. Spit it out, they think.
In addition, introverts are willing to consider the value in the other person’s opinion. But what is actually openness can be misread as a lack of conviction in their own opinion.

Also recommended: Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers; The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Also by this author: The Introvert and Extrovert in Love: Making it Work When Opposites Attract; The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child.

Author’s website: theintrovertadvantage.com

© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2007


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