"Quiet" is a well documented, interesting and very informative book about introversion: what it is; its origin (genetic or not); why, where and when extroversion started becoming a dominant cultural ideal, so that it’s considered important to be an extrovert and troublesome to be an introvert; how much free will can change an inborn temperament; extroverts and introverts in leadership, at the workplace or at school, their different way of thinking, and so on.
The book is not only enjoyable and well written, but also useful because it helps to understand better the contemporary society and sometimes gives valuable suggestions to introverted people.
I don't think this can be considered a self-help book, and I'm glad because I can't stand them, especially the ones written by quacks, with their lists of pretentious and unlikely techniques with exotic names.
Even if Susan Cain is not a psychologist (she was a lawyer before writing this book), she clearly did a huge amount of research on the topic; she made a very technical topic not only easily understandable, but also exciting, summarizing the results of the latest scientific studies about the differences between introverts and extroverts, interviewing many researchers and university professors.
Also, for us introverts, reading this book is a bit like taking a small revenge after a life of daily oppression and humiliation in a world dominated by an extroverted culture who see us like flawed, second class citizens.
The writer shows very well the constant struggle for many introverts to fit in a society that pressures people to be more outgoing (very much in the USA but to some extent also in other western countries).
The idea of extroverts being better than introverts is a myth, effectively debunked in the book.
"Quiet" shows some good examples of shy and modest people doing extraordinary and valuable things, and some examples of extroverts who are overrated. However, the purpose of the writer is not to prove that introverts are better; actually the book shows that there is no better or worse, since some task are done better by extroverts, other tasks are done better by introverts.
There is a whole chapter trying to find an answer to a question I consider very important: "should we attempt to manipulate our behavior within the range available to us, or should we simply be true to ourselves? At what point does controlling our behavior become futile, or exhausting?"
I think the writer did a good job in discussing the possible alternatives and pointed out some valuable solutions.
A great book, at the same time enjoyable, scientific, useful and inspirational.