In her analysis of personality types, author Susan Cain found that approximately one third to one half of all Americans is introverted, and that the others are extroverted. What is an introvert? Psychologist Carl Jung defines this person as “drawn to the inner world of thought and feeling”. What is an extrovert? This is the individual who is drawn “to the external life of people and activities”. But simple definitions don’t explain the complexity of these personality types and the need for both in our society. In the United States, where the extrovert is the ideal in the worlds of business, politics, law, religion, and more, the introvert often is denigrated. Yet Cain finds that introverts shine in creative activities such as the arts, sciences, inventions, etc. Introverts also can metamorphose into “pseudo-extroverts” when necessary in order to attain their goals. And just as American culture idealizes extroversion, societies in other countries differ in their introvert-extrovert makeup. European nations also lean towards extroversion; Asian nations towards introversion.
This book is in an easy-to-read format with many case studies and ending with fifty pages of annotated bibliographic notes. Susan Cain skillfully presents a wealth of information gathered from years of psychological studies and interprets it for the lay reader.