Book Review: The Introvert Advantage

By: Jane

Mar 21 2011

Category: introverts, Personality Types

7 Comments

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The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World.
Written by Marti Olsen Laney.

I’m not sure when I realized that I am an introvert. I don’t know whether I bought this book because I knew that I was one, or whether I made the discovery through reading the book. I know that for years I just assumed that I was defective, and that I just didn’t care much about people as a group. Individuals yes….a few. I always thought that when I die, there will be about eight people at my funeral, but they’ll be eight people who know me really well.

According to Dr.Laney, “introversion and extroversion are on opposite ends of an energy continuum. Where we fall on that continuum predicts how we derive our life energy.” Introverts expend energy when socializing, and recharge in solitude. Extroverts need others to to help them regain energy and deplete it by spending time alone. There is nothing wrong with either personality type. They’re just different.

However, the fact that there are more extroverts than introverts has a tendency to tip the balance toward an extrovert world, and leaves many introverts wondering what’s wrong with them. “It’s amazing how many people are introverts and don’t even know it…Our culture values and rewards the qualities of extroverts. America was built on rugged individualism and the importance of citizens speaking their minds. We value action, speed, competition and drive.”

Hmmm…I take my time, I’m not competitive at all, and “driven” probably isn’t a word that anyone would use to describe me. However, as an introvert, I think that I tend more toward quiet individualism than most extroverts, especially as I get older. Extroverts thrive on being social, a part of a group. They may tend to conform more to trends, styles, and the culture around them than introverts. Advertising tries to manipulate extroverts by implying that “EVERYONE needs one of these.” Introverts are not as prone to that type of manipulation, because they don’t really care what everyone else does. This in itself could be a reason that our culture values and rewards the qualities of extroverts.

You may be an introvert if….
You find yourself seeking solitude on a regular basis.
You need time to think, and therefore prefer writing or emailing to direct conversation.
You have an aversion to telephones. (Seriously.)
You dislike making conversation.
Parties are not your idea of fun.
Any of the previous 2 situations are exhausting for you.
You have a tendency to be analytical and have a rich inner life. (You spend a lot of time thinking and
meditating.)

You may or may not be a shy introvert. The two words are not synonymous.

I have a friend who generally eats lunch by herself, in the dark, listening to music. She fears that others may think that she’s antisocial, but that’s how she regroups and recharges for the rest of her day. She may be my twin, separated at birth, (and by about 25 years). I’d love to be in a (small) book group of introverts and extroverts combined, to read and discuss this book….just so some of the extroverts that I love….one at a time….could be reassured that I do want them in my life. I just don’t want to talk on the phone.

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7 comments on “Book Review: The Introvert Advantage”

  1. OK. I’m an extrovert. In fact, in the Meyers Briggs world, I’m off the chart. Then, some years later, I discovered the Enneagram, which is number based and I came up a 7, which is basically a rather “vapid” extrovert. Sigh. But one thing I love about the Enneagram is that it actually opens a way to enlarge one’s type, to expand that norm and to, shall I say it?, . . . change. And so, I’m working on some of those other traits and willfully spending time alone and delving more deeply into those inner riches of heart and soul. I’m still “out there” I know, but time alone is no longer as draining. I even seek it out. And for that I’m more balanced. Thank God for that.

  2. Hello Irmbrown! Very nice to make your acquaintance! I’ve not heard of the Enneagram before. Perhaps I should look into it, because I’m finding that the older I get the more introverted I seem to become, and like you, I seek balance. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  3. Irm, after reading your meditation today, and then rereading my post on the characteristics of introverts, it occurs to me that there may be some significant “introvert” in you. I’m referring to the rich inner life of thought and meditation, as well as the fact that writing is a solitary activity. Your Enneagram may be more accurate than Meyers – Briggs. Sounds like you’re almost perfectly balanced!

  4. I’m not so sure of my personality type. I definitely find myself getting lonely when I spend too much time on my own, but there are plenty of times that I would prefer the quiet and my own thoughts over the noise and conversation of a group.

    P.S. – I thought you were rather “eggs”troverted today. 😛

  5. When I think about what life would be like if I HAD to be alone all the time I know i’M not a complete hermit. But I definitely need some tiem to myself every day. Sounds like you might be perfectly balanced!
    As for today, there’s a big difference between being with a group of people that I’m totally comfortable with ,as opposed to any old group of people. :0)

    Omelet, anyone?

  6. Being mentally balanced can be a good or bad thing depending on how your individual perception. If you think of your conscious decision making like a scale, if your introverted and extroverted personalities are equal, then you may have a difficulty finding an emotion in which to function/react upon; on the other hand (you have fingers), if you are mentally balanced, and you tend to look at the bright side of life and bring out the best in people, then having a balanced brain will only complement your personality and others personalities as well. In the end it all comes down to an individual case paradigm (unless of course you completely understand every single aspect of every single persona)

    • Hey Blues, our power has been off for 17 hours and I’m ” typing” on my phone. I’m looking forward to replying when the Internet comes back on. Thanks for commenting… Talk to you later.


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