My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Initial reaction: Considering I read this in one sitting shortly after being accepted for the galley, I devoured this book. It was a compulsive read and so interesting that I couldn’t put it down once I picked it up. So many spot on assertions about introversion – what it is and what it isn’t. I definitely appreciated the insight Helgoe had with respect to understanding and building upon the strengths of the introverted mind. It left me with a lot of food for thought because I am very much an introvert and I certainly benefited from much the author brought up.
I often find books on personality type and attributes fascinating, so it was little wonder that I picked up “Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life is Your Hidden Strength.” Unapologetically stated, I’m an introvert (pretty far up the scale too considering my MBTI). I grew up in a family of extroverts on variant degrees of the scale, so to be so far on the end of introversion and take those factors into consideration, it was little wonder why sometimes my mother would ask me as a child “Well why are you out doing such and such like your sister, aren’t you bored?” I’d tell her no and bury my face back in the book I was reading. (Or back to the computer screen where I would write a short story or worked on my very first novel ever. I wrote my first novel – over 50,000 words – when I was twelve, but no one will EVER see that. Mostly because it’s saved on a floppy disk that I don’t think many computers use anymore.)
Tangent aside, I found “Introvert Power” an insightful read because it not only knocks down so many myths about introversion, but it constructively talks about introversion in a way that you can use to build upon. Helgoe notes that America is an extroverted society and that many perceptions are lent into this “stereotypical” ideal of what an introvert is. I know I don’t fit the stereotypical profile in terms of some of the attributions people think of on introverts. (Well, I do wear glasses, but that’s pretty much it.)
It’s a relief to be told that as an introvert: there is nothing wrong with that. That we derive our energies from different sources than extroverts and are active in different ways – and that’s healthy. The narrative itself is inclusive and discusses ways that introverts not only take in details and things in life, but also how they use them to thrive. And most importantly, says that’s okay! I think this narrative would be very helpful to those who are not only introverted trying to figure out how to best use their energies, but also for extroverts who want to understand the introverted way of thinking and come to terms with how to function with/compliment that.
Helgoe also talks about the different kinds of introverts that function in society. There are some introverts who can fake extroversion very well and function in that measure, others may not be able to. Some introverts are extroverted in a certain type of activity (honestly, if it’s something any of us are passionate about, we can say that we take in energy from that), but may not be in another. Helgoe also talks about societal differences in introversion versus extroversion with respect to environment and culture. I found the narrative as a whole fascinating and really took so much out of it. It’s one I would highly recommend on the subject matter.
Overall score: 4/5
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Sourcebooks.