About Me

Ithaca, New York
MWF, now officially 42, loves long walks on the beach and laughing with friends ... oh, wait. By day, I'm a mid-level university administrator reluctant to be more specific on a public forum. Nights and weekends, though, I'm a homebody with strong nerdist leanings. I'm never happier than when I'm chatting around the fire, playing board games, cooking up some pasta, and/or road-tripping with my family and friends. I studied psychology and then labor economics in school, and I work in higher education. From time to time I get smug, obsessive, or just plain boring about some combination of these topics, especially when inequality, parenting, or consumer culture are involved. You have been warned.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

#100: Introvert Power

I've fallen way behind in keeping track of the books I've read lately, so this barrage of posts will be even more cursory than usual.

Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength, by Laurie A. Helgoe (Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2008)

This book describes the power of introversion and how to take advantage of it. Helgoe addresses common beliefs about introversion, such as connections to mental illness, and societal taboos against solitude; the importance of private space, thinking, and observation; and how to bring aspects of introversion to the extroverted world. Helgoe, an introvert herself, is a writer and psychologist."

Table of Contents:
Part I: Antisocial, Weird, or Displaced?
  • Chapter 1: The Mistaken Identity
  • Chapter 2: Alone Is Not a Four-Letter Word
  • Chapter 3: Becoming an Alien
  • Chapter 4: "Anyone Else IN?"
  • Chapter 5: Meditating with the Majority: The Introverted Society
Part II: The Introvert's Wish List
  • Chapter 6: A Room of Your Own
  • Chapter 7: The Time to Think
  • Chapter 8: The Right to Retreat
  • Chapter 9: The Freedom of a Flaneur
  • Chapter 10: Inroads to Intimacy
Part III: Standing Still in a Loud World
  • Chapter 11: The Conversation Conundrum
  • Chapter 12: The Anti-Party Guide
  • Chapter 13: Why Did I Want to Work with People?
  • Chapter 14: The Downside to Self-Containment
  • Chapter 15: Showing Up for Relationships
Part IV: Outing the Introvert
  • Chapter 16: From Apology to Acceptance -- and Beyond
  • Chapter 17: Celebrating Introversion
  • Chapter 18: Expressing What's in There
  • Chapter 19: Moshing on Your Own Terms
  • Chapter 20: Introvert Power

My Take:

A bit extreme, though maybe that's because I always test out just this side of the E/I continuum, and the book may be written for folks further in the "I" direction than I am. Appreciated Helgoe's pointing out that introverts are slightly over 50% of the population; I'd always heard a much smaller figure myself. I also enjoyed the recommendations about not apologizing for one's introversion -- just plain up and admitting that you don't care for big, loud cocktail parties if that's the case, rather than making up some excuse and claiming that you really wish you could go. I do think she spends a bit too much time disparaging the extroverts, and paints them with a brush just about as broad as she claims they've pigeonholed introverts in the past. Another book called The Introvert Advantage (I think) which I recall reading a few years back was better, IMO.

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