Friday, October 16, 2009

A Brief Book Review of Living Introverted

My friend Lee Ann Lambert published a book a few months ago called Living Introverted. She is also the host of the blog by the same name, which is an excellent resource. She reviewed my book last week and I wanted to return the favor by posting a review on Amazon. I also want to share it with my blog readers:

----A Nice Addition to the Introverted Family

I should say at the outset that the author and I are friends (since we are both introverts, all this means is that we have exchanged a few emails). But as someone who has written my own book on introverts and facets of the larger culture, I am knowledgeable on the topic and am committed to thinking and writing about it with excellence and with as much objectivity as possible.

When I read a book, I assess it on two criteria: 1. Does the book accomplish what it sets out to accomplish? and 2. Is what it accomplishes meaningful? After reading Living Introverted, I think the answer to both questions is yes, which is why I rate it with 5 stars.

While there are outstanding books on the topic (my favorites are The Introvert Advantage and Introvert Power), most of them are lengthy and detailed. What we didn't have prior to Living Introverted is a primer on introversion, an accessible, practical introduction for those people who don't want to start with a long, research-heavy book written by a Ph.d. The author does not purport to be a psychologist or a scholar or an expert (though I think she sells herself short, as she interviewed around 100 people and does have perhaps the best blog on the topic). She uses words like "tool" and "overview" to describe her book, and that is what it is. It gives all kinds of practical descriptions and suggestions for how to live as an introvert in a world that heralds extroversion. After helpfully explaining what introversion is and what it isn't, she helps introverts with socializing, relationships, work, raising children, public speaking, saying no, and surviving the holidays (!). My favorite chapter is "What Extroverts Need to Know," an exceptionally helpful and practical guide for how introverts and extroverts can live together and learn to compromise.

Not every introvert will relate to all of it, which is something the author readily admits in the introduction. I think the SJ part of her personality creeps into the pages; not all of us will relate to her description of introverts as "analytical" or "having strong organizational skills." But anyone reading my book will surely see the intuitive part of my nature shining through as well.

I think this book will be helpful for introverts looking for a practical, short introduction that they can immediately apply, and probably even more specifically for those introverts who are pretty deep into introversion and struggle with many social occasions.