So, you’re an introvert. Isn’t that the same as being shy, or socially anxious? Isn’t it a handicap in a society that values extroversion? No way, says Amber Keyes in her new book The Advantage of Being an Introvert in an Extrovert World. Instead, Keyes looks at the positive aspects of being an introvert. Introversion is a popular book topic lately, though many titles tend to be heavy on research and light on practical advice. Keyes supplies the advice. Her concise e-book may not cover the history of psychology to great depth, but it’s clearly intended as more of a how-to manual.
I recognized myself in Keyes’ personal stories about how being an introvert has affected her life, and how she came to celebrate the trait rather than hide it. I smiled in recognition when she addressed issues near and dear to an introvert’s heart, like how to survive networking events, and the dreaded “small talk” that accompanies them. (She suggests introverts lean on their natural ability to listen and let the extroverts do the talking! Brilliant!)
Keyes doesn’t claim that introverts can avoid adapting to society’s expectations. In fact, she provides tips for what to do when you have to act as if you’re extroverted. Her refreshing take on this is that it doesn’t mean becoming a different person. Instead, she acknowledges that at some point you’ll have to attend a brainstorming session or a cousin’s wedding . Keyes gives you the tools to make it work.
Reviewed by Sheila M. Trask for Readers Favorites April 2013