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A couple of weeks ago I noticed something that seemed strange at the time, but now I think I’m beginning to understand it.

As one of my on going interests is reading, I am a sucker for the end of the year lists of favorite books.  One list that I saw was quite surprising. Goodreads, the online site that focuses on what its reading members list and like, had as its top nonfiction book of the year a title that did not appear on any of the usual lists of the year’s best books that I had seen.

The book was Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, and it significantly out polled the second place book, Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers (and my most favorite nonfiction book of the year).

Many of the ‘best of the year’ lists (not the MillersTime one of course) are drawn up by book editors, book departments, or just a few individuals whose primary profession is to ‘evaluate’ books.  The Goodreads lists are totally reader driver, albeit readers who also are active in rating, and sometimes writing mini reviews of, what they’ve read.

Did these readers know something that many of the more well known reviewers didn’t?

Plus, my own daughter had urged me to read Quiet, and one of my best friends had, like my daughter, put the book on her list of best reads for 2012.

Well, I just finished Quiet, and I already know it will be on my list of best reads of 2013.

For me, sometimes one who exhibits certain introversion qualities, this book was one of those that help me see the world in a different way than I did prior to reading it.

And while folks who are or tend to the introversion side of personality will relish Quiet, the book is not only for them. Parents, teachers, employers, and couples (ones with partners who are different than themselves) will find much to appreciate in and to learn from Cain’s book.

I suspect more extroverted individuals will not take the time to read this book (probably they read significantly less anyway than more introverted individuals, tho I don’t know that for sure).

That would be a shame.

Our world, at least our Western world, values the extroverts, and our educational institutions and work places are designed to reward them, even though at least a third to a half of our population are of a different personality type.

Quiet seeks to address that fact, and, without being a polemic, it adds clarity to many aspects of all of our lives, no matter what our individual personalities may be.

Clearly, I should have listened to my daughter six months ago.


Susan Cain will talk about her book at Politics & Prose’s Sixth & I ‘venue’ on Feb. 6 at 7 PM.  I think tickets are still available. In fact, I think if you purchase the book through Politics & Prose, a free ticket to her presentation is included with the book purchase. You can also just purchase ticket(s) to the event  Use this link for more information.

You can watch and listen to Cain on this TED Talk, an 19 minute overview of what she knows and has learned. Her book, however, is even better.