Success as an Introvert for Dummies [book review]

Because of my work on the Quiet Changemaker book, I read a lot of books about/for introverts. The really vary in quality. But this one, Success as an Introvert for Dummies by Joan Pastor, PhD, is solid.

Succss as an Introvert for Dummies
The book is an overall guide to knowing more about yourself as an introvert, accepting yourself as an introvert, and providing tactics to build on your strengths and to know when introversion works against you. It covers all aspects of life–leadership, career, love, family–in high-level ways. Overall a very good introduction to life as an introvert for those who haven’t done a lot of self-exploration.

What works well

The language is very accessible. Where Quiet by Susan Cain can be dense and research-heavy, Success as an Introvert is light and conversational.

It covers all the main bases. As I mentioned above, it provides an overview of what being an introvert means in leadership, career, love, family, and just generally as an individual trying to make things work in an extrovert-centric world.

The author doesn’t suggest “overcoming” introversion. Some books oriented to introverts focus a lot of their advice on pushing people out of their comfort zones. Instead, Pastor focuses mostly on realities of introversion, where it works for you, when it might not, and how to use your strengths to overcome challenges.

Some great insights. My favourites include the sections “Breaking the rules — successfully” (on how introverted strengths can lead to better meeting facilitation), “When Playing the Extrovert Can Work”, and especially “Anticipating the Challenges of Leading as an Introvert”:

  • People may mistake your introversion for aloofness or arrogance.
  • People may mistake your introversion for a lack of self-confidence.
  • You may hit “people burnout.”
  • Multi-tasking can take its toll.
  • You may miss some of the facts you need to know.

What doesn’t work

Success as an Introvert makes what I consider a lazy mistake when it comes to advice (on leadership especially). Rather than sharing insights that are relevant specifically to introverts, Pastor just shares general tips that are relevant to everyone, regardless of the person, and doesn’t relate it back to introversion as strongly as I think she could. She covers things like “SMART Goals” and “Creating a contract with your team” which belong in more general personal/professional leadership books.

Perhaps the author makes the assumption that people reading this book aren’t also reading other self-development books. The “For Dummies” franchise may know its audience well and this may be a strategic move, but it meant that for readers like myself who do a lot of personal development reading, I had to fight the urge to skip sections.

Overall

A great introduction. If you identify as an introvert or recently received a suggestion that you might be an introvert, but haven’t done much reading on the topic, this is a great place to start. Also a great read for managers or family members of introverts.

Unofficial off-the-top-of-my-head rating?

B+. I got it from my local library, but I may considering buying it as a resource to reference.

 

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