Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength

Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength

4.4 29
by Laurie Helgoe
     
 

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Laurie Helgoe shows readers that they don't need to adapt and blend into the loud, outgoing extroverted portion of America. Instead, they can find ways to thrive as they are, to use introversion not as a weakness but as a source of power.

Overview

Laurie Helgoe shows readers that they don't need to adapt and blend into the loud, outgoing extroverted portion of America. Instead, they can find ways to thrive as they are, to use introversion not as a weakness but as a source of power.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“Most Americans, whether introverted or extroverted, have learned to look like extroverts,” writes psychologist (and introvert) Heilgoe in this well-written and well-reasoned analysis that challenges the perception of introverts as a silent, problematic minority. The author reveals that 57% of the U.S. population identify as introverts and are so commonly misunderstood because many of them have become adept at mimicking extroversion (becoming a “Socially Accessible Introvert”) to get by. Heilgoe encourages introverts to see themselves as perfectly functional and to fulfill their need for solitude with regular retreats and creating a private space in their homes. Heilgoe's book is wide-ranging and cross-cultural, invoking how other societies (particularly in Japan and Scandinavia) are more compatible with and accepting of introversion. Helpful sections details why introverts need extroverts in their lives and how extroverts depend on introverts for their artistic contributions and inner “richness.” The author's voice is vivid and engaging, and she skillfully draws real-life examples of awkward scenarios introverts find themselves in when forced to play a role in society or the workplace. Readers will find much insight, as well as a comforting sense of being understood and validated.
Library Journal

In a society where extroversion is valued, those who gain energy through solitude and reflection are seen as problematic. Introvert and author Helgoe (The Boomer's Guide to Dating (Again)) reveals the abundance of riches in the personality makeup of introverts and encourages those who are inclined to be them to embrace and enjoy these qualities. The author suggests how readers can build private space into their routine, make extroverted friends, respect boundaries, and dismantle the extroversion assumption of "the good life." This book serves as a good choice on this subject and is recommended for public libraries.


—Deborah Bigelow
From the Publisher
"It changed my life. No kidding. Dr. Helgoe's book opened the door to discovery that has helped free me be myself." - Sophia Dembling, author of The Introvert's Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World

"Like a modern-day Thoreau, psychologist Laurie Helgoe leads us to a tranquil Walden Pond within our soul, and shows us the blessings of solitude we can find there." - Stephen Bertman, author of The Eight Pillars of Greek Wisdom

"I love Laurie Helgoe's book. I just wish I'd had it when I was growing up; it would have reduced the number of decades it took me to treasure my own introversion. Now as I read each page I'm saying "Yes!"" - Josephine Humphreys, novelist and winner of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature

"Extroverts have to read this remarkable book too. It's not just that we'll better understand the other 50 percent of the population but that they have so much to teach us. The party always ends, after all. Being alone is unavoidable. Helgoe and the introverts among us know a secret: It's after all the music and dancing stops that we often become our most graceful selves." - Ethan Watters, author of Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche

"Laurie Helgoe's Introvert Power is The Bhagavad Gita for introverts....Laurie fans the embers of wisdom in each of us to honor yearnings that serve as both compass and anchor. I'm now giving myself permission to get a lock for my office door and replace my reading chair with something that would delight my younger self. I owe it to her." - Mary Hershey, author for children & young adults, co-creater of Shrinking Violets, Marketing for Introverts

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402234323
Publisher:
Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Publication date:
07/01/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
780,581
File size:
1 MB

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter One: The Mistaken Identity

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"He's thin and white...if he's tall he's got bad posture."
"Not particularly attractive, ungainly, with skin problems-would be first underweight and then (later in life) overweight."
"Nerdy."
"Geeky."
"Conservative style, neutral colors."
These are some descriptions of what an introvert looks like.

What is alarming is that these descriptions all come from introverts! When the same people describe themselves, the picture changes:
"My physical appearance is...exotic. Light green-blue slanted eyes and high cheekbones."
"Natural blonde."
"I'm overweight, tanned skin, big, round, and dark brown eyes."
"Somewhat tall, reasonably attractive considering age."
"Brown curly hair-I look like I'm from another country."

What stood out to me as I polled these people was the sterile and colorless quality of the archetypal introvert, contrasted by the colorized descriptions of the self-identified introverts. The stereotyped introvert is often seen as introvert by default when, in fact, introversion is defined as a preference. Introverts generally prefer a rich inner life to an expansive social life; we would rather talk intimately with a close friend than share stories with a group; and we prefer to develop our ideas internally rather than interactively.

So how have we jumped from these preferences to images of a cowering, reclusive weirdo? Iris Chang commented, "Whatever is not commonly seen is condemned as alien." We have lost our eyes for introversion. As we discussed in the introduction, introverts make up more than half of the population, yet we assume that introverts are an occasional deviation-the geeks in the shadows. Introversion, by definition, is not readily seen. Introverts keep their best stuff inside-that is, until it is ready. And this drives extroverts crazy! The explanation for the introvert's behavior-and there must be an explanation for this behavior, say the extroverts-is that he or she is antisocial, out of touch, or simply a snob.

Because introverts are trickier to read, it is easy to project our fears and negative biases onto this preference. And it's not just extroverts who do this. As my informal poll revealed, we often make similar assumptions about other introverts, and-most troubling of all-about ourselves! One of the introverts I polled is a striking beauty. She described her physical appearance as "OK." Another very attractive introvert described herself as "the status quo." These downplayed descriptions may reflect a tendency to focus less on externals, but we also tend to downplay our very personalities-the style we prefer. For example, do you ever jokingly or apologetically admit to being antisocial, or view yourself as boring in relation to your chatty associates? Do you beat yourself up for not joining in? Do you worry that something is wrong with you; that you're missing out; that who you are naturally is a problem needing correction?

Your nature is not the problem. The problem is that you have become alienated from your nature-from your power source. As Isabel Briggs Myers discussed in her book, Gifts Differing, "The best-adjusted people are the 'psychologically patriotic,' who are glad to be what they are."

For introverts this means, "Their loyalty goes to their own inner principle and derives from it a secure and unshakable orientation to life." But we have been shaken. To reclaim the power of introversion, we must first deconstruct the assumptions we make about who we are.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"It changed my life. No kidding. Dr. Helgoe's book opened the door to discovery that has helped free me be myself." - Sophia Dembling, author of The Introvert's Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World

"Like a modern-day Thoreau, psychologist Laurie Helgoe leads us to a tranquil Walden Pond within our soul, and shows us the blessings of solitude we can find there." - Stephen Bertman, author of The Eight Pillars of Greek Wisdom

"I love Laurie Helgoe's book. I just wish I'd had it when I was growing up; it would have reduced the number of decades it took me to treasure my own introversion. Now as I read each page I'm saying "Yes!"" - Josephine Humphreys, novelist and winner of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature

"Extroverts have to read this remarkable book too. It's not just that we'll better understand the other 50 percent of the population but that they have so much to teach us. The party always ends, after all. Being alone is unavoidable. Helgoe and the introverts among us know a secret: It's after all the music and dancing stops that we often become our most graceful selves." - Ethan Watters, author of Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche

"Laurie Helgoe's Introvert Power is The Bhagavad Gita for introverts....Laurie fans the embers of wisdom in each of us to honor yearnings that serve as both compass and anchor. I'm now giving myself permission to get a lock for my office door and replace my reading chair with something that would delight my younger self. I owe it to her." - Mary Hershey, author for children & young adults, co-creater of Shrinking Violets, Marketing for Introverts

Meet the Author

Susan Boyce earned her BA from the University of Rhode Island, then began a stage career as a song-and-dance new age vaudevillian. Her experience includes narrating documentaries, computer adventure games, and audiobooks.

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Introvert Power 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book!! I think more people need to realize that introversion is not only okay, but desirable. I highly recommend this book to all people who know or feel that they are truly introverts, but are trying to live up to society's standards of extroversion. I will no longer feel that something is wrong with me for being introverted, but instead I will embrace all the positive things about it. And there are many.
MRAM More than 1 year ago
The title captured my attention then it held if for a brief moment as I skimmed through. I bought the book based on humorous observations by the author; little did I know I would be quoting some of the phrases to my peers.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I do enjoy reading this book over and over again .once I find a book interesting I love to re read it.one ofmy favourites.highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! An eye opener on Introversion and Extroversion!  I have learned about why others and I act and feel in such social setting.   Embracing introversion can bring out the true strengths that one have not acknowledge, and can no longer express guilt for who we truly are.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this book much better than Quiet. It was more relatable to me. I have always felt wrong and guilty for being an introvert and after reading this book I realized that there is nothing wrong with me and is the other people who should accept introversion as something normal.
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Can I join?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
quickstar...result one/ later today. Please.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Go to first book and ask if you can
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