The Introvert Advantage: Making the Most of Your Inner Strengths

The Introvert Advantage: Making the Most of Your Inner Strengths

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by Marti Olsen Laney

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At least one out of four people prefers to avoid the limelight, tends to listen more than they speak, feels alone in large groups, and requires lots of private time to restore their energy. They're introverts, and here is the book to help them boost their confidence while learning strategies for successfully living in an extrovert world.

After dispelling common


At least one out of four people prefers to avoid the limelight, tends to listen more than they speak, feels alone in large groups, and requires lots of private time to restore their energy. They're introverts, and here is the book to help them boost their confidence while learning strategies for successfully living in an extrovert world.

After dispelling common myths about introverts-they're not necessarily shy, aloof, or antisocial—The Introvert Advantage explains the real issues. Introverts are hardwired from birth to focus inward, so outside stimulation-chitchat, phone calls, parties, office meetings-can easily become "too much."

The Introvert Advantage dispels introverts' belief that something is wrong with them and instead helps them recognize their inner strengths-their analytical skills, ability to think outside the box, and strong powers of concentration. It helps readers understand introversion and shows them how to determine where they fall on the introvert/extrovert continuum. It provides tools to improve relationships with partners, kids, colleagues, and friends, offering dozens of tips, including 10 ways to talk less and communicate more, 8 ways to showcase your abilities at work, how to take a child's temperament temperature, and strategies for socializing. Finally, it shows how to not just survive, but thrive-how to take advantage of the introvert's special qualities to create a life that's just right for the introvert temperament, to discover new ways to expand their energy reserves, and even how, when necessary, to confidently become a temporary extrovert.

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Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
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Read an Excerpt

Self-Assessment for Introverts

Take the test for introversion on a day when you are feeling relaxed and not stressed out. Pick a cozy nook where you won't be interrupted. Consider each statement in terms of what is generally true or false for you, not how you wish you were or how you are some of the time. Don't analyze or think too deeply about each statement. Your first impression is usually the best. For an outside view of yourself, it can be enlightening to have a partner or friend answer for you. Compare your results with your friend's score. If the two tallies differ, talk about both of your views.

Answer the following questions T or F, then add up your True answers and check the scoring at the end of the list to see if you're an introvert, fall in the middle of the continuum, or are an extrovert.

— When I need to rest, I prefer to spend time along or with one or two close people rather than with a group.

— When I work on projects, I like to have larger uninterrupted time periods rather than smaller chunks.

— I sometimes rehearse things before speaking, occasionally writing notes for myself.

— In general, I like to listen more than I like to talk.

— People sometimes think I'm quiet, mysterious, aloof, or calm.

— I like to share special occasion with just one person or a few close friends, rather than have big celebrations.

— I usually need to think before I respond or speak.

— I tend to notice details many people don't see.

— If two people have just had a fight, I feel the tension in the air.

— If I say I will do something, I almost always do it.

— I feel anxious if I have a deadline or pressure to finish a project.

— I can "zone out" if too much is going on.

— I like to watch an activity for a while before I decide to join it.

— I form lasting relationships.

— I don't like to interrupt others; I don't like to be interrupted.

— When I take in lots of information, it takes me a while to sort it out.

— I don't like overstimulating environments. I can't imagine why folks want to go to horror movies or go on roller coasters.

— I sometimes have strong reactions to smells, tastes, foods, weather, noises, etc.

— I am creative and/or imaginative.

— I feel drained after social situations, even when I enjoy myself.

— I prefer to be introduced rather than to introduce others.

— I can become grouchy if I'm around people or activities too long.

— I often feel uncomfortable in new surroundings.

— I like people to come to my home, but I don't like them to stay too long.

— I often dread returning phone calls.

— I find my mind sometimes goes blank when I meet people or when I am asked to speak unexpectedly.

— I talk slowly or have gaps in my words, especially if I am tired or if I am trying to speak and think at once.

— I don't think of casual acquaintances as friends.

— I feel as if I can't show other people my work or ideas until they are fully formulated.

— Other people may surprise me by thinking I am smarter than I think I am.

Add up the number of Trues. Then read the following to see where you fall.

20-29 True: Pretty darn introverted. As a result, it is extremely important for you to understand how to keep your energy flowing and how our brain processes information. You relate to life through your ideas, impressions, hopes and values. You are not at the mercy of your external environment. This book can help you use your inner knowledge and create your own path.

10-19 True: Somewhere in the middle. Like being ambidextrous, you are both introverted and extroverted. You may feel torn between needing to be alone and wanting to be out and about. So it's very helpful to notice when and how you consistently feel more energized. You judge yourself by your own thoughts and feelings and by the standards of other people. This gives you a broad view, but at times you may get caught up in seeing both sides of a situation and not know where you stand. It is important to learn to assess your temperament so you can maintain your energy and balance.

1-9 True: You are more extroverted. You judge yourself in the light of the values and reality of others. You work within the bounds of what exists to bring about change. As you reach midlife and your body slows down, you may surprise yourself by wanting to take a break from socializing or needing time to yourself and then not knowing what to do. You can develop techniques to help yourself remember what is best for you to do when you need solitude. To do this you will have to balance your extroverting skills by learning more introverting skills.

Meet the Author

Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D., is a researcher, educator, author, and psychotherapist. One of America’s foremost authorities on introversion, she speaks and leads workshops on the topic in the United States and Canada. She and her extroverted husband have two grown daughters and four grandchildren. They live in Portland, Oregon.

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The Introvert Advantage 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Do you often think of something you should have said after the opportunity has passed? Are others often surprised, finding you to be smarter than they first thought? Has anyone ever said you momentarily looked as if you were in a different world? Do you notice the small details others don't see or many sides of an issue? If so, you may be part of the 20% population known as an 'introvert' personality type. (Although I suspect there may actually be more than 20% who have been conditioned by our predominantly extroverted orientated society to fit themselves within the extrovert range of the continuum.) If you are an introvert (and there is a test within this book to find out), you will find your qualities celebrated and appreciated. You will feel vindicated and validated as Dr. Laney dispels myths and misconceptions, such as being shy, antisocial, being a self-absorbed loner, reclusive, retiring, and the myriad of other distortions society (including introverts themselves) may have about introvertism. The main difference between an introvert and an extrovert is in how the two types gain their energy. Introverts focus inward to gain energy and become drained of energy from external sources. Extroverts must draw their energy from outward sources and become drained when they are alone. With their focus outside of themselves, extroverts like to experience a wide variety of stimuli, knowledge and experiences, whereas an introvert enjoys a more in-depth focus. Extroverts take in information but don't process it or expand it. When introverts take in information, they feel a need to reflect on it and expand it for depth, delving deeply for richness. Although extroverts may judge themselves in the light of the values and reality of others, an introvert is not at the mercy of such external environment. Introverts are independent thinkers and idle chit-chat can drain their energy, giving nothing in return. Because extroverts don't generate as much internal stimulation as introverts, they must get it from external sources. Introverts need fewer relationships than extroverts but they like more connection and intimacy within their relationships. Some of the other hallmark traits of introverts are: conscientiousness, good listeners, having the ability to think outside the box, ability to persistently focus well for long periods of time, to notice details others miss, ability to take all sides of an issue into account and being creative in imaginative ways. With at least 60% of the intellectually gifted identified as introverted, there is a definite correlation between introversion and intelligence. The example of Einstein's earliest education proves that a harsh environment can impair an introvert and undercut their potential. Introverts can access their talents, like the ability to concentrate and question, only in a fitting environment. And as Dr. Laney also points out, 'Unless they can reduce outside stimulation, their inner thoughts, feelings, and impressions will never bubble up to the surface.' One chapter of 'The Introvert Advantage' features a fascinating study of brain research and mapping results. Blood travels along different pathways of the brain between introverts and extroverts and the dominant neurotransmitters used are different as well. Other chapters are written about relationships and the pros and cons of the paired combinations of introverts and extroverts, children and their identifiable differences and strategies for helping them succeed, as well as all sorts of tips, tactics and methods for helping yourself nurture this special personality to your fullest advantage. True to form with this statement, 'The trick is to help them understand themselves without developing avoidance as a way to cope,' Dr. Laney helps without being patronizing, overly simple or indulgent, and she is very thorough in her suggestions for even those most introverted along the spectrum. Although anyone can benefit fro
MiddleagedSFfan More than 1 year ago
As I am a full blown introvert, I enjoyed reading this book because it let me know I was "normal." Now I wish my husband, children (all adults), friends, and work associates would read it also. I am tired of getting poor employee reviews because I don't reach out and hang around the water cooler with my fellow employees.
pdc More than 1 year ago
As an Introvert, I found this book to be both informational and validating. It helped me to see how to communicate my needs and differences with the Extroverts in my life. It was enlightening to discover that I am not alone in how I navigate the world and interactions with others. I was so inspired by the book, I am giving a copy to my sister.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Until I read this book I felt something was wrong with me, basically because people were always telling me there was something wrong with me. Now I know this is just how I am and it is OK. I am not anti-social. I am not rude, I am not stand-offish, etc... I just work in a different way than the 'extrovert world'. I don't normally write reviews on-line for whatever reason. I guess I feel if there is a good product out there it should be that way and we shouldn't need to celebrate it. This is different. While this book does not really give you tools (which is why I gave it 4 stars) to deal with the extroverted world it helps you understand it is OK not to be an extrovert in an extrovert world. I would recommend this book to anyone who has been told they are anti-social when all they want is some peace and quiet time for themselves.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book really helped me realize that I'm not anti-social, and I shouldn't let others shame me for not wanting to attend social functions all the time. It's helped me better understand relationships at home and at work, and this new knowledge about myself has helped these relationships to improve. Highly recommended for everyone.
Bikerdog More than 1 year ago
If you are an introvert or have a loved one thatis this book will help you understand why you are the way you are and why it's not a bad thing to be an introvert. It will show you how to be a introver in a extrovert world. A slow read on the second half but very informative.
insomuchas More than 1 year ago
If you want to understand more about why you feel the way you do read this book. If it doesn't matter don't bother. I am the true introvert and always always want to understand everything. This book was recommended to me by a friend. I didn't read it right away but after a few chapters it really became interesting to the point I was reading it outloud to my signfcnt-other. Very thought provoking. We both took the test too.
JeremyK More than 1 year ago
This book provides great insight into introversion. It is difficult for an introvert to function in an extroverted world if the introvert doesn't know that they have different personal preferences than extroverts, and THAT IS OK! I found myself, slightly introvert, wondering why I didn't always enjoy the same things my friends did? Was there something wrong with me? Why didn't I feel like going to the bar *ALL* the time? I believe this book helped me in answering those questions: 1. No, there's nothing wrong with me. 2. Because I need quiet time to "recharge" the batteries and they need stimulation to do the same. I highly recommend this book to anyone -- introverts to understand themselves and extroverts to understand introverts.
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
Look around you: The world was surely made by, and exists for, extroverts. It is loud. It is fast. It values aggression. It rewards push. These are all extrovert characteristics. In such a world, introverts are sojourners. How can these quiet, contemplative, reclusive personalities get by? Learned psychoanalyst and proud introvert Marti Olsen Laney has some thoughts on the subject. She spells them out in her guidebook for introverts. She details introversion, what the introverted temperament involves and why it exists. The book provides some helpful approaches and techniques introverts can use to exist and even thrive in an extrovert world. getAbstract concurs that audacious extroverts make the external world go around and that thoughtful introverts help them understand the internal world, or the ¿tides of day and night,¿ as poet and introvert Dante Gabriel Rossetti described it. If you are an introvert or want to understand one better, turn to Laney¿s insightful book on introversion. She is, quietly, a leading authority on the topic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have already put some thoughts on what is happening with my own introvert self. This book confirmed all of my self-made theories about myself and explain it scientifically! Now I am way relieved (and even proud) with my self being this way :) And though this book is written for Introverts to know ourselves more, what i learned the most is how extrovert think and act, and how understanding it made me respected them more now. I previously squint at how can they live that way, and thought they do it because 'the world' tell them to, when instead it was actually a psychological (even physiological) differences between us. With my families being mostly also introverts, this was a perfect gift for them, they also love this book. Cheers
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A physician recommended this book. Try to understand and be accepting of others, there is no "right"vert.
MaxwellB More than 1 year ago
This book should be required reading for everyone --- starting in high school.  How exhilarating it would have been at a younger age to have people understand me, and eliminate years of wondering if there was something wrong with me.  Have had this book for quite awhile, but never got around to reading.  I'm just so very happy & grateful that I finally picked it up!  Thank you, thank you to Dr. Marti Olsen Laney.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
tiffsb More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it! One of the best books that really helped me understand myself and other introverts. I have already loaned it and bought a few copies for friends!
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Eileen82 More than 1 year ago
This a great book for those in work environments that celebrate extrovert behaviors. I felt validated for who I am and I have purchased the book for other fellow introverts. We have our own superpowers!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago