The Introvert’s Complete Career Guide: A book review by Bob Morris

The Introvert’s Complete Career Guide: From Landing a Job, to Surviving, Thriving, and Moving on Up
Jane Finkle
Career Press (February 2019)

People never underestimate you without your permission.

In Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain examines the “Extrovert Ideal” (i.e. “the omnipresent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight”), being or at least seeming “cool,” collaborative innovation, and being a more “assertive” student in the classroom. Historians’ accounts and media coverage must share at least some of the blame for widespread but remarkably durable misconceptions about eminent persons such as Warren Buffett, Dale Carnegie, Albert Einstein, Mohandas Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Steven Spielberg, and Steve Wozniak. However great their impact on others may be, all are (or were) essentially introverted. What else do they share in common? “They are renowned for being thoughtful, indeed reflective, tending to take more time than others do to make sound decisions and to reach correct conclusions.”

In her book, Jane Finkle offers an abundance of material that can help almost anyone to understand the relevance of introversion and extroversion to personal growth and professional development. On average, a workforce probably has about 30% whose extroverted tendencies are dominant, about 30% who whose introverted tendencies are dominant, and about 40% whose tendencies are almost equally balanced, given the given situation. A combination of nature and nurture comes into play.  Also prior experiences that discourage or encourage speaking truth to power, for example, in a moral crisis.

All great leaders insist on being told what they need to know, not what they may prefer to hear. Those who are more introverted than extroverted tend tend to be more candid, less obsequious; more thoughtful, less impulsive; and more concerned about doing what is right rather than what may be expedient.

I think this book will be especially helpful to three groups of people: those who need to temper their extroverted tendencies with restraint, those who need to overcome their introverted tendencies by being more out-spoken, and those who supervise them. In a phrase, “Different strokes for different folks.”

All that said, my favorite advice in this context is provided by Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”



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