By Pieter De Wit

I’ve always been a person that prefers listening to speaking. As a child, I felt like I was the awkward, quiet one and that made me of less value than those who spoke loudly. But growing up, I discovered I was not alone, and apparently being a so-called “introvert” did not mean I was doomed.

Introverts might form a minority, but we have our own unique and precious characteristics. Understanding what it means to be an introvert is crucial in your path to self-discovery and the first step in detecting in which environment you can grow your talents and flourish. These five books will give you the insights you need to live a rich introvert life in an extrovert world. 

Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want To Come By Jessica Pan

At some point in her life, Jessica Pan found herself jobless, friendless and saying no to many invitations. While everybody must do what is best for themselves, Jessica wondered if she would feel better if she started to act more like an extrovert. So she decided to take on an experiment where she would try to live like an extrovert for a year. Luckily for us, we can lock ourselves up inside and read her book quietly on the couch. 

In a humoristic way, she describes the mental challenges she had to overcome when she first convinced herself to talk to a stranger on the London tube. She shares the inner pep talks that were able to change her mind to overcome social fear. Before she knew it, she found herself on a solo trip to a surprise location and picked up a new hobby: stand-up comedy! 

If you want to know whether she became a real extrovert, I advise you to read the book and discover how she ended up taking magic mushrooms in a Bulgarian forest. But her extrovert year definitely taught her some important lessons. She learned to overcome the awkwardness in social interactions and to make the first and second move on dates with friends she found on Bumble. 

Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come will give you new insights into gaining confidence and will help to improve your communication as an introvert. The book will make you laugh, and when you’re finished, you might just become curious about how it would feel if you picked up some of her advice. 

The Introvert’s Way: Living A Quiet Life In A Noisy World By Sophia Dembling

Sophia Dembling releases the negative association that introverts seem to have. She shares insights and encourages introverts to embrace their nature and appreciate their uniqueness. She’ll teach you that an introvert’s lifestyle is not “wrong” or lacking. 

You’re not shy; rather, you appreciate some quiet time. And avoiding large groups is not unfriendly, you just might find more value in quality one-on-one connections. 

With practical ideas for dealing with others, The Introvert’s Way will make you feel fine about yourself and let you appreciate your true self. Speaking to neuroscientists gave her insights into the difference between introverts and shy people. While shy people feel the need to socialise but find it intimidating, introverts have the skills but don’t feel the urge to do so.

If you want to stay up to date and receive tips and tricks for introverts during the pandemic and more, go to Dembling’s personal blog The Introvert’s Corner

Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking By Susan Cain 

This New York Times bestseller repels the idea that extroverts are superior. The extrovert ideal started in the twentieth century. Those who are socially most confident and those who can shout the loudest will gain the biggest audience and highest status. We make extroverts our bosses and our political leaders. But instead of only thinking about them as charismatic and confident, they’re often narcissistic and thoughtless. There is no right or wrong way, but extroverts have been overvalued and introverts have been undervalued for too long. 

Instead of making the grave error structuring our society around extroverts, we should all have a place to shine. Cain successfully illustrates introvert-driven stories from the perspective of Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak, J.K. Rowling and Eleanor Roosevelt. 

In Quiet, Cain wants to make the world a bit more introvert-friendly by showing that we all have our unique qualities. And this tolerance is exactly what the world needs. 

Introvert Doodles: An Illustrated Collection Of Life’s Awkward Moments By Maureen Marzi Wilson

Humour is the best medicine, and seeing the performance of a stand-up comedian, or watching a funny show, always helps me to relax and take things more lightly. Wilson’s doodles do exactly that for you while she takes you on her introverted journey full of awkward, funny and honest moments. In “introvert doodles” you’ll see the life of an introvert in an extrovert world in a new perspective and realise that nothing really matters. We’re all different, and that’s just fine, and funny, too. 

The Genius Of Opposites: How Introverts And Extroverts Achieve Extraordinary Results Together By Jennifer B. Kahnweiler

Jennifer B. Kahnweiler is finally putting all the pieces together. In The Genius of Opposites, she does not choose a side for introverts or extroverts, but she recognises that we all have our unique qualities, and if we want to achieve maximum success, we should learn to understand one another and find clever ways to work together. While the book focuses on the introvert-extrovert game, I think many ideas can be applied in various situations as well. Understanding and tolerance are one of the keys to unleashing the power we have as humans. This real power lives partially in all of us, and the human race can only be successful if we acknowledge that the whole is exponentially greater than the sum of its parts.

In a world that idolises extroverts, it’s refreshing to see literature that reminds us of the ups and downs faced by the other half. From funny encounters to awkward moments and silences, these books flip the script and give an honest, authentic perspective on what the world looks like through the eyes of an introvert. In a quiet, understated way, of course.