Size Doesn’t Matter (172): Quiet; Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

Size Doesn’t Matter (172): Quiet; Tales from the Shadowhunter AcademyQuiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Narrator: Kathe Mazur
Length: 10 hrs, 39 mins
Published by Random House Audio on January 24, 2012
Genres: Nonfiction, Psychology
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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four-stars

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the 20th century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.

Perhaps most inspiring, she introduces us to successful introverts--from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Finally, she offers invaluable advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a "pretend extrovert."

This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.

Someone (Heather?) told me years ago to read Quiet. I intended to, but nonfiction never looks as exciting to me as fiction, so I never got around to it, even after I bought the audiobook. Now I’m churning through my backlog of purchased but unattempted audiobooks, and the time finally came. I do rather wish I’d read Quiet when it first came out, because I think I would have benefited exponentially more than I do now. Not that it’s not useful to me now, but I’ve figured out a lot through introspection, and Quiet could have sped that process up.

I’ve known for ages (since I first heard of the concept) that I was an introvert. That part wasn’t news. It was still interesting to respond to the little quizzes and to reflect on the ways in which I do deviate from introversion. The most obvious example is that, while I’m mostly a textbook introvert, I’m not particularly quiet and I loved participating in class, so long as I didn’t have to give an actual, official presentation. I’m more extroverted than I knew!

What I personally found most useful about Quiet wasn’t so much the information on what an introvert is, because I already knew most of that, but on how American society is oriented towards introverts. In social life and business environments, the people who thrive are extroverted and introversion can be a detriment. Once, when I told a coworker that I was an introvert, he went “oh no you’re not!” like I’d just insulted myself massively. That moment made so much more sense with the information from this book. So many people fail to understand what introversion is, and society has placed a negative connotation on it. I’d especially recommend that anyone in a management position read it, as it could very much help in dealing with introverted employees.

Whether you’re introverted, extroverted, or somewhere in the middle, Quiet‘s an important read for understanding what American society expects of people. For introverts, it’s a bit of comfort to know that your way is normal and can be powerful in its own way. For extroverts, it’s a reminder to accept introverts and make use of their strengths.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (172): Quiet; Tales from the Shadowhunter AcademyTales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman
Published by Margaret K. McElderry on November 15, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 672
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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two-half-stars

Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. But the events of City of Heavenly Fire left him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows he was friends with Clary, and that he convinced the total goddess Isabelle Lightwood to go out with him…but he doesn’t know how. And when Clary and Isabelle look at him, expecting him to be a man he doesn’t remember…Simon can’t take it.

So when the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. His new self. Whomever this new Simon might be.

But the Academy is a Shadowhunter institution, which means it has some problems. Like the fact that non-Shadowhunter students have to live in the basement. And that differences—like being a former vampire—are greatly looked down upon. At least Simon is trained in weaponry—even if it’s only from hours of playing D&D.

Join Simon on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy’s illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. These ten short stories give an epilogue to the Mortal Instruments series and provide glimpses of what’s in store in the Dark Artifices.

Should I have known better? Absolutely. Do I regret it? Sadly, mostly no. At this point, I’ve basically accepted that, aside from the later TMI books, I will probably never be able to quit Cassandra Clare. *shakes fist at self and accidentally punches self in face*

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy features all the negatives common to Cassandra Clare’s writing, and all the positives too. She remains a bit too in love with her characters and given to random bouts of pretension amid the humor and banter. There is many a scene and plot that’s lifted pretty directly from Harry Potter. For instance, one of the flashbacks is about Tessa and Will’s son James, and it’s so obvious that James is Harry and Will is James, only, you know, Will’s alive. Speaking of flashbacks, indecorous infodumps take this form, and it’s such a sloppy mess in the midst of tales that are (almost all) from Simon’s perspective.

All of that said, I enjoyed reading this way more than I should have. It definitely ran long, and some of the tales were total throwaway trash that didn’t advance much of anything. Simon’s a nice character to focus on, and he’s past being a shit like in the later TMI books. Apparently he had his memories stolen by a demon? Simon’s jealoousy of himself is surprisingly compelling and well done. However, I will die on the ship Simon/George, and I really just can’t muster a singular fuck about his relationship with Isabelle. View Spoiler »

It shames me to admit it, but probably my favorite part of the whole thing was the chapter from Magnus’ perspective. He and Alec are the original ship that trapped me in this Hotel California of fiction. As much as I want to be able to pull on my vast reserves of haterade, it was admittedly disgustingly cute and funny that they adopted a warlock baby and all the Lightwoods turned up to coo. WHY DID THIS WORK ON ME? I AM SUCH TRASH. I mean, I laughed at it a whole lot (and the whole book really), but I also had a distinct feel goddammit. To balance it out, the whole Simon/Clary parabatai thing just annoyed the shit out of me, so that’s something.

LBR, we all knew what to expect from this. It delivers precisely that. Go ahead and read it if you want. I’m certainly in no position to judge, considering that I really want to read the Magnus novellas and the current series. There is no saving me; I am lost.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 
And now I want to watch Shadowhunters. Fuck.

3 responses to “Size Doesn’t Matter (172): Quiet; Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy”

  1. Heather says:

    Yes, that was probably me who recommended it 🙂 I remember really enjoying Quiet when it came out, but like you said, I have also done a lot of introspection since I read it, and I wonder if I would get as much out of it now as I did then. Introvert is definitely used as an insult sometimes (like my sister-in-law saying she was worried about her son being an introvert. I think I said something snarky in response, like “Yes, how dare he listen and think before he speaks, and how dare he want to spend time by himself for a little while. Gasp!”), and it’s so refreshing to see something that says there is nothing wrong with it; introverts just experience things different than extroverts.

  2. Nori says:

    Um…I’m lost to Cassandra Clare also. The show is really terrible. And I watch it any way. I literally go, “Why am I watching this?” every time. And have you read the Bane Chronicles? It’s worth it. I’m kind of super into her newest books because the characters are totally new feeling.
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