The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney

Introverts are a minority. Depending on which study you read, introverts make up only 25-30% of the population. However, 80-90% of writers are introverts. Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you’re one of them.

Laney starts with a definition of introversion. It has nothing to do with shyness or social awkwardness or a dislike for people. It’s all about how we get our energy. Extroverts are energized by being with people. The more social they are, the better they feel. Introverts are the opposite. We like other people and enjoy being with them, but it drains us, and we need alone time to recharge.

Introverts work well independently and have no trouble staying focused on a task without outward direction. We notice details. We are observers who are good at imagining ourselves in other people’s shoes. Introverts think through issues and have the courage to hold unpopular opinions. We have superior language skills. In short, introversion is the ideal temperament for a writer.

While we may have the perfect temperament for writing, we do not have the perfect temperament to deal with the rest of the world. Our culture values extroversion to such an extent, it’s considered the norm. Everyone falls somewhere on the introversion-extroversion continuum and it’s an inborn trait that can’t be changed. Even so, introversion is often considered wrong or unhealthy, and we are constantly pressured to conform to the extroverted world.

Laney covers the big issues in introverts’ lives, starting with relationships. How do an introvert and an extrovert stay married? Does it matter if it’s the man or the woman who is introverted? (Short answer: yes.) What are the special pitfalls of a two-introvert relationship? Laney then turns to the other big relationship in our lives–our children. She discusses how to parent introverted children, and how to cope if your child has a different temperament than yours. She also talks about work and socializing. Contrary to popular belief, introverts enjoy people and need to spend time with them. Laney shows how to store up the necessary energy to be a social person.

The title of THE INTROVERT ADVANTAGE, as well as its subtitle, “How to Thrive in an Extrovert World” is a bit over-the-top. Laney tells us how to cope, rather than thrive. It’s unrealistic to think we can do otherwise, since we can’t quiet the whole world. And while introversion is certainly an advantage for writing and other self-directed occupations, it can be a bit of a handicap in the rest of our lives. Still, understanding your inborn temperament is a huge step toward being a happier and more productive person. Often, being understood (and left alone) is all an introvert wants or needs.


rating: 5 stars


This book is best for: all writers


I recommend this book.

8 thoughts on “The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney

  1. I like this review…and this def sounds like just another innie-vs.-outie book (along the lines of “Party of One: An Introvert Manifesto”). Is the reason you rated this 5 out of (???) due to the fact that it doesn’t really seem to cover new ground?

    Thanks for posting this!

  2. Very interesting! I’ve always considered myself an introvert but had a hard time reconciling that idea with the kind of social life I have. But when the definition is based more on how we recharge, rather than how we interact, it makes a lot more sense to me. Thanks for the review – I’ll have to check this book out.

    • Thanks for stopping by the blog, Jessica!

      Once I understood that it was all about the energy–what depletes it and what restores it–my life made a lot more sense. For example I love parties (love them!) but I am always exhausted afterward. Now I know why.

      I hope you read The Introvert Advantage. I promise you’ll love it.

  3. Thanks for sharing this review. I’ve been wandering for ages whether to buy this book… I’m reading Susan Cain’s Quiet at the moment, but I think I will add this to my, next to read list

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