Award-winning silence not reserved for the Oscars

Did you catch the article about Girl Scouts’ 100th anniversary in last weekend’s Parade magazine?  My favorite change-is-good reference was the singularly 21st-century merit badges.  According to the GS website, Scouts can now achieve recognition for geocaching, entertainment technology, digital moviemaking, screenwriting, product design, and many such nontraditional pursuits.  All the more reason for you to justify stocking your freezer next time the cookies come up for sale!

Authors and publishers, too, are realigning classic concepts to current trends.   This recently acquired selection in the library’s New Nonfiction collection is from Dale Carnegie & Associates, Inc.: How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age.   Astrology and cookbooks are two perennially popular topics here, so this 2012 offering should find an audience:  Lobster for Leos, Cookies for Capricorns: an Astrology Lover’s Cookbook.

With her gutsy new memoir about rearing two autistic sons, independent filmmaker Jeni Decker revisits both a timely concern of recent years and a comic success from David Sedaris.  Titled I Wish I Were Engulfed in Flames:  My Insane Life Raising Two Boys with Autism, Decker’s book offers a candid take on what is generally rendered as a solemn undertaking.

Another theme receiving an overdue re-think involves approximately one third of the population:  introverts.  According to Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, those born with an introverted constitution are generally thought to possess “a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology”. 

Cain observes that Western culture actively rewards extroverts; she seeks to promote the merit of introverted modes.  Psychologists have noted that these behaviors–listening, reflection, analysis, sustained attention–offer great value in the workplace.  Cain notes that introverts manifest high degrees of innovation and creativity.  Forbes’ photo gallery of World’s Most Famous Introverts includes, among others, Warren Buffett, Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Steven Spielberg, J.K. Rowling, Larry Page (co-founder of Google) and Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple).

An introvert myself, I was nonetheless surprised (pleasantly) by some assertions in articles I found online via the library’s Academic Search Complete database (including “Just Be Quiet” in the Jan/Feb 2012 Psychology Today,” Introverted Talent in America, Buried by the ‘Influence Score'” in in the 10/7/2011 Christian Science Monitor, and “In Quiet Praise of Introverts” from the 1/24/2012 USA Today). 

Amazing strides forward could be accomplished if extroverts and introverts alike devoted a bit more effort to appreciate and emulate one anothers’ gifts.  Those of you who have maintained successful life partnerships with a member of the opposite persuasion know what I mean.

My husband delights in pointing out how frequently, in the course of reporting some heinous crime, newscasters employ the expression, “Neighbors described him as a quiet man….”

Though not a psychologist, I can personally report a high correlation between introversion and sense of humor.

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