The Introvert Advantage

The Introvert AdvantageIntroverts are thoughtful, imaginative, tend to work independently and think outside the box. Introverts are keen observers and sensitive listeners. Introverts prefer to be involved intimately with one person and are often drawn to life’s spiritual side. Introverts are not antisocial, shy, or aloof.

But they are in the minority—outnumbered by extroverts three-to-one in a culture that values being an “Outie” over an “Innie”. And they are easily misunderstood, as often by themselves as by their extroverted families and loved ones. Here to change all that is The Introvert Advantage, How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, which combines Dr. Laney’s clinical experience, interviews with Introverts, research from neuroscience and related disciplines to piece together the physiological reasons why introverts and extroverts behave differently. This book helps introverts to understand, appreciate and manage their internal processing systems.

Dr. Marti Laney, an introvert herself who works as a therapist specializing in introverted clients, knows all the trouble spots and how to cope with them. There are the advantages and challenges of each kind of relationship: female Innie and male Outie, male Innie and female Outie, and both male and female Innies. Dating strategies, with one key bit of advice for that anxiety-producing first meeting: “Don’t try to be extroverted!”How to determine if your child is an introvert, and how to understand—and work around—his or her special needs, especially how to do so if you yourself are an extrovert. Seven guerilla socializing tactics, including the four phrases of small talk and fail-safe ways to get a break to cope with that “too-much” feeling.

Then there’s the subject of work, with a full chapter devoted to introversion at the office: how to let co-workers know you are participating at meetings, how to blow your own horn without feeling overexposed, plus bridging Innie/Outie communication gaps, four ways to ask for what you want, de-stressing your day, and a five-step plan to reduce overwhelm.

Shakespeare, of course, said “To thine own self be true”. For the introvert, finally, here’s how.

Comments (33)

  • David James
    September 19, 2011 at 11:32 pm |

    Hah!

    Where were you 50 years ago when I needed you!? I just came across the Mensa interview/podcast, and listened to that. Just downloaded the book from Amazon to my Kindle. After a lifetime of confusion, two marriages, and much misunderstanding in the workplace (although I did manage to evolve from social service caseworker to a bit more appropriate systems analyist, and was pretty successful) at age 64, I am just beginning to really understand why I’m “Dave the Hermit.”

    Best Regards,
    Dave James

  • karen
    November 28, 2011 at 3:51 pm |

    Thank you for your book which describes most of my personality that I am not actually sure before. Now I am trying to know myself and make an balance between myself and outside world lest my energy lose out.

  • sadie
    November 30, 2011 at 8:33 pm |

    Such a great book! I was introduced to this book at a conference for professionals in higher education. While most of us who attended the session are self-described innies, the outies who attended the session spoke to the power of learning how both introverts and extroverts function and think of one another. I recommend this to both introverts and extroverts…anyone who wants to learn more about themselves.

  • Petra
    December 3, 2011 at 6:57 pm |

    Thank you for your book which came to my hands I don´t even know how as I had never thought about introvercy before. It came to my life at point when I started to “losing it” as I felt there was something very different about me, didin´t know what and thought I was alone in the world with it. Your book changed my life to better and explained a lot of things about myself beginning in childhood and made myself reconnect to society (to some point). I also really appreciate your efforts to explain to community who are introverts, what are their strong skills and to remove the prejudices that come with this type of personality. It really hurts me and make me feel distant when I am in a group of (educated, adult) people and someone mentions a „weird“ person they met and automatically define them as introvert. I wish introverts were more accepted in the world as many of them in history have pushed the world forward…

  • Alexandria
    December 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm |

    I just have to say this is the most informative, inspiring book I have ever read. I have a BA in psychology, and I am a substance abuse counselor. With all of this schooling I was never taught about introversion and extroversion in the way its described in this book. I am an introvert and have always struggled with believing there was something ‘wrong’ with me. I now know that who I am is perfectly fine…maybe better than fine! This book was as if it was telling my life story to a tee. Also, This book has been a huge improvement on my abiltiy to counseling in helping me to look at my clients as intro/extros and start there in the treatment planning. This book not only changed my life, but it has changed how I help others to change their lives. This is a must read for anyone in the helping fields. Thank you Mrs. Laney for writing such a profound book.

  • Fernando
    December 16, 2011 at 5:06 am |

    Thank you so much for writing this book. I am 20 and with a strongly introverted temperament. I keep learning on this subject and it is helping me to understand myself and how not to get lost in today’s world as an introvert. As the Greeks said “Know yourself!”.

    Regards

  • Hannah
    December 18, 2011 at 12:48 am |

    Someone said something to me while at a cafe, he was observing me and suddenly said: You only speak when the conversation is worth contributing to, don’t you? He said it politely not sneering just commented on me. It lifted my spirits towards how I view my preference with socialization.

  • Pat McAnally
    December 23, 2011 at 7:01 pm |

    Found your site while “Easter Egging” on the web. Will download your book from Amazon to my Kindle. Knew I was in the minority, but didn’t know which one. Am going to email this to both my kids – hopefully they will quit nagging me to “be happy” according to their world.

  • Shara
    January 4, 2012 at 3:19 pm |

    I remember as a child being drug from therapist to therapist by my very extroverted mother insisting my introversion was a mental disorder and I MUST be cured of it. Thank you for writing this lovely book.

  • David Brownlee
    January 16, 2012 at 11:14 pm |

    Several aha’s indeed. Learned more about myself!! Yeah!!

    Question regarding transforming or changed whether on is an innie or outie? You state that this temperment cannot be changed! I can see that, but how does that work with character development, i.e. behavioral changes that are needed in a childs and/or an adults life? Upon thinking about this further, if a child is raised in a purely innie household the child will not only catch but be taught innie lifestyle patterns which cause much confusion. The innie may be truly an outie but had to adapt their temperment to their surroundings. Or vice a versa. Are temperments altered than if they are not changed?

    Thanks, and again koodo’s on the book. Our staff development director recommended this to me. Great introspective reading. I wish outies would grasp these concepts. :>)

    David Brownlee

  • Bianca
    January 19, 2012 at 5:56 am |

    I am 17 years old and go to a small school of mostly extroverts. For so long I thought I was weird and antisocial because I didn’t enjoy what most others enjoy. I am slowly trying to help my extroverted friends know that that’s just how I am! They have a very hard time with it though. This book is awesome, I really think it’ll help me through the next years of my life. I’m glad I found it early on!

    Bianca

  • cathy
    February 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm |

    your book has totally changed my life. thank you so much – i can’t even put into words how grateful i am!

  • Anthony
    March 16, 2012 at 4:25 pm |

    Thanks you very much for this book. I am not quite through it yet but already it has answered so many of my questions.

    In my 43 years i wondered what i was doing so wrong, my parents are outies, my wife is an outie and everybody i know and deal with are outies so i have had great difficulties in understanding what was wrong with me.

    I had the idea that i might have been an extreme innie but occasionally at public events i would become the life and soul of the party and i didn’t know how i could do it and thinking about it afterwards i was struck dumb with embarrassment at how i could be like that and it would be a year or longer before i could do anything like it again, but i just finished the section on party pooper or not and that has switched on so many lights for me i could shout with relief (just not in public).

    I have managed to cope with moving and living in other countries as i am now (Germany), and interacting has been so hard.

    I am so happy to have stumbled across your book, although completely by accident. I read a sample chapter and thought that sounds like me and proceeded to buy it and after reading the party section today i just had to write about how accurate and life changing this will be for me, now trying to get my outie wife to read an entire book will be the next challenge.

    Thank you so much …

  • March 31, 2012 at 10:16 pm |

    Dear Marti,

    I can’t thank you enough for writing this book!
    Growing up almost all my friends were extroverts and I and they always thought something was wrong with me, and they and I criticized me for it quite often.

    And then I thought it was probably because I was shy, and when I decided that I got more and more anxious around people.

    But now I’ve red this book and I completely accept myself right now, there is just just a sense of peace and well-being. It made a really big difference.

    I got this book from a blog from “Owl City”, that is a band. The singer of the band posted this on his blog and said it helped him really really much. I thought I’d let you know ;).

    Another great read (for other introverts) is ‘The Power Of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle. This book and that one are the books that both completely changed my vision and feeling of both the world and myself.

    Thanks! I’ll leave you with this quote:

    “Many people are looking for things that they already are”

  • Linda
    April 14, 2012 at 6:34 pm |

    This book was recommended to me very late in my life, after years of struggle and often misery. I have always known I was ‘different,’ but others seemed to think that if I just applied myself, I could change and be like the majority of people.

    I have been tested at 97% introverted and while I have learned to act in an extraverted manner, I find it exhausting and not rewarding in the long run. I have explained to supervisors what works best for me (time management, productivity, etc.), but am generally ignored. The attitude seems to be that if you can’t operate in an extravert environment, you should find another job. At my age (65), that is not so easy.

    I wish I had had this information when I was young; I’m sure my relationships, work and social lives would have benefited; not to mention my own growth and happiness.

    I’m so glad young people will have the opportunity to read this book; I think it will help them to be happier and more successful in general.

    Thanks for being there for all the introverts.

    • ntoto2
      August 22, 2012 at 7:13 pm |

      Linda; I’ve not yet read the book, but having read your comment I will do so. I am 60, and have always wondered why I didn’t like talking on the phone, going out, rather, staying home is a joy. I’m worldly, have traveled am not shy, can speak before a crowd, am popular, a leader etc., but am very reclusive and have been made to feel bad about that…even mentally ill some say of me. Oft I thought it the reverse! I’m an artist and writer in my retired age….and loving it. I am nearly always alone, but nearly always not lonely. Thank you again for letting me know others of my age are of my ilk.

  • April 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm |

    Interesting. I’ll be 65 in a few days and never actually thought about introverts/extroverts.

    Up until a few minutes ago I’d have said that I was an extrovert (and my best guess is that most people who think they know me would agree).

    Based on what I just read, it seems that I might actually be an introvert in extrovert’s clothing.

    Having spent a good deal of my life as both the center of attention and the invisible man sitting in the back row, I much prefer being invisible.

    While I don’t mind spending a little (make that very little) time with some (make that very few) people, life is simply too short to spend too much of it with most people.

    I’m leaving this comment to share a simple lesson life has taught me many times.

    If what you’re doing and the way you are make you happy, then you’ve found your path. If it doesn’t, then you haven’t.

    The idea of an introvert trying to be an extrovert makes about as much sense as a left handed person trying to become right handed.

    And the only thing that makes less sense than that is allowing others to decide how you should be and what you should want out of life.

  • May 6, 2012 at 2:58 am |

    I am a university boy from China, the society is the same as US that you described in your book The Introvert Advantage, most people are extrovert, they let me fell much pressure. This book gives me a suitable way to adjust myself to the world. Thanks, dear lady Marti.

  • June 13, 2012 at 3:06 am |

    Wanted to let you know I wrote a note about your book on lindaleith.com, and also a few weeks ago I presented the book to a group of 10 introverts. It was so great to read this book “about me.”

    By the way, if anyone is in therapy, make sure the therapist knows and understands introversion. I had one who didn’t and it was disastrous.

    Also, it’s pretty funny that people think I can’t be introverted because I can deliver speeches and perform outrageous comedy. When I do, I forget they are there. For me, it’s the interaction after the speech or the show that’s tiring.

  • Matheus
    July 3, 2012 at 2:26 am |

    Hi Mrs. Marti Olsen Laney, how are you? My name is Matheus and I’m from Brazil. I had to choose a theme to work at my first website because of my informatics course and I choosed “Solitude”. I wanted to show a different point of view from the common sense about Solitude and started to search about the subject, showing articles made by other people, different from each other (giving their credit, of course) and one of them is the yours. I would like to use this article in my website, creating a link in a special page straight to your article, with your name and the title of the article. Could I have the honor to use it with your permission? Thank you for your attention.

  • Kathy
    July 6, 2012 at 11:24 pm |

    Dear Ms Laney,

    I just finished reading your book and had to thank you for such an enjoyable read.

    A fellow introvert loaned it to me and I will be thanking her shortly.

    I am definitely an introvert but consider myself very lucky to be one. I love the fact that I can withdraw from the world for short periods and re-energize. My husband, who is an extravert, can never really rest like I can. He is always on hyper-drive, restless, and easily-bored. He doesn’t feel good about himself unless he is accomplishing something everyday. I, on the other hand, can stay in my pajamas all day when I need to, and don’t feel a bit guilty about it. Sometimes, I think he is a bit envious :)

    I believe my father was an introvert and my mother an extravert. She went out a lot in the evenings and I stayed home with my father. We spent many pleasant, quiet evenings at home. It didn’t seem to be a big deal to him that my mother went out. So, I think I was a very lucky girl to have great parents who seemed to get me. I have always been very confident despite the fact that I am not a social butterfly.

    As an adult, I work in the career development field. Your book will be the next thing I purchase for my library and I will recommend it to clients (and my daughter).

    Thanks again,

  • July 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm |

    [...] they’re getting me slowly back into the mindset. Currently I’m making my way through The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World and After Schizophrenia, both of which I’m [...]

  • July 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm |

    I am 28 years old and it is only in this last year or so that I have started to find information on the web about introverts, or more specifically, the good sides to being an introvert.
    I come across lists like this (http://www.carlkingdom.com/10-myths-about-introverts) and it just lifts my spirits when I have spent much of my life feeling guilty about not wanting to get out and socialise as much as I “should”. I love getting out and meeting friends, but not all the time and when I hear good things about innies it takes away that guilt and lets me feel free to be who I am and love myself for it.

  • Robyn Johnstone
    August 1, 2012 at 3:23 pm |

    Thank you SOOOOOOO much, Mrs Laney for your wonderful book. I discovered it after finding alist called Top 10 Myths about Introverts. it has been a life-changing experience! I have so appreciated the science behind the intro/extro differences. Like so many others, I thought there was something intrinsically wrong with me, and that I must have a personality problem that needed fixing. What a relief not only to discover that I am ‘normal’, but that there are so many others out there like me. Also, true to the intro character, I have been passionately spreading the word to others at every appropriate opportunity. Amazingly, people really DO want to know about this, esp. introverts of course.

    I will recommend your book (and ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain) at each and every opportunity. the younger generations ought to have the opportunity my generation never did – to feel GOOD about being introvert.

  • ThanksFromMe
    September 11, 2012 at 12:04 am |

    Thank you very much for this book! Now I know I am not going to be crazy anytime soon (since that was what my family says because I like alone time so much). It really helped me to understand myself better. Now, I know why I get so depressed sometimes and so anxious. Thank you for your tips, I will do them! Thanks! Thanks! Thanks!

  • October 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm |

    Just a little about book Introvert Advantage.
    I am 79 Years young and at last I realize it is alright to be introverted. I only wish I had
    it many years ago. Thanks!

  • October 18, 2012 at 8:50 am |

    [...] seems to be a lot of attention on introverts these days. Here’s an article and here’s a book on introverts. I wish I had been told that there was nothing wrong with being an introvert when I [...]

  • Dennis
    November 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm |

    I’ve just finished the book (5 minutes ago) and I want to thank you for sharing with us. Although I recognize a lot and I score very high on that test, I must say that some things do not apply at all to me. But to be honest, I also recognize the things I already learned in the extravert world. These things I learned may well be the reason why I don’t fully recognize myself. Which exactly proves your point: we can thrive in an extravert world. Some things take time (I’m 35) and some things take a lot of energy. I have also discovered that you can train yourself by character. Just hang in long enough and you actually can do more.

    Thank you.

  • [...] best, concise definition I’ve found comes from Dr. Marti Laney’s The Introvert’s [...]

  • October 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm |

    […] their energy. This doesn’t mean that they’re alone all the time. Balance is key as Marti Olsen Laney explains in her book, The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, […]

  • October 14, 2013 at 8:12 pm |

    […] conserve their energy. This doesn’t mean that they’re alone all the time. Balance is key as Marti Olsen Laneyexplains in her book, The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, “Introverts […]

  • November 21, 2013 at 2:51 pm |

    […] conserve their energy. This doesn’t mean that they’re alone all the time. Balance is key as Marti Olsen Laneyexplains in her book, The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, “Introverts […]

  • […] conserve their energy. This doesn’t mean that they’re alone all the time. Balance is key as Marti Olsen Laney explains in her book, The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, “Introverts […]

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