Review of How To Thrive As An Introvert by Erik Smith

It seems every fortnight I receive an email request to review a Kindle Book which must be because I am a Kindle author myself. Normally I just delete the request but this book was both free for four days and short (28 pages) I decided I would do a review.

The book is best regarded as success tips for the introvert. I have a real problem with the Extravert/Introvert dichotomy invented by Jung, popularised by Myers-Briggs, and used in this book. There is no doubt that there is a personality factor called Extraversion. Extraverts enjoy interacting with people, and are often perceived as full of energy. They tend to be enthusiastic, action-oriented individuals. They possess high group visibility, like to talk, and assert themselves.

Introverts have lower social engagement and energy levels than extraverts. They tend to seem quiet, low-key, deliberate, and less involved in the social world. Their lack of social involvement should not be interpreted as shyness or depression; instead they are more independent of their social world than extraverts. Introverts need less stimulation than extraverts and more time alone. This does not mean that they are unfriendly or antisocial; rather, they are reserved in social situations.

My problem is that Extraversion is distributed Normally. That means that two-thirds of the population are within one standard deviation of the mean. I am one of them. Myer-Briggs said that I was an Introvert with a score of 52% I, and 48% E. I regard myself along with two-thirds of the human population as ambiverts. The one-sixth at the high end of the Extraversion scale are Extraverts, while the one-sixth at the low end are Introverts.

The next problem I have with the book are two messages repeatedly stated in the book:

  1. Introverts are creative.
  2. Introverts are logical thinkers.

According to the Five Factor model, creativity is linked to the Openness to Experience Factor while logical thinking is linked the Neuroticism Factor. There are two key things to remember about the Five Factor Model: the Factors are distributed Normally and the Factors are orthogonal to one another (ie they are independent and do not correlate). So assuming truly creative people are in the upper sixth of the Openness Factor this means that only 2.8% of the population are Creative Introverts.

The same applies to logical thinking. This time we are dealing with the lower sixth of Neuroticism. These people are regarded as being particularly emotionally stable. They think logically rather than emotionally. Logical Thinking Introverts would also only represent 2.8% of the population. And Creative Logical Thinking Introverts would represent 0.4% of the population.

The tips suggested in the book are valid. The best way to develop as a public speaker is to just actually do it. Ditto being a networker. Ditto managing teams. Practice makes perfect as President John Adams used to say and it truly applies to developing social skills.

Anyway I gave the book 2 stars and I guess one benefit will be that no one will ask me to do another review.


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Chris Golis - Author


"Put in a sales perspective, I loved your presentation! I got a lot from what you talked about and I will read your book."

Peter Morris, Executive Officer, Lomax Financial Group

Your presentation on 'Lifting your Level of Emotional Intelligence" to 10 CEOs scored an average 8.9 out of 10 for the topic and 8.5 for the presentation which is great. A couple of the attendees gave you a 10 out of 10, and the comments were:

- Great presentation. Very informative.

- Excellent presentation.

- made me think.

Christi Spring CEO Institute. - web