The most overlooked books about introverts

Marcia Yudkin Author Of Marketing for Introverts
By Marcia Yudkin

Who am I?

A bookworm and word lover from the get-go, I always pushed back a bit on society’s expectations that we all act like extroverts. I studied philosophy at school, taught it for a few years, but quit academic life to become a freelance writer and then a marketing expert. When I took a personality test sometime around 2008 and realized I was an introvert – and a fairly extreme one at that – I began seeing more and more ways in which our culture misunderstands and disparages introverts. Now retired from marketing, I explore prejudices against introverts and introverts’ special talents in my weekly newsletter, Introvert UpThink.


I wrote...

Marketing for Introverts

By Marcia Yudkin,

Book cover of Marketing for Introverts

What is my book about?

Do you enjoy being alone? Prefer keeping your personal life to yourself? Hate small talk? Wish the people you do business with would stop yakking and get to the point? If so, you may have been sold a bunch of malarkey when it comes to bringing in customers. Contrary to the stereotype in our culture, introverts can excel at marketing.

Marketing for Introverts describes dozens of ways in which introverts can approach networking, publicity, getting published, speaking in public, and other common marketing activities while being true to their personality. Discover how you can respect your inborn preferences and still become an ace marketer.

The books I picked & why

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Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto

By Anneli Rufus,

Book cover of Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto

Why this book?

A brilliant book that debunks damaging myths about people who enjoy being off by themselves. It contains a devastating takedown of the misconception that mass killers are usually discontented introverts. Instead, people like the Unabomber and school shooters wish they fit in better with society and do not resemble those who are loners by choice. Anneli Rufus argues that true loners like Isaac Newton, Michelangelo, Haruki Murakami, and Rene Descartes have contributed immeasurably to our civilization.

Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto

By Anneli Rufus,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Party of One as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Buddha. Rene Descartes. Emily Dickinson. Greta Garbo. Bobby Fischer. J. D. Salinger: Loners, all,along with as many as 25 percent of the world's population. Loners keep to themselves, and like it that way. Yet in the press, in films, in folklore, and nearly everywhere one looks, loners are tagged as losers and psychopaths, perverts and pity cases, ogres and mad bombers, elitists and wicked witches. Too often, loners buy into those messages and strive to change, making themselves miserable in the process by hiding their true nature,and hiding from it. Loners as a group deserve to be reassessed,to claim…


Introvert: The Friendly Takeover

By Linus Jonkman, Anders Sjöqvist, Andreas Lundberg (editor), Pär Wickholm (illustrator), Jan Salomonsson (translator)

Book cover of Introvert: The Friendly Takeover

Why this book?

I loved the relaxed, on-point tone of this book about the experience of being an introvert, full of anecdotes that flip the switch on the ways society caters to extroverts. The author, who is Swedish, tells a hilarious story about how he was supposedly punished during his military service by not being allowed to join the rest of his unit on their raucous bar night out. In fact he was relieved to finally have some time to himself when he could read a book and listen to quiet music. This book would make a terrific gift for someone in your life who you wished understood introverts better. 

Introvert: The Friendly Takeover

By Linus Jonkman, Anders Sjöqvist, Andreas Lundberg (editor), Pär Wickholm (illustrator), Jan Salomonsson (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Introvert as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do you think before you speak, or speak before you think? Does it make you uncomfortable when sales clerks approach you, or is that just another reason why you enjoy shopping? Do you do your most creative work alone or in groups?

These days, “outgoing and flexible” seem to be the most in-demand characteristics in the labor market. Social skills have come to be valued more than professional expertise, and the squeaky wheel tends to get the grease. We live in an age when reserved, thoughtful, and quiet characteristics have come to be classified as mental disorders, and introversion is…


Italian Shoes

By Henning Mankell,

Book cover of Italian Shoes

Why this book?

This novel explores the world of a surgeon who has spent 12 years in self-imposed isolation, and describes what propels him back into human connection. Some Amazon reviewers slammed the book as “sad and depressing,” or said it was full of “pathetically dysfunctional people.” They must have been extroverts, unable to emphathize with someone who had separated from society. I found the book touching, relatable, and uplifting. The author is famous for writing the Wallender detective series, but this is a stand-alone volume.

Italian Shoes

By Henning Mankell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Italian Shoes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the prizewinning "master of atmosphere" (Boston Globe) comes the surprising and affecting story of a man well past middle age who suddenly finds himself on the threshold of renewal.

Living on a tiny island entirely surrounded by ice during the long winter months, Fredrik Welin is so lost to the world that he cuts a hole in the ice every morning and lowers himself into the freezing water to remind himself that he is alive. Haunted by memories of the terrible mistake that drove him to this island and away from a successful career as a surgeon, he lives…


Norwegian Wood

By Haruki Murakami,

Book cover of Norwegian Wood

Why this book?

All of the five or six novels of Murakami’s that I’ve read feature an introverted protagonist not quite at home in the world, someone who wonders about reality and latches on to other strange people. Norwegian Wood, named after a song by the Beatles, may be the most accessible and this-worldly of his books.  It’s a coming-of-age story about a Japanese college student who falls in love at the end of the 1960s and never quite resolves his feelings. But after you read Norwegian Wood assuming you like it – be sure to go on to Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore and IQ84, which I feel is his masterpiece.

Norwegian Wood

By Haruki Murakami,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Norwegian Wood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

DISCOVER THE SHORT STORY COLLECTION THAT GAVE THE WORLD DRIVE MY CAR, THE BAFTA AND OSCAR WINNING FILM

A dazzling Sunday Times bestselling collection of short stories from the beloved internationally acclaimed Haruki Murakami.

Across seven tales, Haruki Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone. Here are vanishing cats and smoky bars, lonely hearts and mysterious women, baseball and the Beatles, woven together to tell stories that speak to us all.

Marked by the same wry humour that has defined his entire body of work, in…


Correction

By Thomas Bernhard,

Book cover of Correction

Why this book?

In most introvert-theme fiction, not much “happens.” Instead, the author focuses on the texture of characters’ thoughts, experiences, and memories. I found this novel, by an Austrian writer not well known in the English-speaking world, fascinating for two reasons. First, it explores the life, work, and thinking process of an obsessive genius – someone introverted to the nth degree. And second, it does so in a book of just two paragraphs, going on and on in musical prose where the repetitive rhythms of the sentences have just as much impact as what they’re narrating. The architectural genius in Correction is partly based on Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, which added interest for me since I find Wittgenstein a uniquely inspiring figure.

Correction

By Thomas Bernhard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Correction as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The scientist Roithamer has dedicated the last six years of his life to “the Cone,” an edifice of mathematically exact construction that he has erected in the center of his family’s estate in honor of his beloved sister. Not long after its completion, he takes his own life. As an unnamed friend pieces together—literally, from thousands of slips of papers and one troubling manuscript—the puzzle of Rotheimer’s breakdown, what emerges is the story of a genius ceaselessly compelled to correct and refine his perceptions until the only logical conclusion is the negation of his own soul.
 
Considered by many critics…


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Interested in extraversion and introversion, Tokyo, and recluses?

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