Do Extroverts Make the Best Activists?

“Moses led the Jews from Egypt, provided for them in the desert for the next forty years, and brought the Ten Commandments down from Mount Sinai. And he did all of this using strengths that are classically associated with introversion”—Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (2012)

I have a long commute each day. We’re talking three to four hours each day. One of the fringe benefits of this essentially shitty situation is that I have ample time to read in a blissfully uninterrupted fashion. Though I’m a surprisingly slow reader, I nevertheless manage—because of this daily commute—to read, on average, about one or two serious books every week. Even so, few books have changed my mind more than Cain’s delightfully eye-opening tome. Seriously, I really can’t praise this book enough. Reading it initiated a number of once-I-was-blind-but-now-I-see moments. Among them was the realization that what I said in my last book about activists and extroversion was wrong. As Cain makes clear, with a wealth of examples, the history of activism is replete with introverted characters. Indeed, many of the most famous activists—such as Mahatma Gandhi and Rosa Parks—were introverts. What’s more—and this is where she really sparkles—Cain argues (persuasively) that these introverted activists were effective not in spite of their introversion, but precisely because of their introversion.

—John Faithful Hamer, The Village Explainer (2016)

About John Faithful Hamer

John Faithful Hamer is a college professor who still can't swim, drive, or pay his bills on time. His sense of direction is notoriously unreliable, yet he'd love to tell you where to go. His lack of practical skills is astounding, and his inability to fix things is renowned, yet he'd love to tell you what to do. His mismanagement of time is legendary, as is his inability to remember appointments, yet he fancies himself a philosopher and would love to tell you how to live. He wouldn't survive in a state of nature, of that we can be sure; but he's doing quite well in the big city, which has always been a refuge for the ridiculous, a haven for the helpless, and a friend to the frivolous.

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