10 Books Every Introvert Should Read

I am admittedly an introvert. I don’t normally go out of my way to meet people in person or start making conversation with folks. However, my post-academic transition taught me the importance of interpersonal skills (“soft skills”) and how they can benefit your career.

I always assumed that hard skills alone and passion led to job opportunities, but I was wrong. Strong interpersonal skills make the difference between getting hired and not being considered for a position.

To help introverts, I wanted to leave a list of relevant book suggestions that can help improve interpersonal skills for academics looking to transition outside of academia. While academics interact with students, faculty, and colleagues, they are sometimes working solo on several projects. Once you leave academia, the private sector can often be more social since you work on projects daily with coworkers.

Contrary to popular belief, even soft skills can be improved by reading books and studying. Your personality is not innately extroverted or introverted. Push yourself to go outside your comfort zone when needed.

What is a Common Theme Across These Books?

These books collectively challenge the prevailing idea that extroverts are innate and how you learn how to be a better networker and conversationalist. They provide strategies, insights, and narratives aimed at helping introverts navigate social interactions, excel in their careers, and find fulfillment by helping people go outside and succeed in their careers without having to be extroverts either.

Top Book Recommendations For Introverts

#1 – Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Author: Susan Cain

# 2 – The Introvert’s Edge: How the Quiet and Shy Can Outsell Anyone

Author: Matthew Pollard

#3 – How to Win Friends and Influence People

Author: Dale Carnegie

#4 – The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism

Author: Olivia Fox Cabane

#5 – Networking for People Who Hate Networking: A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed, and the Underconnected

Author: Devora Zack

#6 – The Fine Art of Small Talk: How to Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills – and Leave a Positive Impression

Author: Debra Fine

#7 – Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference

Author: Jennifer B. Kahnweiler

#8 – The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms”

Author: Beth Buelow

#9 – Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Author(s): Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves

#10 – How to Talk To Anyone

Author: Derek Borthwick

My Favorite Book Overall – How To Win Friends

When I was in grad school, my father-in-law suggested I read, How to Win Friends and Influence People and I rejected the idea.

The book seemed cliche and not helpful. After reading it, I was blown away by some of the tips. For example, Dale Carnegie writes about how people can be selfish and that “Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.”

I was able to apply this when I was doing informational interviews and regular interviews. I went out of my way to ask questions not about the job itself, but what the person did in relation to my job.

Overall, there are a lot of notable suggestions above and I hope one of these sparks some interest in developing your professional life.

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