13 Books Every Introvert Should Have on Their List
Ah, a good book and a night to yourself. Is there anything better when you’re an introvert who loves to read?
I asked introverts about the favorite books they’ve read lately, and why another introvert would enjoy that book.
Here are 13 of their suggestions:
Did you know that Igor Stravinsky wasn’t able to compose music unless he was sure no one could hear him, and, when blocked, stood on his head to “clear” his mind? Or, that Jean-Paul Sartre chewed on Corydrane tablets (a mix of aspirin and amphetamine), consuming ten times the recommended dose each day? Daily Rituals details the work and life habits of a number of world-famous artists, filmmakers, novelists, and other creative types.
[It’s] a good way to confirm that however quirky you think you are (or, are told that you are), you’re actually in good company.
Quiet has a message that deeply resonates with introverts: In a culture that praises the “Extrovert Ideal,” introverts are dramatically undervalued—and because of this, society is losing out. As of 2015, two million copies of this book had been sold worldwide, making it a bestseller, and an essential for any introvert’s bookshelf.
Quiet has been a life-changer for me. Susan Cain is an excellent writer—easy to read and informed. She really opened up the world of introverts. Obviously, a great read for introverts (and extroverts, too)!
Adrift is a captivating firsthand account written by the only person known to have survived more than a month alone at sea. After his small boat capsizes, Steven fights for his life in an inflatable raft. National Geographic Explorer calls it, “One of the 100 best adventure books of all time.”
Why the book is perfect for introverted readers: The main character is alone for more than two months—enough said.
One rainy afternoon, while riding a city bus, Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany: She wasn’t focusing on the things that really matter in life. That’s when she decided to embark on a year-long journey to find happiness. In her bestselling book, Rubin shares wisdom, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier.
It’s a great book for introverts because it can help them take control of their life and create their own happiness.
5. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
Part philosophical quest, part screwball comedy, Infinite Jest examines fundamental questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to rule our lives, how our addiction to entertainment affects our need to connect with others, and what the diversions we choose say about who we are.
Why this book would interest introverts:
[It explores] the confluence of crippling introversion, addiction, and the pressure to perform.
If you’re an introvert who is also a highly sensitive person, Elaine N. Aron’s book is a must-read. Drawing on years of research and hundreds of interviews, Aron shows highly sensitive people how they can better understand themselves and their trait, as well as create a fuller, richer life.
[The Highly Sensitive Person provides] great insight as for why some of us need our alone time and why the outside world might be very reasonably overwhelming.
After a dust storm forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark Watney finds himself stranded and utterly alone on Mars, with no way to even communicate to Earth that he’s alive. The Martian inspired the 2015 hit movie starring Matt Damon, which got seven Oscar nominations, including “Best Picture.”
The science in it is good, so the inner geek might be satisfied. The main character needed to survive on Mars alone until rescue could happen. I saw the movie but liked the book even more.
8. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami and Jay Rubin
Norwegian Wood is the touching story of one college student’s romantic coming-of-age. Toru is a quiet, serious young student in Tokyo who is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful, introspective young woman. When Naoko finds the pressure of college life unbearable, she retreats into her own world, and the two drift apart. Murakami’s book sold over four million copies in Japan, and is now available in the US for the first time.
I find it especially fitting for introverts because of the beautifully pensive way in which the main character thinks and Murakami writes.
British-born Beryl Markham grew up in Kenya’s unforgiving farmlands and was a rebel from a young age. In 1936, she accepted a dangerous challenge: to fly alone across the Atlantic Ocean, an endeavor that fellow female aviator Amelia Earhart had completed just a few years before. West With the Night has been called “one of the greatest adventure books of all time” by Newsweek and “the sort of book that makes you think human beings can do anything” by The New York Times.
Why it would inspire introverts:
Her inner processing and insights into culture and people are exquisite. It is a true adventure.
Women Don’t Ask examines the societal and personal reasons women rarely ask for what they need, want, and deserve at home and on the job—and shows how they can develop this vital skill.
Women Don’t Ask is full of stats and studies and fascinating information on the ways women are socialized to put others first and hold themselves back. For introverts, it’s a double whammy situation. I’ve raved about this book to all my fiercest girlfriends, and they are always as knocked out and inspired as I was reading it.
The Introvert Advantage is another must-have for the introvert’s book shelf. Laney’s book dispels common myths about introverts and shows that quiet types are predisposed from birth to turn inward.
[It’s a] wonderful book [that provides] practical support in understanding introversion and how to navigate in a world of extroversion. This book was a huge step in self-understanding and acceptance.
Greg Gaines is a senior in high school who’s strategy is to keep a low profile and make mediocre films with his “sort of” friend Earl. Then, his mom ruins everything by introducing him to a girl who is dying of cancer. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl inspired the hit film and was ranked in the top 10 fiction books for young adults.
It would be captivating for introverts because it includes characters who are introverts even though they aren’t labeled that way.
The Secret Lives of Introverts is my book! This introvert guide and manifesto will help you—and the extroverts in your life—better understand and embrace your temperament. To write the book, I drew on interviews with hundreds of introverts, the latest scientific research about introversion, and personal stories told by me and the writers of Introvert, Dear. The Secret Lives of Introverts will not only validate your experiences as an introvert, but it will also teach you how to work with your introversion rather than fight against it.
This article was originally published on Introvert, Dear. It has been republished here with permission.