There have been a swathe of books lately on how to overcome shyness. This one is my favourite. This memoir recounts the adventures of Quiet American, Jessica Pan as she undertakes a year of living as an extrovert in London. It’s a love letter (or rather hate mail) to the confusing technological road-blocks people face when they use apps and meet for “friend dates’’ in new cities. It makes being a millennial and being a shy introvert or “shintrovert” as Pan called it, seem like a nightmare, but a funny chortling, beer coming out of your nose as you hear the story – kind of nightmare.
I really loved this book because I would say than Jessica Pan is my spirit animal and she gets me as I am also a shy introvert or “shin-trovert”. I have been flaky in the past with friends and work colleagues and faked a sore throat to get out of social events before, because I seriously couldn’t be bothered with the socialising and making small talk.
Reading of her hilarious and cringe-inducing adventures as she tries to socialise herself out of her hermit ways was really cathartic. She goes on “friend dates”, does live improv comedy, speaks to strangers on the Tube and does a Moth podcast recording in front of a live audience. In short – she is a legend.
Pan gets even more brownie points for trying to be sociable in one of the most cold and unfriendly cities on the planet – London ( I personally hated London so much, I moved to Edinburgh, where the people were slightly crazy, but also warm and friendly).
If I was to choose between reading this book and Susan Cain’s bestseller of the same ilk – Quiet, I would choose Pan’s book because it’s a real roll-up-the-sleeves and get out there kind of social experiment. All quiet, socially awkward or introverted people will understand Pan and understand her plight and pain completely. This book actually gave me the courage to get out there and be more bold and social. I wholeheartedly recommend this book and would give it 6/5 if I could!