Book Review: A Kingdom for the Introvert by John the Peregrine

Apparently my Ubuntu Linux system has decided that my life has been drama-free for too long, and decided this morning to essentially crap out completely and delete ALL of my files, programs, settings, and everything else on my PC. So, my Saturday plans of sitting here and posting on various subjects may have to take a bit of a back seat while I restore everything that just got vapourised...

Regardless, it's high time I wrote a couple of book reviews. I've not been sitting idle during my time here or in London. One of the more interesting books that I have read recently is A Kingdom for the Introvert by one John the Peregrine. You can find his blog and his book here.

John the Peregrine is, like me, a deep introvert, and his book is one of the very few really coherent, cogent discussions about what life is like from an introvert's point of view in a world that simply cannot seem to shut up. It is effectively divided into three parts, which might be described as: The World of the Introvert, Surviving, and Thriving. The first part is by far the longest, with the second and especially the third seemingly tacked on in a bit of a hurry. Nonetheless, this book is worth reading for anyone, introverted or otherwise, who wants to understand what introversion is and why introverts are so "odd" by society's norms.

Let's get one major problem out of the way first. This book is essentially a bunch of blog posts tied together into book form and given some structure and coherence in the process. If you are a longtime reader of Gluon the Ferengi's blogs (and John the Peregrine is the same man by a different name) then you have already read most if not all of what he has written here. So, for such a reader, this book will not be worth buying. Moreover, the editing in this book, while not nearly as sloppy as some self-published books that I've seen, is not quite as good as it should be. There are a few slip-ups, some grammatical and spelling errors, and other mild annoyances scattered throughout. If you're anal-retentive about such things (like me), then this will be a bit of a downer on an otherwise rather good book.

John's book is an excellent exploration of the strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and triumphs of the deep introvert in modern, extroverted society. The book reads like a personal memoir (which I suppose it is), and is painfully honest throughout about the author's formative experiences. It provides a fresh sense of perspective on what introversion truly is, and notes that introversion is neither shameful nor wrong. The reality is that introverts are wired differently, and there is nothing wrong with this fact.

The most interesting aspect of the book, for me, is the fact that John really goes out of his way to point out that deep introverts are not alone. His experiences growing up were very similar to my own- indeed he and I are roughly the same age, as it turns out. The sense of alienation that every introvert feels often grows rather than diminishes over time, and John's narrative makes it very clear why this is. Most introverts grow up trying to fit into an extroverted mould, and when they realise that it cannot be done, they face something of an existential crisis. Either they continue trying to be something they are not- thereby bringing themselves into direct conflict with their natural predispositions and genetic programming- or they simply stop and withdraw from society, very often to their own great detriment, stunting their own growth and development as human beings.

John's book provides an alternative, a middle ground, that should be acceptable for most introverts: the kingdom of introversion. His path to this solution brings to mind the lyrics of a couple of songs that I rather like- "Beyond the Realms of Death" by JUDAS PRIEST, and "The Quiet Place" by IN FLAMES. It's the same basic idea as the lyrics of those songs- withdrawal from the noise and superficiality of the outside world into a kingdom of the mind, where an introvert can draw strength and solace. And John's book shows you how to build this kingdom.

At the core of his approach is an absolute commitment to independence. This means independence in every aspect of life- financial, sexual, social, political freedom. Money, women, and personal possessions all become stepping stones to the establishment of a personal zone of absolute comfort into which no others may intrude without permission.

There are certainly flaws to be found in this book. One of the more irritating ones for me, aside from the flaws in spelling and punctuation that appear occasionally, is the sometimes maudlin tone of the first few chapters. There is a definite feeling of "pity the poor introvert" within about the first third of the book which I find mildly off-putting. Introverts do not need to be pitied, and we do not need to apologise for who we are. The reality is that our strength is immense, and it comes from our very core as individuals. I also found the author's predilection for scattering snippets of poetry throughout his writing to be somewhat annoying. I am not personally a fan of poetry unless it is really good poetry, of the kind and quality that someone like, say, G. K. Chesterton might have written. Quoting one's own poetry in a book is something that I generally find rather grating.

Despite these flaws, I would strongly recommend this book to any fellow denizens of the Manosphere who want to understand both themselves and the world around them- and the reality is that large parts of the Manosphere are indeed packed with introverts, who have been ripped off and lied to all their lives and are only now beginning to discover that they are neither alone nor powerless. You may well be amazed at how accurately John's perceptions of the world mirror your own. Indeed, while reading the book, I was constantly struck by how a skinny white guy growing up halfway around the world from me could experience almost the exact same problems and come up with almost the exact same solutions that a (once) chubby brown guy growing up in Asia

Introversion, when properly understood and nurtured, is a personality trait that leads to power, wisdom, and strength. It's not an easy journey. John's book may well help make that journey a little better.

Verdict: 4/5; patchy in places with a few notable flaws, but otherwise a very good read.

Comments

  1. Thank you for the book review and for including a link to John's blog. Up until now, I have never heard of him.

    I think Introverts like me are hungry to hear about what life is actually like, how we feel, the challenges as well as the joys. I skimmed over some of John's blog entries and I absolutely agree with his assessment that some are turning the acceptance of introversion into some kind of victimhood movement. This does not help anyone, least of all introverts.

    Love your last sentence: "Introversion, when properly understood and nurtured, is a personality trait that leads to power, wisdom, and strength. It's not an easy journey. John's book may well help make that journey a little better." Well said!

    Christian

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    Replies
    1. Welcome, Christian.

      You're right, introverts are not victims. We are the way we are due to a combination of genetics and choice. There is no getting around the fact that the world we live in is openly hostile to us and everything we stand for, but that does not mean that we should adopt a victim's mindset. We are strong because we depend upon ourselves, because we seek strength from solitude, and because we do not follow the easy course.

      I'll be posting more about introversion and game in the future. Stay tuned.

      Delete

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