The best book I've read this year is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Written by Susan Cain.
I so so wish this book had been written decades ago. As a child, teenager and young adult, I suffered uncertainty, embarrassment, and rejection because society convinced me there was something terribly wrong with me. Me, the introvert.
How many times was I asked, "Why don't you say anything?" "Don't you like us?" "It's rude not to participate." The worst was, "What's wrong? Cat got your tongue?," which was a common expression meaning you should be talking, not silent.
At times I uncomfortably pretended to be an extrovert (though we didn't use that word then) and usually ended up looking like a dope.
In Quiet, the author extols the virtues of introverts and encourages individuals and companies to enjoy the thoughtful contributions that can be made by this nearly 50% of the population. We introverts are not stupid or uninterested; we do have a unique way of approaching situations and problems. Again and again, the examples she uses could have been taken from my own life. And she reaffirms the fact that though we introverts can and should learn to function in an extrovert world, we are not required to give up the person we are.
Introverts will feel championed by this book. Extroverts will be happily surprised to learn what it means to be an introvert, and that introverts discover and build and manage, but in a very different way from extroverts. There's a need for all.
This cartoon explains the introvert:
Guide to Understanding the Introverted