Quiet. The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking - Susan  Cain Eye-opener. Astounding. Life-changing. Inspirational. Insightful. All these adjectives and more describe my experience with this amazing book.

I'm very much an introvert. I try to avoid social functions as much as possible, but I do love meeting every so often with my dear friends one-on-one. If I do end up at a party, you can bet I'm the one keeping the corner warm. I am an avid reader, a knitter, a sometimes writer, a nerd, and an engineer. My idea of a perfect evening is one spent in the comfort of my apartment, cat in lap, book in hand, coffee at my side. My idea of a perfect vacation is one where I can go to my favorite coffee shop and read. In college, my favorite classes were Differential Equations (in which I, the only female, got a perfect score on the final), Physics, and Fluids. Ever since elementary school, I dreaded a school performances, such as Christmas programs or poetry recitals. At work meetings, I am more likely to listen to everything and be note-taker than I am to present or volunteer ideas.

Lately, my boss has said that I need to step things up, become more "out there" and confident. Inwardly, I despaired. Wasn't I working hard enough? What was holding me back? Why couldn't I just blurt things out in meetings? Why did I constantly sound nervous, even if I really wasn't? Was there any hope for me to change?

And then, like a sign from heaven, I saw this book in the "New Books" display at Barnes and Nobles (BTW, I happen to swing by the bookstore at least once a week during lunch - sometimes to purchase, but mostly to pass the time). I remembered a friend had read this and really enjoyed it, and I figured it would help me figure out myself.

"Figure myself out" would be an understatement; it's as if this book were written specifically for me! Cain breaks down what it means to be an introvert. Turns out despite what my sister is constantly telling me, I'm not weird (alright, not too weird). I have talents and skills. I have a place. And it's not my fault I can't always speak up and make my voice heard. A lot of it is because of how our workforce, our employers, our coworkers, our society functions. Our biology, our parents, our surroundings make us the introverted beings we are. It's just that school and work and the outside world try to tell us that being quiet, that listening and ruminating over things is wrong, that we should be quick to speak and blurt whatever is on our mind.

I've known I was an introvert for a while, but it was so refreshing and liberating to learn that there were others with my "problem". That I wasn't alone. And, most importantly, I can overcome, nay thrive, in this Extroverted world. And that is the second gift Cain gives us in this book: how to be an Introvert in an Extrovert world and not want to choke yourself at night.

I feel like, after reading Quiet, I have a plan for facing my "work problems". I feel like I can take the challenge my boss has placed in front of me and succeed. Although a part of me still wishes I could crawl back to my desk and burrow there, I think this book has given me the tools and encouragement I need to speak up.

If you are an introvert, you definitely need to read this book. Even if you aren't an introvert, this is a great book to understanding how they think and act. I'm definitely passing this along to everyone I know.