Shy by Design: 12 Timeless Principles to Quietly Stand Out

Announcing my upcoming book

Michael Thompson
3 min readMay 7, 2024

“In a world that lionizes loudness, it’s actually the quiet and shy among us who are best set up to thrive. Thompson provides an important new way of understanding what it really takes to stand out!”

— Cal Newport
New York Times bestselling author of Deep Work and Slow Productivity

In late 2019, I received a note from a literary agent after she read a few of my articles on this platform asking if I’d ever considered writing a book as she said I had “the seed.”

It turns out she was right. I had the seed. The only problem is that it was buried under my left heel and needed time to grow.

But after three years of thinking and two years of writing, editing, and telling my wife “Just five more minutes!” I’m thrilled to share that my seed has finally sprouted;).

My debut book — Shy by Design: 12 Principles to Quietly Stand Out — is officially available for pre-order and will be released into the wild on July 16th.

If you’ve enjoyed my writing since I began posting my musing here seven years ago, you’ll love the book.

It’s the best writing I’ve ever done while simultaneously being the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

I was stoked to learn that Publisher’s Weekly already wrote a glowing review alongside some of my favorite thinkers and writers like Apple legend Guy Kawasaki.

Here’s the official book description —

Is your shyness holding you back from going after what you want? Are you tired of feeling like you aren’t good enough? Do your self-limiting beliefs sabotage you from speaking up and owning your story?

In Shy by Design, Michael Thompson shares his inspiring journey of moving from being riddled with self-doubt due to his shyness and debilitating stutter to becoming a sought-after career coach, university lecturer, and strategic communication advisor for global business leaders.

Packed with actionable strategies and engaging stories, this transformative book will help you embrace the blessing of being underestimated, revolutionize your relationships, and amplify your impact without sacrificing your shy nature.

Thompson’s 12 principles teach you to:

  • Grow your confidence and strengthen communication skills on your own terms and at your own pace.
  • Create meaningful connections and foster a close-knit community that supports personal growth.
  • Lead with quiet conviction that uplifts others on the climb toward success.

The author’s story of navigating the often loud world of sales and communication — while staying true to his shy way of being — will inspire you to embrace your unique strengths and see your perceived weaknesses through a more empowered lens.

Whether you are a recent graduate, a seasoned executive, or someone seeking personal growth, Shy by Design will provide you with the motivation and action steps to embrace shyness as the superpower that it is.

If the book description strikes a chord, pre-ordering a copy would mean the world.

You can do that right here.

And if anyone in your network would benefit from its message, please spread the word far and wide (define irony — a guy writes a book about quietly standing out and then grabs a microphone and starts barking orders).

I get immersed in projects and blocked the world over the last year to get the book over the line, but I’m excited to get back into a regular posting rhythm, linking up with old friends, and meeting new ones here.

That’s it for now.

My very best to you and yours,



Michael Thompson

Co-creator of two cool kids • Storytelling Coach •.Fast Co., Insider, Forbes • Free storytelling guide here: