Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don't
Portfolio Hardcover, 9781591843504, 256pp.
Publication Date: September 2, 2010
Sooner or later everyone encounters a situation in which the stakes are high and the outcome is crucial. And even top performers can crumble when faced with such extreme pressure. Consider the CEO who panics in a desperate attempt to shore up his company's earnings, the veteran politician who grows overconfident and loses to the upstart candidate, the quarterback who carries his team to the Super Bowl but falls apart in the final quarter. All of them choked. But then there are the performers who thrive under such conditions: the ER doctor racing the clock to save someone's life, the lieutenant who leads his platoon to victory after an ambush, the young attorney who refuses to be intimidated in court and wins the crucial case.
These people are clutch, and their ability to overcome extreme pressure consistently and beat the toughest odds fascinates us. How do they do it? According to Paul Sullivan, clutch performance does not stem from an innate ability. It's a learned skill: the art of operating in high-stress situations as if they were everyday conditions. Even some of the most experienced and talented performers lack this skill-but Sullivan shows that anyone can develop it. Drawing on new research and interviews with stars across a range of fields, Sullivan uncovers the shared traits that define clutch performers and explains how anyone can apply their strategies. He builds his case through many inspiring true stories, including those of
* a skinny sergeant who saved his battalion in Iraq;
* a rookie baseball player who pitched his team into its first World Series;
* an eccentric psychiatrist who trained a group of financial traders to become the best in the world;
* a lawyer who struggled in school but became one of the top litigators in America.
Full of powerful advice and real-world examples, "Clutch" will show you how to overcome extreme pressure to achieve greatness.
About the Author
Praise For Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don't…
"Clutch, by New York Times columnist Paul Sullivan, is a well- written examination of what makes a person perform despite stress. It's not luck, he emphasizes; it's "the ability to do what you can do normally under immense pressure." He points to five key traits of clutch performers: focus, discipline, adaptability, being truly present and having the fear and desire to win. Sullivan illustrates these talents by way of portraits of accomplished, self-assured performers such as trial lawyer David Boies, JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon and Sergeant Willie Copeland, a hero in Iraq."
"Mr. Sullivan has sallied forth with notepad and pen in hand to tell individual stories... [He] takes his examples from sports, business, the military and the stage. He explains right away that there are five traits that help people pull off a clutch performance: focus; discipline, adaptability, presence (i.e., actual involvement in the task at hand), and fear and desire. "
-Wall Street Journal
"In ...Clutch, Paul Sullivan, a columnist for The New York Times, examines strategies essential for remaining composed when the pressure's on.... Anyone who feels that they tend to lose their confidence when the stakes are high can glean something from this analysis."
"If you can't perform well under pressure, then you can't really perform well. Paul Sullivan explains very readably how great performers meet the challenge. Chokers everywhere-which means all of us, in some part of our lives-owe him thanks."
-Geoff Colvin, author of Talent Is Overrated
"In Clutch Paul Sullivan has captured the essence of what makes stars superstars. Concise, engaging, and invaluable. A brilliant book with lessons on how to excel in whatever you do both professionally and personally."
-Scott R. Singer, author of How to Hit a Curveball: Confront and Overcome the Unexpected in Business
"In Clutch, Paul Sullivan-one of the best young journalists at work in this country-shows us what really effective people do in situations where they must perform well, even gracefully, under pressure. His interviews with people in clutch situations are never less than thoroughly entertaining. Sullivan has a keen eye for what matters, and this wise book deserves a large audience."
-Jay Parini, author of The Last Station