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Presence
Cover of Presence
Presence
Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges
by Amy Cuddy
Have you ever left a nerve-racking challenge and immediately wished for a do over? Maybe after a job interview, a performance, or a difficult conversation? The very moments that require us to be genuine and commanding can instead cause us to feel phony and powerless. Too often we approach our lives' biggest hurdles with dread, execute them with anxiety, and leave them with regret.

By accessing our personal power, we can achieve "presence," the state in which we stop worrying about the impression we're making on others and instead adjust the impression we've been making on ourselves. As Harvard professor Amy Cuddy's revolutionary book reveals, we don't need to embark on a grand spiritual quest or complete an inner transformation to harness the power of presence. Instead, we need to nudge ourselves, moment by moment, by tweaking our body language, behavior, and mind-set in our day-to-day lives.
Amy Cuddy has galvanized tens of millions of viewers around the world with her TED talk about "power poses." Now she presents the enthralling science underlying these and many other fascinating body-mind effects, and teaches us how to use simple techniques to liberate ourselves from fear in high-pressure moments, perform at our best, and connect with and empower others to do the same.

Brilliantly researched, impassioned, and accessible, Presence is filled with stories of individuals who learned how to flourish during the stressful moments that once terrified them. Every reader will learn how to approach their biggest challenges with confidence instead of dread, and to leave them with satisfaction instead of regret.
Have you ever left a nerve-racking challenge and immediately wished for a do over? Maybe after a job interview, a performance, or a difficult conversation? The very moments that require us to be genuine and commanding can instead cause us to feel phony and powerless. Too often we approach our lives' biggest hurdles with dread, execute them with anxiety, and leave them with regret.

By accessing our personal power, we can achieve "presence," the state in which we stop worrying about the impression we're making on others and instead adjust the impression we've been making on ourselves. As Harvard professor Amy Cuddy's revolutionary book reveals, we don't need to embark on a grand spiritual quest or complete an inner transformation to harness the power of presence. Instead, we need to nudge ourselves, moment by moment, by tweaking our body language, behavior, and mind-set in our day-to-day lives.
Amy Cuddy has galvanized tens of millions of viewers around the world with her TED talk about "power poses." Now she presents the enthralling science underlying these and many other fascinating body-mind effects, and teaches us how to use simple techniques to liberate ourselves from fear in high-pressure moments, perform at our best, and connect with and empower others to do the same.

Brilliantly researched, impassioned, and accessible, Presence is filled with stories of individuals who learned how to flourish during the stressful moments that once terrified them. Every reader will learn how to approach their biggest challenges with confidence instead of dread, and to leave them with satisfaction instead of regret.
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About the Author-
  • Amy Cuddy is a Harvard Business School professor and social psychologist who studies how nonverbal behavior and snap judgments influence people. Her research has been published in top academic journals and covered by NPR, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Wired, Fast Company, and more. Cuddy has been named a Game Changer by TIME, a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science, one of 50 Women Who Are Changing the World by Business Insider, and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Her 2012 Ted Talk is the second most-viewed talk in TED's history.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 21, 2015
    Cuddy, a professor at Harvard Business School, expands on her popular TED talk about adopting confident body postures, or "power poses," to enhance self-confidence and bring presence to social and professional situations. She defines presence as "feeling connected with our own thought, values, abilities, and emotions, so that we can better connect with... others." Drawing insights from successful venture capitalists and from a host of social psychology studies conducted by herself and others, Cuddy discusses self-affirmation, the role hormones play in confidence, mood enhancement via facial expression, and reinterpreting anxiety as excitement. She uses William James's belief that physical experiences trigger emotional states to lend credence to her own invention of power poses, providing specific instructions on how and when to use them. Further inspiration is provided by Cuddy's interviews with actress Julianne Moore about presence on film sets, Rev. Jeffrey Brown on his work reining in gang violence through active listening, and author Neil Gaiman on overcoming "imposterism." Lest the reader remain unconvinced, Cuddy concludes with letters from admirers who have used her methods effectively during job interviews, business meetings, and athletic events, as well as to overcome PTSD. Agent: Richard Pine, Inkwell Management.

  • Kirkus

    An examination of the psychological and physiological mechanics that spark the precious, transitory sense of presence. "Presence, as I mean it throughout these pages," writes social psychologist Cuddy (Business Administration/Harvard Business School), "is the state of feeling connected with our own thoughts, values, abilities, and emotions, so that we can better connect with the thoughts, values, abilities, and emotions of others. That's it." That may be it, but it's a tall order, since presence is an exquisite synchrony of the senses and the various elements of the self in harmony, as difficult to put into words as rapture or the flow state. It's all about poise, emerging from a trust and belief in yourself, your values, and your feelings. Cuddy--whose 2012 TED talk about the significance of body language has been viewed more than 27 million times (second among the most-viewed TED talks)--seeks presence in the face of powerlessness before pressure, anxiety, confusion, and frustration. However, to describe this fleeting sense of command, the author has to break it down into its components, severing the threads that hold the feeling together. Cuddy is very sharp in her analysis of those parts: affirmation; body language; how to nudge yourself along via incremental changes; how to shut up and listen; the profound disharmony of post-traumatic stress, when synchrony is painful to even contemplate. But the author stumbles somewhat when putting the pieces back together in a working union. Honesty, sincerity, and authenticity are batted around in pursuit of realizing our values and traits, but these words are too easily open to self-deception to feel like genuine tools. Cuddy falls back too often on the unchallenged insights of "a widely recognized expert" as well as unhelpful diagnostic questions--e.g., "What three words best describe you as an individual?" An uneven book studded with genuine insights that public speakers will find useful. COPYRIGHT(1) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from January 1, 2016

    Readers may be familiar with social psychologist Cuddy (business administration, Harvard Business Sch.) through her TED Talk in which she discussed how our body language shapes who we are. Here, Cuddy expands on that conversation with a thorough discussion of the concept of presence, meaning a confident physical presentation that adds to mental confidence. While presence doesn't guarantee a specific outcome, developing it allows us to face our challenges without anxiety. Presence also helps us leave a situation without second-guessing our responses. It eliminates feelings of inferiority by shedding the fear of being exposed as imposters. Drawing heavily on her own experiences overcoming a traumatic brain injury and from those of average people, Cuddy shows how employing simple techniques lessen the anxiety experienced when faced with a challenging situation. Presence encourages us to be our authentic selves and operate ultimately from a place of personal power, not fear. A background in psychology is not necessary to understanding the material. Additionally, ample references to academic research further reinforce the content and will be of interest to psychology students. Personal narratives throughout the book support the author's ideas. VERDICT Given the popularity of Cuddy's TED Talk, one would expect that this book will be in demand, and readers will not be disappointed.--Lydia Olszak, Bosler Memorial Lib., Carlisle, PA

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Michael Wheeler, Harvard Business School, author of The Art of Negotiation With advice that is both practical and profound, Amy Cuddy shows how to summon your true and best self when doing so matters most. Emotions are contagious. If you personify poise and optimism yourself, you enhance the odds that they will respond in kind.
  • Susan Cain, co-founder of Quiet Revolution and author of the New York Times bestseller QUIET Amy Cuddy is the high priestess of self-confidence for the self-doubting. In PRESENCE, she uses her warmth, empathy, and laser-sharp intelligence to decode the mysteries of presence under social pressure. A must-read for—well, for everyone.
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Amy Cuddy
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