Clutch: Excel Under Pressure

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Penguin, Sep 2, 2010 - Business & Economics - 272 pages
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Is clutch performance innate-or can it be learned?

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.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

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Everyone faces “clutch” situations, those times when you need to function under intense pressure. Few excel in these stressful moments; most choke. New York Times columnist Paul Sullivan investigates what makes the notable few who can handle stress so reliable under pressure. He interviews top athletes – including Tiger Woods – highly decorated combat veterans, seasoned heads of financial institutions, and successful traders to discover their secrets and methods. Without making his prose sound like something from a self-help book, Sullivan outlines how to avoid choking and how to stand tall in the clutch. He includes everything from stage fright to keeping a cool head in combat and makes extensive use of real-life examples to bring home his points. The book is entertaining but frustratingly short of actual prescription, leading you to suspect that being clutch may be a more innate than learned talent. Nonetheless, getAbstract recommends this intriguing overview to anyone who has ever choked under pressure and wants to see what it means to be clutch.
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Contents

CLUTCH IS MORE THAN SPORTS
THE QUEST FOR CLUTCH
CONFESSIONS OF A CHOKER
THE ROUTE TO BEING CLUTCH
THE POWER OF FOCUS
A CLASH OF TITANS
PREPARATION ALLOWS FOCUS
ENTERING THE BUBBLE
A GUIDE TO VICTORY
THE CHALLENGE CONTINUES
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
THE MINDSET AT DEAL TIME
LEARNING THE WAY
WHERE RESPONSIBILITY MATTERS
PRESSURE REVEALS WHO HAS IT AND WHO DOESNT
OVERTHINKING WHAT YOU DO

THE ENDGAME
ITS ALWAYS AN ORDINARY SERVE
THE PRACTICE OF DISCIPLINE
THE PARADOX OF SHOOTERS
THE WIZARD OF DISCIPLINE
CONFUSING DISCIPLINE AND INSTINCT
A VARIATION ON DISCIPLINE
RESPONSE AND ANTICIPATION
THE PLAN VS THE FIGHT
FIGHTING THE FIGHT THAT MATTERED
BECOMING PRESENT
KEEPING THE PAST AT BAY
REHEARSALS
BRIGHT LIGHTS BIG CITY
WHAT MAKES ENTREPRENEURS RUN?
THE RUBIKS CUBE OR THE VIOLIN?
THE RUNNINGSCARED PHILOSOPHY
THE RISK OF CONTENTMENT
THE BURDEN OF DOUBLE CLUTCH
FROM FAME TO DERISION
FROM A MARSHMALLOW TO A ROCK
COMING BACK FROM ROCK BOTTOM
THE LESSON OF AROD
THE UNDERCONFIDENCE STRATEGY
ALL OVERCONFIDENT LEADERS KILL COMPANIES IN THE SAME WAYS
PUTTING THE BRAKES ON OVERCONFIDENCE
BEING CLUTCH WITH MONEY AND IN SPORTS
PRIDE CLOUDS DECISION MAKING
RICH ADVICE FOR ANY PERSON
HOW TO CUT UNDER PRESSURE
LESSONS TO LIVE BY
THE ESSENTIALS OF THE MATCH
ROUTINE AND REALITY
DOES LYNCHS STRATEGY WORK?
PUTTING THEORIES TO THE TEST
WHOS THE MOST CLUTCH?
DESIRE AND REALITY
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About the author (2010)

Paul Sullivan writes the "Wealth Matters" column for The New York Times. His articles have appeared in Condé Nast Portfolio, The International Herald Tribune, Barron's, and the Financial Times, where he was a reporter, editor, and columnist. He lives in Connecticut with his family.

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