304 pages, 8.44 × 5.5 × 0.8 in
August 9, 2011
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 1416596186
ISBN - 13: 9781416596189
Read from the Book
INTRODUCTIONEver since I was young I have been intrigued by amazing performances—at the Olympics, in the orchestra pit, and even my friend Abby’s performance on the LSAT. How do people go about turning it on when it counts the most? Why do some thrive while others falter when the stakes are high and everyone is focused on their every move? As we know, sometimes that one instance of performance—one race, one test, one presentation—can change an entire life or a career trajectory forever.My friend Abby and I have known each other since we were both thrown in the same dorm room freshman year at the University of California, San Diego. Although Abby and I shared a love for many things—the ocean, the Grateful Dead, and sappy movies—when it came to school, we couldn’t have been more different. Throughout college I was constantly in the library studying for midterms and finals, writing papers, and rereading my notes from class. Abby was not. Now don’t get me wrong, Abby did well in school, but you were more likely to find her at the beach than at the library and the likelihood that she would be daydreaming in class far outweighed the probability that she was actually listening to the professor lecturing in front of her. What amazed me most about Abby was her ability to perform well when the stakes were high. Abby wrote most of her English papers at four o’clock in the morning the night before they were due and reliably got A’s on them, and those all-nighters in the library before fi
From the Publisher
Why do the smartest students often do poorly on standardized tests?
Why did you tank that interview or miss that golf swing when you should have had it in the bag?
Why do you mess up when it matters the most—and how can you perform your best instead?
It happens to all of us. You’ve prepared for days, weeks, even years for the big day when you will finally show your stuff—in academics, in your career, in sports—but when the big moment arrives, nothing seems to work. You hit the wrong note, drop the ball, get stumped by a simple question. In other words, you choke. It’s not fun to think about, but now there’s good news: This doesn’t have to happen.
Dr. Sian Beilock, an expert on performance and brain science, reveals in Choke the astonishing new science of why we all too often blunder when the stakes are high. What happens in our brain and body when we experience the dreaded performance anxiety? And what are we doing differently when everything magically “clicks” into place and the perfect golf swing, tricky test problem, or high-pressure business pitch becomes easy? In an energetic tour of the latest brain science, with surprising insights on every page, Beilock explains the inescapable links between body and mind; reveals the surprising similarities among the ways performers, students, athletes, and business people choke; and shows how to succeed brilliantly when it matters most.
In lively prose and accessibly rendered science, Beilock examines how attention and working memory guide human performance, how experience and practice and brain development interact to create our abilities, and how stress affects all these factors. She sheds new light on counterintuitive realities, like why the highest performing people are most susceptible to choking under pressure, why we may learn foreign languages best when we’re not paying attention, why early childhood athletic training can backfire, and how our emotions can make us both smarter and dumber. All these fascinating findings about academic, athletic, and creative intelligence come together in Beilock’s new ideas about performance under pressure—and her secrets to never choking again. Whether you’re at the Olympics, in the boardroom, or taking the SAT, Beilock’s clear, prescriptive guidance shows how to remain cool under pressure—the key to performing well when everything’s on the line.
“A wonderful exploration of what happens inside when you choke on the outside. Essential for anyone who has, or plans, to compete, and especially for those who have choked.”
--Andrew Newberg, M.D., co-author of How God Changes Your Brain and Born to Believe