Synopses & Reviews
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. Youve 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. Its not fun to think about, but now theres good news: This doesnt 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 counter-intuitive realities, like why the highest performing people are most susceptible to choking under pressure, why we may learn foreign languages best when were 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 Beilocks new ideas about performance under pressure—and her secrets to never choking again. Whether youre at the Olympics, in the boardroom, or taking the SAT, Beilocks clear, prescriptive guidance shows how to remain cool under pressure—the key to performing well when everythings on the line.
“When do we thrive under pressure? When is it better to stop thinking about what we are doing and simply do it? This informative book teaches us when less can be more, in sports, in exams, and other areas where performance under stress is critical. Its engaging real-world examples offer the reader a wealth of useful and challenging insights into how our brain functions when the heat is on.”
--Gerd Gigerenzer, author of Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious
is required reading for anyone who has to perform under pressure. Beilock takes you on a riveting tour of the science of success, with an insider's insights into what it means for the real-world challenges of business, sports, and education. Beilock gives you the tools to make your brain choke-proof and rise to any challenge.”
--Kelly McGonigal, PhD, author of Yoga for Pain Relief and the forthcoming The Science of WIllpower
“Do you want to hit better shots on the golf course? Score higher on the SAT? Get less nervous before speaking in public? In this marvelous book, Sian Beilock will tell you how, as she reveals the mental secrets to performing under pressure.”
--Jonah Lehrer, author of How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist
“Alluring and daunting” -- Wired.com
Breakthrough new science links brain and body intelligence (and how they break down) closer than ever and shows how to succeed when it matters most
About the Author
Sian Beilock, a leading expert on cognitive science and the many factors influencing all types of performance, is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago. She received a BS in Cognitive Science from the University of California, San Diego in 1997 and PhDs in both kinesiology and psychology from Michigan State University in 2003.