Review: Presence by Amy Cuddy

Presence by Amy CuddyImagine that you have just finished a job interview, a debate, a presentation, or a sales pitch and afterwards, you come up with what you could have said or done that would have made it better. Sound familiar? Most of us have experienced those feelings of regret before.

Amy Cuddy, who has a Ph.D. in social psychology from Princeton University, wrote Presence to present her research about how we can manipulate our body to “trick” in order to feel more confident and to bring out the best versions of ourselves. The nonverbal communication tactics include power posing and breathing management.

One of the power poses has affectionally been nicknamed “Wonder Woman” from her TED Talk, “Your body language shapes who you are.” (The TED Talk is at the end of this post.)

Cuddy shares a personal story where she suffered a brain injury from a car accident while she was in college, and the accident lowered her IQ. Because of the injury, it took her another four years to finish college, but she went on to graduate school. She discusses how she felt the dreadful “imposter syndrome” and how she overcame it over time by using nonverbal communication tactics along the way.

I found Presence to be insightful. Cuddy supplies both qualitative and quantitative studies to provide evidence for her argument that your body can communicate to your mind before you communicate to your body. So to all the women out there: no more slouching and hunching over – sit up straight and expand your body to show confidence!

Cuddy provides a plethora of anecdotes and studies with statistical findings to support her argument that you can “fake it until you become it.” She also discussed a study where veterans slowly overcame powerful symptoms of PTSD with yoga sessions, which is a combination of poses and breathing that help us feel calm and confident.

Although her findings illuminated the theory, some chapters were long and dense, but the read was worth it. If you’ve read Presence or have seen her TED Talk, what do you think? Have you tried power posing before going into high-pressure situations?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s