Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool

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9780316042895: Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool

Nerves make us bomb job interviews, first dates, and SATs. With a presentation looming at work, fear robs us of sleep for days. It paralyzes seasoned concert musicians and freezes rookie cops in tight situations. And yet not everyone cracks. Soldiers keep their heads in combat; firemen rush into burning buildings; unflappable trauma doctors juggle patient after patient. It's not that these people feel no fear; often, in fact, they're riddled with it.

In Nerve, Taylor Clark draws upon cutting-edge science and painstaking reporting to explore the very heart of panic and poise. Using a wide range of case studies, Clark overturns the popular myths about anxiety and fear to explain why some people thrive under pressure, while others falter-and how we can go forward with steadier nerves and increased confidence.

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About the Author:

Taylor Clark is a writer based in Portland, Oregon. A graduate of Dartmouth College and a Pacific Northwest native, he has written for GQ, Slate, and Psychology Today, among other publications.

From Booklist:

Clark, author of Starbucked (2007), maintains his light, frequently humorous tone in this (mostly) serious look at the psychology of stress. Drawing on various forms of research, and numerous real-life stories, the author explores the reasons why we feel stress, our responses to it, and what we can do to deal with it constructively. Clark takes us through the history of stress research, from early breakthroughs (Walter Cannons 1915 elucidation of the fight-or-flight response) to experimental research (most of what we know about the science of fear comes from tormenting rats, Clark wryly observes) to todays cutting-edge explorations of the workings of the human brain. The subjects of his real-life stories of dealing with stress under intense pressure range from Russian sub commanders to game-show contestants to tsunami survivors to pro athletes to musicians. The author makes some shrewd observations (for example, that Cannons fight-or-flight response leaves out a third F: freeze), and, unlike many authors of popular-science books, he really knows how to write, too: the book is informative, engaging, and, in quite a few places, funny. --David Pitt

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