Maria’s staff pick: “Presence,” by Amy Cuddy

by Jaime Cary

Presence, by Amy Cuddy

What is presence, and how do we get it? This are the questions that Amy Cuddy seeks to answer in her book Presence. The answers she comes up with and the ways she presents them are entirely different than what I expected. I was expecting just another self-help book that went into dominant posturing and tips on how to speak, but what Cuddy is talking about is something entirely different. Using tons of research, she looks into how posture can affect the brain, and how we can change that posture in order to bring our “biggest selves” to our biggest challenges. It was fascinating.

Cuddy examines the ideas of “power” and “presence” from several different angles. She looks at how differences in power affect peoples’ relationships (employers and employees), why the imposter experience is so widespread, and why post traumatic stress is so debilitating. She then examines how and why power posturing affects the body and how it can be actively used to treat several different problems.

Throughout the entire book she does this compassionately with a wonderful dose of humor. She explains complicated neurological ideas very simply, and never stops asking questions to push her research to the next step. This is a great read for anyone who has ever dealt with anxiety, imposter syndrome, depression, fears of public speaking and so many more things. At the very least, check out her TED talk. You won’t be sorry that you did.

— Jaime Cary


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