Amy Cuddy

“Presence - Bringing Your Boldest Self to your Biggest Challenges”

by Nina from MindGourmet

It was her 2012 TED talk “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” that propelled Harvard Business School professor and social psychologist Amy Cuddy into the public light. It became the second-most viewed talk in TED’s history, seen by tens of millions of people. The overwhelmingly positive response led her to write her book “Presence – Bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges”.

So what caused her to study and then teach the power of nonverbal behavior, the delicate balance of trustworthiness and strength and the ways in which people can affect their thoughts, feelings and behaviors?

 The Effect of A Traumatic Brain Injury

When she was 19 years old, Amy suffered from a traumatic brain injury caused by a severe car accident. In the introduction of “Presence”, she describes how she perceived herself as a different person after she was so badly hurt: “How you think, how you feel, how you express yourself, respond, interact – all of these dimensions are affected. On top of that, your ability to understand yourself has probably taken a hit, so you’re not really in a position to know exactly how you’ve changed. And no one – NO ONE – can tell you what to expect.”

From Being Discouraged to Becoming Empowered

Having been deeply discouraged, confused and alienated, Amy step by step worked herself back into life and a new, empowering sense of self. Competence and courage emerged in her, which ultimately led her to her profession as a psychologist.

“My injury led me to study the science of presence, but it was my TED talk that made me realize just how universal the yearning for it is. Because here’s the thing: most people are dealing with stressful challenges every day. People in every corner of the world and in all walks of life are trying to work up the nerve to speak in class, to interview for a job, to audition for a role, to confronting a daily hardship, to stand up for what they believe in, or to just find peace being who they are.”

Being In Our Power When Life Challenges Us The Most

So how can we be in our power when life challenges us the most? Often we feel anxious and fearful before a dreaded situation and regretful afterwards because we felt powerless and flawed instead of being able to show up as our best selves.

In “Presence” Amy Cuddy gives the reader a deep understanding of what is going on in these moments. She shares her own experiences as well as many illustrating stories that are interwoven with her research results. She gives lots of helpful tips, inspiration and approaches to changes that sometimes seem impossible. This book has the potential to switch many lightbulbs on in your head, for example when you read about “How to pose for presence”, “Fake it till you become it” and “Self-Nudging: How tiny tweaks lead to big changes”.


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Published May 2nd, 2017