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Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Other Don't
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Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Other Don't

3.06  ·  Rating Details ·  187 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
"Anyone who feels that they tend to lose their confidence when the stakes are high can glean something from this analysis."
-The Associated Press

Sooner or later everyone encounters a situation in which the stakes are high and the outcome is vital. And even top performers can crumble when faced with such extreme pressure. But then there are the performers who thrive under su
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Penguin Group (USA) (first published September 2nd 2010)
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(showing 1-30)
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Gretchen Rings
In a nutshell, clutch characteristics are:

1. Focus
2. Discipline
3. Adaptability
4. Powerful fears and desires culminating in a positive outcome
5. Double clutch (what women must be in male-dominated fields)

What's not clutch?
1. An inability to take responsibility for your actions
2. Overthinking
3. Overconfidence
Jun 29, 2011 Candi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gd-book-club, 2011
While I didn't disagree with the author's view, it felt like he just selected stories and jammed them into his idea for the book after he already decided what his point was going to be. Some of the stories were somewhat interesting, but they weren't compellingly told and I wasn't convinced that the success or failure of each example was solely due to their personal "clutchness" or "chokeness". None of the advice was very inspiring to me, and he even had to distill it down into just two areas: fi ...more
Kevin Eikenberry
This book’s title caught my eye in the store, so I picked it up. I read it on a plane trip recently. I was hopeful based on the title, and found it like many other books written by journalists – well researched, full of good writing and good stories.

ClutchThe author starts by describing what “clutch” is – and isn’t – through examples. (Clutch is the ability to do what you could normally do but under extremely challenging or pressure filled situations).

- See more at: http://blog.kevineikenberry.c
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don't by Paul Sullivan was chosen by Soundview Executive Book Summaries as one of the Top 30 Business Books of 2011.


As author of the Wealth Matters column in The New York Times, Paul Sullivan knows a bit about working in a high pressure environment. Clutch investigates the traits that help successful people deliver in crunch time, every time.

One excellent aspect of Clutch is Sullivan’s efforts to put high-pressure perfo
Nov 25, 2013 Cyndie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The book was a bit of a let down. I saw it on the shelf at the library and thought, how awesome! Being a veterinarian requires being great under pressure all the time, this book will be really helpful. Unfortunately the book let me down.

1 - It's based mostly on cherry-picked examples, without any scientific studies to support the points. If you pick the right anecdote you can support almost any theory. I feel like there is a lot of science out there on this topic, so its absence was suspicious.
Dec 11, 2013 Joseph rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The idea of thriving under pressure is interesting although the method introduced by the author (by and large interviewing successful people) may be influenced by survivorship bias.

still, I think the book may appeal to readers who are more competitive in nature. One can do a self evaluation based on the following framework provided by the author:

Clutch means (1) focus (2) discipline (3) adaptability (4) being present (5) (motivated by) fear and desire while choking means (1) (lack of) personal r
Jun 14, 2013 JP rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Clutch is an exceptional how-to guide for performing as well in the critical moments as one does in their best moments of relaxed practice. Sullivan makes his points primarily through stories - interesting ones - drawn from scenarios ranging from combat, to sports, to Fortune 100 finance. The successful characteristics he summarizes are made memorable by phrases like "fight the fight, not the plan." I'd recommend this book to anyone, because he applies the concepts equally to amateur sports and ...more
Matthew Anderson
Very interesting book - enjoyed hearing about the Leader's Responsibility which covered the differences between JP Morgan Chase's Jamie Dimon and BoA Ken Lewis's actions and inactions during the 2008 financial meltdown. Dimon did what he did just as if there was not a crisis, and did he stuck to what he knew, and was present in the moment.

Author Paul Sullivan covers a lot of disjointed ground - from Baseball, Billy Jean King, Tiger Woods to David Boies to Broadway plays & financials (UBS, Di
Jun 12, 2012 Dan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The author is a reporter who obviously had to brainstorm to find a unifying theme in all the stories that he had worked on in the past to tie them all together into one book. That theme is "clutch" or performance under pressure. Filled with lots of anecdotes and very little insights or data, I wouldn't say this book completely fails -- it has some interesting stories (probably more so if you like golf; I don't) -- it just completely fails at having any insights into "Why Some People Excel Under ...more
Jan 01, 2014 Ninakix rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-2010
I was excited to read another book about Sports Psychology, but found myself progressively disappointed as the book went on. The book boils down to the advice, "Just, practice a lot in high pressure situations." Of course, that doesn't really get at the issue: it just seems to be a way of avoiding the fact that the author couldn't crack the code, so to speak. And even for the principles of successful performers that he DID notice, these were too vague and obvious to even create any actionable ad ...more
Sep 23, 2015 Whitney rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-read
Did not finish. This book lacks the insight of the books it's imitating (e.g. Freakonomics).
Sep 25, 2010 Kirsti rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kirsti by: Newsweek
Two and a half stars. Some of the case studies were interesting, but I would have liked more of a global perspective. Most of them were about manly American men doing manly American things: playing baseball or golf or tennis, running a bank or a car company, selling real estate. The author tries to bring in a female perspective but provides few examples of females who perform in the clutch (Billie Jean King) or who don't (Michelle Wie).
I didn't finish this book. The concept is interesting enough, but the logic of the arguments fell short for me. The author told stories that emphasized his arguments, but it sounds forced and it wasn't interesting enough for me to try and devote the time needed to see if he was making sense or not. My guess is that he had this collection of stories of successful people and didn't know how to tie them together- so he choose clutch.
Oct 28, 2015 Rob rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This author needs to stop gushing over his interviewees.
Feb 05, 2013 Allison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
5 traits for someone who is a clutch:
Being present

3 who chokes
Personal responsibility
Over thinking
Over confident

Overall a very interesting read. Some great examples. But stops short at providing a reader a solid coaching on practical ways to be a clutch. We all know the theory but yet lacks the working methodology.
Dec 22, 2011 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An informative and highly readaable book on the differences between people who choke under pressure and people who are "clutch," i.e. deal well with such situations. The book uses lots of case studies, many from the sports world. He's not deep or academic, but Sullivan does offer entertaining food for thought.
Jul 15, 2012 sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love this kind of book--gives great examples of clutch people and defines clutch in a simple and clear way. After you read this book, you'll have an idea of what you can do to be better at those anxiety-producing situations (run a meeting, public speaking, perform in front of an audience).
Carl C
Two and a half stars: I had some difficulty reading this one. Although it had great points about *how-to* deal with pressure under performance, the vignettes/illustrations weren't enough to keep my attention.

So, I'll just leave this review as it is.
Mary Louise
Excellent book about why some excel under pressure while others don't. And mindfullness is a big part of it--stay in the moment, keeping the past and future at Bay. Sheesh, where'd I hear that one? Oh yeah, Buddhism. :-)
Sep 16, 2014 Shin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-hold, useless
The book consists of random examples that are very boring, very long, and had very weak links to what the author thinks what being clutch is. I have found very little useful information in it.

Joe Ciola
Aug 11, 2013 Joe Ciola rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Worth reading for leaders and leadership coaches. Unfortunately, the most to gain from this, namely, narcissists, pre-madonnas, and overconfident leaders will be in denial in reading this.
Jan 31, 2011 Micah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, but did not have me gripped. Now that I know the traits of people who are good under's just too much pressure. I'm not sure I'll ever be good under pressure.
Aug 21, 2013 Anne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
To be honest, I think this book suffered for me because hearing the word "clutch" repeated endlessly for 8 hours got annoying. The rest of the content didn't make up for it.
Chris Mcmanaman
Sep 15, 2012 Chris Mcmanaman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't remember anything about this book and I just finished it a week ago. I liked the stories...but nothing memorable to report.
Feb 28, 2011 Bernie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice book. Made you think, or decide not to over-think about what you do or don't do in clutch situations
Jay Z
This book is the idiot cousin of Taylor Clark's Nerve. Read that, not this.
Mar 17, 2013 Caroline rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not what I was hoping for...
Clint Kuipers
Aug 01, 2011 Clint Kuipers rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not a good book.
Vaish is currently reading it
Sep 25, 2016
Jay P
Jay P marked it as to-read
Sep 17, 2016
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Paul Sullivan is the author of Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don't (Portfolio/Penguin,), which was published in 2010. The Wall Street Journal praised Clutch for offering “valuable suggestions for what we can do to get through a make-or-break moment with a better chance of success,” and Time Magazine called it “a well-written examination of what makes a person perform desp ...more
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