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Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  14,884 ratings  ·  1,205 reviews

Have you ever left a nerve-racking challenge and immediately wished for a do over? Maybe after a job interview, a performance, or a difficult conversation? The very moments that require us to be genuine and commanding can instead cause us to feel phony and powerless. Too often we approach our lives' biggest hurdles with dread, execute
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published December 22nd 2015 by Little, Brown Spark (first published November 3rd 2015)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  14,884 ratings  ·  1,205 reviews

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Laura McNeal
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
I don't read self-help books. Metaphorically I'm a 17-year-old hearing that it would be better to start my homework on Saturday instead of Sunday night at eight. My inner voice screams, "I KNOOOOOOOOW." But someone sent this book to my husband to review, or maybe just as advice, because he doesn't read self-help books either. You have to be far more optimistic than we are to believe you could possibly learn anything from a book that says it can tell you how to bring your boldest self to your big ...more
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
Watch the TED Talk. Skip the book. Except for Chapters 8 & 9 (which covered the content of her TED Talk in a little more detail), the remainder was a rehashing of old studies the author force-fit into her theme of "presence" and reprints of emails she received from fans. ...more
Always Pouting
More self help books yikes, when will I finish all the ones I bought without thinking about it when they were on sale? The author of this one also has a TED talk and as seems to be the case with books by authors with successful TED talks it's much more worthwhile to skip the book and just watch the talk. Yeah they expand on there research some what but most of the time they just pad the same thing they said in their talk with, you guessed it, anecdotes. Also the idea of fake it until you make it ...more
Feb 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
This book is an unnecessarily long article about acting self-confident when you don't feel it. Am I the only person who read Cosmo magazine in the 90s? I distinctly remember reading Cosmo magazine in my 20s with this exact advice. "When you walk into a party, Cosmo girls walk in with their chin up, smile on her face, eyes friendly and scanning the room.." So yes, do you need to read this book when all you need to do is pull back issues of Cosmo?

What made it even harder to read is the author spe
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The reason why I bought this book was because Amy Cuddy's TED talk about "power posing" helped me through a difficult challenge. I felt like an impostor in my probability theory class. It was my first mathematical theory class, and, frankly, I had felt misplaced for much of the semester. I was one of the youngest people in the class and generally felt inadequate about my math preparation (even though I shouldn't have!). After watching her TED talk and committing myself to changing my posture and ...more
Isabella Roland
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
Skip this and watch her TED talk. This book is full of anecdotal information. If you are just looking for the crucial concepts, you will find that there is a little too much fluff. What could have been condensed into under 100 pages was unnecessarily elaborated on with a bunch of stories. Part of the reason why her TED talk was so appealing was that it condensed all the need to know information into 18 minutes. This book has way more words than it should. It has more stories than instructions.
Jonathan Karmel
May 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
I took this book out of the library based on the title – Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges – after reading the back cover. I have read some other books by philosophers and psychologists, and especially those who are proponents of meditation, about the importance of being present. My understanding of this concept is that there is a lot of value to trying to focus your attention on the present moment, rather than letting your mind wonder to distracting thoughts about ...more
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
First, watch Amy Cuddy's Ted Talk.
Then, read this book.
It has made me really really think about a few things and how I carry myself in the world. I also am really grateful to know that I have "personal power" and don't rely on "social power" to get through the world.
Great way to end 2015 and start 2016!
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Amy Cuddy writes a story-filled book on how to build yourself up before any challenging conflict so that you can be present and put your best effort into whatever challenge may arise.

In Presence, Amy highlights her research and that by other social psychologists who study how people prepare for conflicts and what seems to work best to be in a position of power. The overwhelming research shows that you should use body cues and mind tricks to help psych yourself up for a conflict.

Much like a run
Sean Goh
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Presence stems from believing and trusting in yourself. It is the state of being attuned to and able to comfortably express our true thoughts, feelings, values and potential.

All changes have their melancholy, for what we leave behind is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. -Anatole France

Treat even the most difficult interactions as opportunities for me to reveal what I'm capable of and to express my worthiness.

First impressions based on qualities of enthus
Hillary Pincus
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Narrated by the author. Held my attention the entire time! Really enjoyed it.

I really enjoyed this read. From points on power poses to the benefits of yoga for PTS sufferers, Amy Cuddy lends insight on how we carry ourselves and the internal/external effects it has on our minds and bodies.
From a young age, my Mom was always on me about my posture. Little did I know (she probably didn't realize either), that she was teaching me some of these tips. Glad to learn more about it. Even made my 15 yea
Oct 22, 2018 rated it liked it
While this was an interesting read and I may apply some of the concepts it discussed to my own life, half of the time it felt extremely repetitive and self-serving.

While I appreciate that Cuddy referenced other research besides her own when backing up her points, she didn't do it well. While a good writer would be able to reference the results of multiple studies in a way that makes the information gleaned build upon the previously referenced study and provide additional support for her point, t
Mark Potter
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Presence is an excellent read for anyone who wants a better understanding of how the body can influence the mind as well as how to 'nudge' and 'power pose'/'starfish up' your way to becoming your "authentic best self". The author's story is inspirational as are the stories of others who have used her techniques. No matter which side of the podium or table you are on, I think this book can help the participants unlock the potential of the moment. ...more
Sep 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: waiting
This book was written after the TED talk. Maybe watching it would be a better idea than reading this book since there is not much content added, just a few stories "from letters" after the TED. ...more
I picked up this book, aiming for a book that would be quiet and technical, thinking it would be great to read before bed (and put me to sleep.) Instead I found an utterly fascinating and profound book that I can't stop talking about.

Amy Cuddy did the now-famous TED talk on power poses and this book grew out of it, but it is about so much more. We need to be present for things in our lives, and that often starts with the body. if we sit in a position of powerlessness (legs wrapped around each ot
Bridgette Beyers
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My youngest sibling, a sweet 17 yr old girl was subjected to the most awful cyber bullying; she endured it but it left a mark. Self doubt set in and her school performance suffered. My parents asked me to return to Vancouver so that I may help her. I felt absolutely helplessness, instinctively I knew that Amy Cuddy was going to coach me so that I could do the same for my sister - No kidding! She was to be the coach because of an indelible impression her TedTalk had made on me. Google search reve ...more
Mar 10, 2016 rated it did not like it
Boring! I wanted to like the book, thinking maybe I might gain tips for job interviews. Previous feedback have included that I seem rather "quiet" or that I don't talk a lot. As an introvert, interviews are already a stretch for me and so I'm not sure how to better impress potential hiring people.
That said, I really didn't get anything worthwhile from the book. While I haven't watched the TED talk, I totally agree with reviews that say this book is quite repetitive. The e-mail and message repri
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was about the topic of the mind body connection in social psychology. it was specifically about how body language, body posture, how you speak, etc affects your mind. It has great ideas for learning to become more confident, getting out of a funky mindset or depression, doing better on tests or job interviews, etc. Loved this book! I learned so much! It was super well-researched and documented. The author did a TED talk, "Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are", that is a summary of her ...more
Anyta Sunday
Sound advice. This really helps me.
This is perhaps the best book I have ever read on this subject. At first I wasn't sure, but once I made sure to read it for a challenge I was impressed. The writing is good, and the information well laid out. I have to say that the best part isn't right at the beginning.

Amy Cuddy and her colleagues have not only done a lot of work with their research, but she cites a number of other studies and includes feedback she has received on how to help yourself find presence in a situation--to feel more
K.L. Lantz
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a life changer! I'm so happy it came into my life when it did. I wish I had read it before high school, before college, and before all those times I let negative self-evaluation stand between myself and being truly present when it mattered. But alas, Amy Cuddy hadn't written it yet. She hadn't even given her popular TED talk summarizing the "science of presence." The good news is that these powerful self-nudges work! And all of the positive experiences I've had and will yet have, cr ...more
Jan 16, 2016 rated it liked it
I loved the message of this book. It is packed with a lot of testimonials and detailed descriptions of studies backing up the points made, so I would suggest just watching the TED talk and then reading the book only if you're really wanting to know more. It got a bit long for me. ...more
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and hearing how our presence/actions can set a positive, strong tone for our daily lives.
LynnDee (LynnDee's Library)
I really liked the first half because a lot of it resonated with me, but the second half felt like it was repeating the same information, just in various ways.

Overall, I think if you watch the TED talk she mentions you will get the gist of what this book is about, but if you want more scientific backing and anecdotes then read the book.
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book took me a full year and a half to finish which could indicate Dr. Cuddy's need for a more decisive editor, but more likely points to my inability to stay focused on a single book at a time. But despite it's length, I *power pose* am *power pose* convinced *power pose* of *power pose* her *power pose* research! *grand starfish finale* ...more
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I found this book intriguing and heart warming. Most people have heard about the mind body link and how your thoughts can affect your body and your health but this book takes the logical next step and explains how your body posture can affect your thoughts and feelings and how confident you feel within yourself.

If you stand in the winner's position - as illustrated on the cover of the book - then you make yourself take up more room and increase your physical presence. This position is universal
Oct 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
To preface, I've been familiar with Amy Cuddy for a long time and was, like many others, moved by her TED talk. I follow her on Twitter. I did a power pose on the top of a cathedral bell tower in Spain the other day. I'm not in her field and have no particular opinion on whether the effects of posture and other nonverbal signals are placebo effects or actually affect the brain, but I was really excited to read this book.

To give a very very brief summary in case you haven't/don't want to watch th
Samson Sunny
Apr 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Nice book on how to present yourself in a meeting or while giving some presentations. This book mainly talks about the relationship between the body and mind. How your body postures affecting your mind. How yoga is helpful to coordinate your mind peaceful.

There are few powerful postures are there while sitting and standing. If you follow those things you will look very confident person. The people who are seeing you also have some good opinion on you. They ll listen what you talk.

Presence is b
I watched the TED talk. I tried to read the book in two days and guess was too much like reading a psychology text and I had to slow down and read it in pieces. This is not the kind of book which I enjoy reading (self-help). Give me good fiction any day! I did enjoy looking at the power poses and recognizing my own use of one of them when I worked in the ER. I also recognized right away a couple of power poses that I have frequently seen in others at work.
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
I listened to the audiobook, which I'd highly recommend for anyone who loves Amy Cuddy's magnificient TedTalk. This appealed to my nerdy, PhD wannabe self who happens to also have a guilty pleasure in self-help. Presence is great not only because it utilizes actual research and science, but it provides the tools to becoming one's best self. ...more
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107 likes · 79 comments
“preparation is obviously important, but at some point, you must stop preparing content and start preparing mind-set. You have to shift from what you’ll say to how you’ll say it.” 26 likes
“focus less on the impression you’re making on others and more on the impression you’re making on yourself.” 22 likes
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