Choke

  • by Sian Beilock
  • Narrated by Suzanne Toren
  • 11 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

It happens to all of us. You've prepared for days, weeks, even years for the big day when you will finally show your stuff in academics, in your career, in sports but when the big moment arrives, nothing seems to work. You hit the wrong note, drop the ball, get stumped by a simple question. In other words, you choke. It's not fun to think about, but now there's good news: This doesn't have to happen.
Dr. Sian Beilock, an expert on performance and brain science, reveals in Choke the astonishing new science of why we all too often blunder when the stakes are high. What happens in our brain and body when we experience the dreaded performance anxiety? And what are we doing differently when everything magically "clicks" into place and the perfect golf swing, tricky test problem, or high-pressure business pitch becomes easy? In an energetic tour of the latest brain science, with surprising insights on every page, Beilock explains the inescapable links between body and mind; reveals the surprising similarities among the ways performers, students, athletes, and business people choke; and shows how to succeed brilliantly when it matters most.
In lively prose and accessibly rendered science, Beilock examines how attention and working memory guide human performance, how experience and practice and brain development interact to create our abilities, and how stress affects all these factors. She sheds new light on counter-intuitive realities, like why the highest performing people are most susceptible to choking under pressure, why we may learn foreign languages best when were not paying attention, why early childhood athletic training can backfire, and how our emotions can make us both smarter and dumber. All these fascinating findings about academic, athletic, and creative intelligence come together in Beilock's new ideas about performance under pressure - and her secrets to never choking again.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Buzz Word Festival

You know those public speakers who go around peddling easy answers at bored business men forced to come to a team-building seminar by their out-of-the-loop boss? Well this PHD is one of those. Yeah. This book is not empty, but check it out of the local library and skim it in about 2 hours. Find the cool facts and study results, save yourself a lot of time and grief. That's the brief. Want more, keep going.

Written for a "low-powered" audience with very little "working memory" this author uses every trick even 4th graders know to add length to that paper that just won't reach the required number of words. This is a "padded" book. She tells you what she is going to tell you (in the next chapter we will discuss... more on that later (wink)), then she tells you. Again and again. Then she tells you what she told you. (Remember how in Chapter 2...) Plus there are the sentence fatteners. "Think about that for a second..." "However", "obviously", and so forth as well. Plus she gives you a buzz word, defines it, then continues to define it every time for the rest of the book. Like "working memory" above. That, is your "cognitive horsepower". (Its mean to call people smart or dumb.) You can be "high-powered" (smart), or "low-powered" (dumb). Basically. Get used to those terms as they are in every paragraph. The narration must be classified as a hate crime. Silly and hammy like a bad actress on a cheap sitcom handed a lab coat and told she is a cooky doctor. The author also strains off topic a lot, spending more words on fake examples (Jared is a black student at Princeton) and a sermon for why prejudice is mean and bad. Lots of examples of when people choked, as if the very existence of choking were her topic. She's a used car salesman thumping the hood to impress you after you've already said "I'll take it." The worst part though is ending every section with "they choked...under the...pressure!" With long pauses like a time worn punch-line.
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- andrew

Anxiety and Performance

In "Choke" Sian Deilock, professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, reveals what brain science is telling us about performance anxiety - choking. She opens the book reviewing the related literature on performance, neuroplasticity, pratice and other topics related to choking. She concludes with a series of practical things that individuals, students, and parents can do to help themselves and others overcome performance hazards. The last portion of the book focuses on choking in detail.

This is a book that is written to be available to anyone whose interest is in athletic, academic, or creative performance. Don't let this book pass you by whatever your reading interest. The writing sparkles and the reading of Suzanne Torren is excellent.
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- Roy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-21-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios