Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most is a fascinating book that seeks to provide readers with “pressure solutions” to help “immunize themselves against the sabotaging effects of pressure.” These “pressure solutions” are, in the final analysis, the “short-term strategies for overcoming pressure.”
The authors make it clear in advance that “managing the pressure of the moment will allow you to perform closer to your capability, which increases your likelihood of being successful.”
The book is supported by thousands of hours of research and suggests that “helping people manage pressure in their lives is an untapped strategy for unleashing their creative and intellectual potential.”
Part 1 gives an overview of the nature and science of pressure. Readers learn the difference between stress and pressure and why they feel “heat” in a pressure filled moment. This section is truly worth the price of the book.
Part 2 includes twenty-two pressure solutions. These strategies are designed to help readers work through periods of pressure and respond appropriately.
Part 3 includes long-term strategies and practical help for people who face pressure. The authors encourage readers to wear a COTE of Armor, a clever acronym that stands for confidence, optimism, tenacity, and enthusiasm. The authors reveal, “The emotional blending of confidence, optimism, tenacity, and enthusiasm makes up the fabric of that coat. With these attributes, you can immunize yourself against pressure so that your capability isn’t diminished or compromised by it, giving yourself your best chance to succeed.”
The main criticism I offer is that the book relies heavily on evolutionary theory. The irony of this approach is that the data presented is based on time-tested and pain-staking research. To rely on, and place so much stock in a theory such as evolution that will never be proven, detracts from some of the otherwise sound principles.
However, readers who embrace historic Christianity (as I do) should be careful not to discount what the authors present. For all truth is God’s truth. There is no reason to reject a given principle if the principle is supported by Scripture, reason, and experience.
Performing Under Pressure is a worthy and helpful read. It contains many practical suggestions that may be tailor-made to different people at different junctures.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.