After my BarkleyREI Book Club book, I jumped back into some nonfiction. I realized that I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction lately, but I’ve been very into Ted talks and inspirational blogs, so I’ve discovered a lot of writers who I feel I can relate to, or who research topics that are really interesting to me.
So my next book, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges, was written by Amy Cuddy who I discovered from her Ted talk about the “Wonder Woman pose.” Being an introvert myself, I was fascinated by the idea that our body language shapes how we act in a situation, and that I could make myself feel more confident by holding a confident pose for a few minutes.
Cuddy’s book explores her topic and research in more detail, to discuss how people build or display what she calls presence. Presence is, as the title describes, your best, boldest self. It is power and confidence and calm and clarity. It is the ability to articulate your thoughts and opinions. It is the ability to enter an unknown situation with a feeling of certainty. It is bravery and courage in the face of new challenges.
While I really liked reading about this topic, I was not thrilled with the book itself and Cuddy’s writing. I felt that her book lacked a story. It seemed to be a series of recaps of research experiments that prove what she has found to be true. Which is good, I guess, to understand where this research is coming from and how it was developed, but at the same time, I wanted more anecdotes and more description.
I believe that Cuddy’s research is really valuable and important though. She explains in her book how it has helped so many people become the best versions of themselves, and therefore, bring about profound change in their lives. They get new jobs, they make better decisions, they stand up for themselves, all because they learned how to practice and embody presence.
The idea of the “Wonder Woman pose” is something that I’ll continue to try to work into my own life. In fact, I stood in a power pose for a few minutes just the other day, right before I gave a presentation about social advertising for lead generation to a room full of Pittsburgh marketers. I think it worked!