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NINJA BOOK REVIEW #7: PRESENCE

Short & Sweet reviews of our favorite books for entrepreneurs. This weeks review:

PRESENCE: BRINGING YOUR BOLDEST SELF TO YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGES

by Amy Cuddy

4 out of 5 NINJA STARS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Amy Cuddy is a Harvard Business School professor and social psychologist. A sought-after writer and speaker, she researches how non-verbal behavior and snap judgements influence people.

3 Key Achievements:

  • 2nd most-viewed Ted Talk in history. Watch here. 
  • Published and covered in top media: NPR, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Wired, Fast Company, and more
  • Award-Winning: Named a Game Changer by Time, a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science, one of 50 women Who Is Changing The world by Business Insider, and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum

10 TOP QUOTES

  1. “Personal power is all about having the confidence to act based on one’s own belief’s, attitudes, and values, and having the sense that one’s actions will be effective.”
  2.  “A good example of how precarious and fragile personal power can be – even someone who has achieved a certain amount of success can be brought low by just a few negative verdicts from complete strangers.”
  3. “Powerlessness and the anxiety that results from it undermine what psychologists call executive functions – high order cognitive tools such as reasoning, task flexibility, and attention control, all of which are critical to coping well in challenging situations.”
  4. “The link between anxiety and self-absorption is bidirectional; they cause each other.”
  5.  “The reality is that people just aren’t thinking about you as much as you think they are – even when you actually are the center of attention.”
  6. “When we feel powerful, we speak more slowly and take more time. We’re not afraid to pause. We feel entitled to the time we’re using.”
  7. “Taking control of your body language is not just about posing in a powerful way. it’s also about the fact that we pose in a powerless way much more often than we think – and we need to change that.”
  8. “Holding a single, expansive pose can make significant, measurable differences in the hormones related to confidence and anxiety.”
  9. “The high-status person is looking at the world and the low-status person is looking at himself.
  10. “When people speak slowly, they run the risk of being interrupted by others. In speaking slowly, one indicates that he or she has no fear of interruption.”

5 KEY TAKEAWAYS

  1. Feeling truly powerful doesn’t mean that we will bully or  bulldoze over other people; in fact it is the opposite – feeling powerful makes us more open to others, friendlier, more creative, better communicators, less controlling,  calmer, more pro-active, have much less anxiety, and feel highly in tune with ourselves.
  2. Studies show that feeling powerless causes people to want to control others, to support unfair and unjust systems, to feel threatened by competition, to cheat and deceive, and to feel aggression towards outsiders and immigrants.
  3. Because feeling powerful means that we feel that others do not control us and thus we care less about what other people think, it can have the negative effect of causing us to think less about other people in general. To counter this effect, powerful people should reflect on their own values and motivations. By perceiving themselves as fair, decent, just, accountable, responsible, accurate, and helpful, powerful people can make sure they do not neglect other people. Research shows self-reflection as a powerful and effective tool for avoiding corruption in people who feel powerful.
  4. Your posture is key to feeling powerful
  5. Speaking slowly and holding an expansive posture makes you feel more confident, less anxious, less self-absorbed, and generally more confident.

OUR NINJA OPINION

Freelancers often have clients and providers who, on paper, are perceived as more powerful because they have impressive job titles and numerous offices and employees.  However, the book Presence exhibits strong and convincing research proving that true power is something intrinsic and limitless inside of all of us. A must-read for freelancers!

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