Clutch: Why some excel under pressure and others don’t

by Lynn Lofton

Published: May 29,2011

Tags: Book Biz, Clutch, Paul Sullivan

The book world is overflowing with motivational and self-help books for business and professional readers. New York Times ‘Wealth Matters’ columnist and former Financial Times reporter Paul Sullivan takes a fresh approach in his book Clutch which was published last September. He looks at why some people excel under pressure and others don’t; those who are clutch and those who are not.

Sullivan’s goal was to find people who were clutch and deconstruct what made them so good. He explored this theme with a skinny sergeant who saved his battalion in Iraq; a rookie baseball player who pitched his team into its first World Series; an eccentric psychiatrist who trained a group of financial traders to become the best in the world; and a lawyer who struggled in school and is now one of the top litigators in America.

Lemuria Bookstore owner John Evans recommends Clutch because he believes success under intensity is hard work. “Being a bookseller in 2011, I found reading Clutch helpful as I prepare mentally for this time of publishing change,” he said. “Clutch decisions for small bookstores are critical as we try to stay in business as the recession subsides. Understanding your clutch strengths and weaknesses is a good tool in the work toward success and survival. Move forward without fear and haste; utilize your strengths to increase the endurance of your business.”

Evans adds that Sullivan wants to show people how to become better while under pressure and avoid the simple mistakes that cause most of us to choke. Sullivan asserts that the following traits make an individual clutch: focus, discipline, adaptability, being ready for whatever comes your way; and fear and desire – carrying your drama and recycling it into discipline.

“Why do people choke? Part of success may involve how people perceive their actions,” Evans said. “Take responsibility and learning from your mistakes. Be accountable for your actions. My actions equal my results. On the other hand, Sullivan also explores the dangers of over thinking and over confidence traps.”

In the book, Sullivan analyzes how to be clutch and what it can teach us. Clutch awareness allows us to enjoy our pleasures fully as the opportunity presents itself.

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