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Issue 74 - 03 | Being Clutch, Or How Not To Choke Under Pressure

By Paul Sullivan
Published Sept. 8, 2010 1:00 p.m.
“Being great under pressure is hard work. This is part of the reason why we are so impressed by people who seem immune to choking. These people come through in the clutch when others don’t. If they’re business leaders, they become gurus other executives want to emulate. In politics, the person who runs the gauntlet wins the election, but if he can do so in a particularly cunning way, he becomes an example of strategic excellence. In combat, it is the leaders who come under fire and get their men to safety who are recognized as war heroes. If the people are sporting figures, their triumphs become legendary. We are so fascinated by these feats that we have created a nearly mythical aura around clutch performers."

About Paul Sullivan | Paul Sullivan is the author of Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don’t (Portfolio, 2010). He writes the Wealth Matters column for The New York Times. His articles have appeared in Conde Nast Portfolio, The International Herald Tribune, Barron’s, The Boston Globe, and Food & Wine. From 2000 to 2006, he was a reporter, editor and columnist at the Financial Times. His first big story for FT was a profile of the author Kurt Vonnegut, who he approached on a train leaving Springfield, Massachusetts, and the two spoke on their way to New York City. (His last piece for the FT was Vonnegut’s obituary.) Paul received degrees in history from Trinity College and the University of Chicago. He lives in Stamford, Connecticut, with his family.


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