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Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 6, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Taylor Clark is entertaining and humorous as he writes about fear, anxiety, and stress, and how the seemingly fearless actually handle fear with heroism. Clark's thesis, embracing fear and working with it to discover cool under pressure, is a theme we have heard before. But Nerve is very readable, full of case studies that brim with the personalities of the subjects and of Clark himself. His humorous footnote at the bottom of one page, "Incidentally, most of what we know about the science of fear comes from tormenting rats," is indicative of his writing style.
As someone who is hit with a fair amount of anxiety, I have read numerous books on the subject, many dry, and few helpful. Clark's Nerve is not a bombshell cure for fear and anxiety, but rather an engaging look at the science, stories, and mechanisms behind fear and cool. His suggested reading list at the end probably holds more answers for dealing with one's own fear and anxiety, but Nerve is a good, easy read that stimulated the pleasure center of my brain.
Non-trembling hands down, Taylor's book _Nerve_ is one of the best ones I've encountered on dealing with the "nervous trinity" of fear, anxiety, and stress. The author is actually the perfect person to deliver the message that fear is not the enemy we assume it to be. In the beginning of the book he admits that:
"I am hardly the cool-headed master of fear. I'm not a psychologist, and I'm not a guru with a seven-step plan to help you End Worry Today! Or Unleash Your Fearless Warrior Spirit...I am in fact, a fairly neurotic guy with more than my fair share of irrational, deep-seated worries and anxieties." (p. 13)
And, it is through his own research-inspired, actually-lived (and trembled-through) experiences of confronting his own demons that Taylor is able to offer a new way to relate to fear. His approach centers on the wisdom that "Fear is not our enemy. We don't need to get rid of fear or push it away. We need to learn how to be afraid." (p. 16)
With his wit, humor, savvy writing style, and down-to-earth guidance, Taylor shows that being afraid really is not so scary after all. As he points out: "Our problem is almost never 'fear itself' but the way we relate to that fear--by avoiding, withdrawing, seeking control, worrying, or falling victim to the mistaken belief that things will be okay only after we've annihilated all anxiety. Fear can be a good thing: it helps us survive, gives us meaning to our achievements, facilitates our performance, and makes us feel alive. Yes, fear can be uncomfortable and bewildering, and it can even thwart our most dearly held goals--but it doesn't have to be so...Read more ›
One of the most interesting chapters to me came at the end when Clark analyzes the disastrous yet ultimately successful mission of astronaut Gordon Cooper and how he managed to make it back to Earth under incredibly dangerous circumstances. However, I do think Clark has a tendency to be dramatic and that he may exaggerate Cooper's fear. The interesting thing is that whether or not you are trying to overcome a fear of speaking in public or attempting to land a disintegrating rocket, the skill set is the same.
Clark ends his book with a prescription of very useful skills for overcoming one's anxiety regardless if it's a fear of heights or facing down a loaded gun. My favorite part came at the very end when he suggests that courage is a path we walk throughout our life. I love that idea, courage as a path of life.
I would have given Nerve four stars if I hadn't read much of his bibliography already. He does rehash a lot of what I've already read. However, after finishing Nerve, I did feel like I had learned something new. I definitely recommend this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There is some good information in this book but it's buried in a lot of extra fluff, and a bit repetitive. However, there are many examples of dealing with stress, anxiety, etc. Read morePublished 1 month ago by DC8 from Philly
Great read, specially if there's an aspect of your life you've been avoiding. This book was recommended by one of medical school's professors. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Susan Mirabal
Well written, explains a lot and then it sums it up in 10 manageable advices to follow.Published 11 months ago by Enrico
This book is so good. I really appreciate the way the author ties research and stories together. I think I will use some of his stories in my clinical work.Published 12 months ago by Kelsy Newton
SO interesting and in depth. This has good bang for your buck, in the length, the amount of research that went into it, and the quality of ideas included. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Aech Kaye
An excellent read. Well researched, well written, and sprinkled with the perfect dose of humor. I worry a lot, stress myself out way too much, and get so fearful I tense up to the... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Ole
In Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool, Taylor Clark explores fear, stress, and anxiety. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Chicago Book Addict
Important subject. Makes complex neuroscience accessible. Would have liked shorter stories or less stories interspersed with faster takeway bullets for the busy reader.. Read morePublished on February 6, 2014 by Marianne/SF
Nerve is a great read on the relationship between fear, anxiety and courage and the ways that we use them (or enable them) to enhance (or hinder) our lives. Read morePublished on January 18, 2014 by sanpaulo