Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Book Review: Clutch

Rounding out Soundview Executive Book Summaries’ trio of new business book summaries is Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don’t by Paul Sullivan. As author of the Wealth Matters column in The New York Times, Sullivan knows a bit about working in a high pressure environment. His book investigates the traits that help successful people deliver in crunch time, every time.

One excellent aspect of Clutch is Sullivan’s efforts to put high-pressure performance in a context other than the sporting world. While he acknowledges that sports is pursuit most often referenced when people discuss clutch performance, it’s not the only field where objectives are accomplished under intense conditions. In the Soundview summary, Sullivan demonstrates to readers why even the traditional sports definition of clutch is not entirely accurate. His example of the difference between clutch and luck serves as a simple rule of thumb that leaders can use when explaining the concept to their employees.

Sullivan’s book is filled with stories of clutch performances from a variety of industries. It is not difficult for executives to find the aspects of their own jobs that relate directly to one or more situations in the book. Sullivan’s journalism background translates to quick delivery of memorable information. He combines a reporter’s brevity with a storyteller’s flair. His discussion of adaptability as a key to performing under pressure is illustrated by a recounting of the 1981 assassination attempt against President Ronald Reagan. In a pre-GPS era, Reagan’s team of Secret Service agents rerouted the president’s limo to an unplanned location and got him the urgent care he needed. This story provides leaders with a great point to pass along to their teams: even under disastrous conditions, the focus should be on creating a direct solution rather than lamenting the present problem.

To find out how you can apply Sullivan’s findings and become a clutch performer, pick up a copy of Soundview’s summary of Clutch.

Don’t forget, Soundview offers thousands of FREE business book reviews. To access the business book review database, visit Soundview online at


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