Book review: Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To, by Sian Beilock.
This book provides some clues about why pressure causes some people to perform less well than they otherwise would, and gives simple (but not always easy) ways to reduce that effect. There’s a good deal of overlap between this book’s advice and other self-improvement advice. The book modestly enhances how I think about the techniques and how motivated I am to use them.
The main surprise about the causes is that people with large working memories are more likely to choke because they’re more likely to over-analyze a problem, presumably because they’re better at analyzing problems. They’re also less creative. There are also interesting comments about the role of small working memories in ADHD.
The book includes some interesting comments on how SAT tests provide misleading evidence of sexual differences in ability, and how social influences can affect sexual differences in ability (for example, having a more feminine name makes a girl less likely to learn math).
The book’s style is unusually pleasant.