Social psychologist and bestselling author Amy Cuddy is an expert on the behavioral science of power, presence, and prejudice. Amy, who teaches leadership at Harvard, earned her Ph.D. from Princeton University and has served on the faculties of Harvard Business School and Northwestern University.
Amy wasn’t supposed to become a successful scientist. In fact, she wasn’t even supposed to finish her undergraduate degree. In her second year of college, Cuddy suffered a serious traumatic brain injury after being ejected from a car in a high-speed crash, and doctors said she would struggle to finish school. However, she went on to complete a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude at the University of Colorado, a Master of Arts degree, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree at Princeton University.
Amy’s 2012 TED Talk, “Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are,” named by The Guardian as ‘One of 20 Online Talks that Could Change Your Life’, has been viewed more than 42 million times and is the second-most-viewed TED Talk.
Focusing on the power of nonverbal behavior, prejudice and stereotyping, the delicate balance of trustworthiness and strength, and the ways in which people can affect their own thoughts, feelings, performance, and psychological and physical well-being, she writes and speaks about how we can become more present, influential, compassionate, and satisfied in our professional and personal lives.
Using images of everyone from Oprah and Mick Jagger to world leaders and athletes, Amy talks about the relationship between posture and power. “So, what is your body language communicating to me?” she asks. “What’s mine communicating to you?”
She believes that by accessing our personal power, we can achieve “presence,” the state in which we stop worrying about the impression we’re making on others and instead adjust the impression we’ve been making on ourselves.
Amy has been named by the BBC as one of their 100 Women of 2017, a Game Changer by Time, one of 50 Women Who Are Changing the World by Business Insider.
Amy’s book Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges is a New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, and Globe & Mail bestseller and has been published in 30 languages. Her book suggests that we don’t need to embark on a grand spiritual quest or complete an inner transformation to harness the power of presence. Instead, we need to nudge ourselves, moment by moment, by tweaking our body language, behavior, and mind-set in our day-to-day lives.
Amy is now working on a second book, this one about bullying. Her latest blog post with Peter Glick, How Stereotypes Divide and Conquer Women, appeared in The Boston Globe.
“When you pretend to be powerful, you are more likely to actually feel powerful,” she says. “It’s not about the content of the message, but how you’re communicating it.”