NERVE by Taylor Clark

Taylor Clark, the Portland-based author of Starbucked, is back with his second book, Nerve, and this time around he decided to tackle a different, seemingly unwieldy topic: fear. In this day and age, many people aren’t comfortable honestly talking about this topic in a country so obsessed with happiness and stability. In effect, Taylor has written a self help book for people who hate self help books; he looks into why we have so much trouble with anxiety in our daily lives and offers us explanations from a bevy of psychologists, scientists, and people who have lived through harrowing, near-death experiences. (Check out missionary David Livingstone’s successful attempt at playing dead while in the jaws of a lion on page 28.) Clark recognizes the power of the amygdala over our reactions, but also realizes that preparation is the best way to overcome adversity.