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The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged

4.2 out of 5 stars 263 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'An electrifying book about a potent state of mind. If you aren't inspired to brainhack your way up to the next level, start again at page one' David Eagleman, neuroscientist, New York Times bestselling author of Incognito. 'Some of the stories of extreme sports are remarkable' Matthew Syed, The Times. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Steven Kotler is a New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning journalist. His books include the nonfiction works Abundance, A Small Furry Prayer, and West of Jesus, and the novel The Angle Quickest for Flight. His articles have appeared in more than sixty publications, including the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic Monthly, Wired, Forbes, and GQ. He writes “Far Frontiers,” a blog about innovation and technology, for Forbes.com and “The Playing Field,” a blog about the science of sport and culture, for PsychologyToday.com. Kotler is also the cofounder and director of research at the Flow Genome Project, an international organization devoted to decoding the peak performance state of flow, and the cofounder of the New Mexico–based Rancho de Chihuahua dog sanctuary. He has a BA in English and creative writing from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an MA in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University.
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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; MP3 Una edition (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1480570834
  • ISBN-13: 978-1480570832
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (263 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,114,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

STEVEN KOTLER is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning journalist, and co-founder and director of research for the Flow Genome Project. His books include the non-fiction works "Bold," "The Rise of Superman," "Abundance," "A Small Furry Prayer" "West of Jesus," and the novel "The Angle Quickest for Flight." His work has been translated into more than 30 languages. His work has been translated in over 30 languages and his articles have appeared in over 80 publications, including The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Wired, GQ, Outside, Popular Science, Discover and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes "Far Frontiers," a blog about technology and innovation for Forbes.com and is cofounder of the Rancho de Chihuahua dog sanctuary in Northern New Mexico.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This was a tough book to review. One reason is that I have read Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's 1990 perennial bestselling book Flow - The Psychology of Optimal Experience, his 1993 book The Evolving Self: A Psychology for the Third Millennium, and his 1996 book Creativity, Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. Flow, the psychological research behind it, the relevance to sports, business, and life, have been around for decades. Jimmy Johnson, the once coach of the Dallas Cowboys gave some credit for his superbowl wins in the 1990's to reading Csikszentmihalyi's book Flow. With this background, I opened this book on the relevance of flow to action adventure sports with trepidation.

The strengths in this book are also some of the weaknesses. You will gain a new appreciation of action sports heroes that deserve greater recognition. Discover the accomplishments of legendary surfer Laird Hamilton, skateboarding sensation Danny Way (although you will gain more from watching the documentary "waiting for lightning" which is available on Netflix), rock climbing fanatics Alex Honnold and Dean Potter, among others. I knew many of the stories but Steven Kotler is a journalist and knows how to trigger intrigue. The concept, science, and applications of entering into the deep psychological state of flow plays second to Steven's attempts to draw you into the death defying feats in sports. Let me be absolutely clear - if you are uninterested in adventure sports, you will not enjoy this book.

I'll give you a few examples of what I mean.
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If you are interested in flow, as defined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, this book is absolutely worth the five bucks (Kindle edition).

However, Csikszentmihalyi's groundbreaking book, Flow, is a better introduction to this topic, and a better one-stop shop on this topic. Dr. Cs was the scientist behind this concept, while Mr. Kotler is a journalist providing mostly human-interest stories about extreme athletes.

The overall thesis of this book is that flow puts the brain in a state where pattern recognition and learning happen at much faster rate, giving rise to superhuman achievements over relatively short periods of time. So consistent flow is a shortcut to mastery, esp. compared to the popular 10,000 hours of conscious practice.

Unfortunately, the author focuses entirely on extreme sports enthusiasts: big-wall rock climbers (free soloists), white-water kayakers, giant-wave surfers, BASE and bungee jumpers, freedivers, X-games-winning skaters, acrobatic skiers, etc. I say unfortunately because (a) I could not identify with people who dedicate their life to these pursuits and many of whom die as a result and (b) it is fairly obvious that these pursuits produce flow, while trying to achieve flow in a more productive daily-life activity is difficult and not addressed here.

The author mentions a McKinsey study that executives who experienced flow were five times more productive. I would have loved to read more about that, rather than about how a ski bum tore his rectal muscles while trying to stop himself from terminal velocity by grabbing a rope with superhuman strength.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The Rise of Superman is ostensibly Steven Kotler's book about Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, as experienced through extreme athletes. In reality, it seems to be Kotler's attempt to break into the corporate consultancy/sponsorship world, using pseudo-scientific words (such as his organization's name: The Flow Genome Project) to try to get corporations to buy into his brand of "mindfulness extreme" as the next big competitive advantage.

The way you can tell Kotler's a poseur is that he uses terms like "source code" inappropriately through the book, as though trying to show that he has some deep insight that he is uniquely qualified to tell. No engineer or computer scientist worth his salt would use the words "source code" the way he does, and on closer inspection, it appears that Kotler did a "search-and-replace" for "source" with "source code" throughout the text.

I'm not dismissing Flow or Mindfulness in any way. Nearly every unimpoverished human has experienced flow at one point or another in his life. I've threaded harrowing descents down Italian mountains with inches to spare between my handlebars and a pick up truck coming up on a narrow winding road, and piloted boats out of ports with sidewinds where mistakes would mean disaster, but I don't claim to have any deep insight to flow that are inaccessible to others. More prosaically, nearly every video gamer that has played a perfect level of Tetris or say, Naughty Dog's sublime
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6 Comments 131 of 162 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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