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Head Strong: The Bulletproof Plan to Activate Untapped Brain Energy to Work Smarter and Think Faster-in Just Two Weeks Hardcover – April 4, 2017
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From the Publisher
About Dave Asprey
Dave Asprey is founder and CEO of Bulletproof, the world’s first human performance and nutrition company. Dave is a Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur who spent two decades to hack his own biology. Dave is the creator of Bulletproof Coffee, host of the #1 health podcast Bulletproof Radio, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Bulletproof Diet. Dave is also the founder of 40 Years of Zen, a $2.5 million brain training and cognitive performance facility and host of the largest biohacking conference in the world.
What People are Saying?
The small choices we make every day—from the food on our plates to the lightbulbs in our homes—have a major impact on our mental performance. In Head Strong, Dave Asprey offers a program based on cutting-edge brain science. Highly recommended!
Steven Masley -
MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS, best-selling author of The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up and Smart Fat.
Pere H. Diamandis
“A strong, resilient mind is the cornerstone of a healthy and happy life. In Head Strong, Dave Asprey explains how to ditch the ‘brain kryptonite’ that impedes our cognitive health so that we can all perform optimally—now and in the future.” (Michele Promaulayko, Editor-in-Chief, Cosmopolitan, author of 20 Pounds Younger and Look Better Naked)
“Head Strong is a powerfully important book. Dave Asprey knows what it is like to suffer, but also how to take thoughtful action to heal and protect the most important part of humans: our brains. I highly recommend it.” (Daniel Amen, MD Founder, Amen Clinics and author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life and co-author of The Brain Warrior's Way Daniel Amen, MD Founder, Amen Clinics and author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life and co-author of The Brain Warrior')
“Dave Asprey has masterfully utilized leading edge neuroscience as well as his extensive personal experience to create a user-friendly guide that will clearly fulfill its promise to protect, restore, and enhance brain function. Head Strong is a tour de force.” (David Perlmutter, MD, FACN, ABIHM, author of #1 New York Times bestseller, Grain Brain, and The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan)
“The small choices we make every day have a major impact on our mental performance. Head Strong offers a program that shows readers how to enjoy enhanced focus, better moods, and more energy. Highly recommended!” (Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS, best-selling author of The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up and Smart Fat)
“Your brain is the most valuable resource you have. Dave Asprey’s Head Strong program is full of simple tools to help you unlock the mental speed and energy of a modern day superhero. If you want to upgrade your performance, this book is a must read.” (Jim Kwik, Celebrity Memory Coach, CEO of Kwik Learning & SuperheroYou)
“Over the next decade, we will learn to extend the human lifespan 30-plus years. Mitochondrial health is fundamental to that goal. Head Strong is a comprehensive roadmap for maximizing brainpower and maintaining a strong, sharp, and resilient mind.” (Peter H. Diamandis, MD, New York Times Bestselling Author of Abundance and Bold; Co-Founder, Human Longevity, Inc., XPRIZE & Singularity University)
From the Back Cover
Bulletproof Means Smarter, Faster, Happier. . . .
From the bestselling author and creator of BulletproofTM Coffee comes a revolutionary plan to upgrade your brainpower—in two weeks or less.
For the last decade, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dave Asprey has worked with world-renowned doctors and scientists to uncover the latest, most innovative methods for enhancing mental and physical performance by taking control of his own biology—a process known as “biohacking.” In his first book, The Bulletproof Diet, Asprey shared his biohacking tips for creating a better body. Now, in Head Strong, Asprey shows readers how to biohack their way to a smarter, faster, sharper brain—in two weeks or less.
Ask yourself: How would your life and health improve if your mind were working at its full potential? You’d be able—possibly for the first time in your life—to do more in less time. Instead of experiencing fatigue, lack of focus, forgetfulness, and food cravings on a daily
basis, you would enjoy sustained energy, productivity, and mental clarity. You’d be able to accomplish even the most difficult tasks with ease and feel confident about everything you do. And instead of getting older, you’d just get better.
In Head Strong, Asprey shows that all of this—and more—is possible. Following his program, which combines the latest insights from neuroscience with a hacker-inspired focus on fast results, you will learn how to take your mental performance to the next level. The Head Strong program will help you
- Supercharge the cellular powerhouses of your brain, the mitochondria, to enhance energy and enhance mental focus
- Power your brain with the nutrients it needs to perform at its best all day long
- Eliminate toxins and other sources of brain “kryptonite” that slow you down
- Reverse inflammation to perform better right now and stay sharp well into your golden years
- Promote neuron growth to enhance your brain’s processing speed and hot-wire you for success
A better brain—and a happier, more productive life—is within reach. It’s time to get Head Strong.
Top customer reviews
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I follow Dave Asprey pretty regularly on the Internet but there was quite a bit of information in this book that I hadn't read in such detail before.
I'm especially grateful that Dave included a long section on toxic mold issues in the book. It does seem like it is going to be difficult (likely impossible) for people to make much progress toward wellness if they are living in a problematic mold exposure, and so making sure that things are okay with regard to that is a good first step for everyone.
(Dave's movie "Moldy" is a good starting point for those interested in the topic of toxic mold.)
Once people are sure that they are not currently in an exposure (or have gotten out of exposure), this book has some excellent ideas for further healing.
Thanks to Dave for writing it!
Lisa Petrison, Ph.D.
Paradigm Change/Mold Avoiders
Head Strong, has a slew of new ways to alleviate and even solve, some of the age old problems of brain function. From brain fog to Parkinson’s, Memory loss to fatigue, plus all sorts of other poor health problems that effect the rest of the body.
I gave it 5 stars because: 1) I found the information is so fascinating and pertinent to me that I’m now listening to it for the third time and I only bought it 4 days ago! 2) Although I would have liked Asprey to have read the entire book, Rob Shapiro, has a great voice and I love how he wasn't shy to make a gasp, a chuckle or other such sound, which added to the mood and delivery of some of the stories that are sandwiched between the science and research explanations. 3) I appreciate the synopsis at the end of each chapter. Great for a quick review. 4) And, by breaking down into small, sometimes obscure and simple steps on how to hack your brain, it becomes so easy and doable that one can’t help but get excited at the prospect of an improved quality of life.
This book gives great detail and insight into mitochondria; the tiny, bacterial powerhouses that are of vital importance to health, mental acuity and above average wellbeing. Mitochondria fuel our brains and indeed our entire bodies. Learning this in detail has me ridiculously excited for the next 2 weeks and beyond as I organize to implement Asprey’s, Head Strong Plan, to hack my mitochondria to power me back into a healthy state, mentally AND physically. It’s liberating to finally understand the bigger picture. It will take a few days to gather the ‘big guns’, as I’m going full force. But most everything in this book can be achieved without the extra ‘stuff’, (Vibration plates, Far-infrared Saunas, supplements etc) but if you’re chronically sick and are suffering with a messed-up noggin like mine, best to just go for it, guns blazing and enjoy the benefits of the compounding effect of applying as many mitochondria hacks possible.
In a nutshell, if your brain doesn't get its physical needs met via optimized mitochondria to function properly, your WHOLE body is compromised. Asprey doesn’t seem to bat an eyelid at spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, which makes me hate him (not really!) to access the top researchers and doctors, buying state of the art equipment like cryotherapy chambers (3 minutes of -260°F (-160°C) anyone?) Paying for very expensive lab testing and meditation training to name but a few. However, you DON’T have to spend more than the price of this book to massively benefit from his own impressive spending spree.
This book isn’t just for the fatigued, the insomniacs or the chronically brain injured. If it’s only noon and you have a hard time keeping focused. Or you’re at a party and you can't remember the name of the person you just met. Or you keep losing your keys even though you only got out of your car 2 minutes ago. Or you just forget shite all the time; meetings, deadlines, appointments…underwear? You NEED this information.
Don't be put off by the book’s length. You don't have to read it cover to cover. If you trust what Asprey has to say or you're willing to just jump in for the 2 week program to see how his hacks might make you feel, you can skip to the end of the chapters for his 'Head Points’, these are quick summaries of what to do without the explanation. And his ‘Head Starts’, which are quick hacks you can do NOW!
Find below some useful quick references using the Audible chapter numbers. (At this point I don't know if they match the book. I will update once I know.)
Chapter 11 covers the 2 week Head Strong Program, jump in and enjoy the included meal recipes.
Chapter 12 covers supplements.
Chapter 13 covers higher level, bonus hacks to further enhance results.
Chapter 16 covers additional resources
Skip the rest of this review if you don’t want to hear my personal brain injury history or my progress updates. :O)
Nine months ago I got a call from the Colorado Health Department, as I had tested positive for Lyme disease. Then 2 weeks later, I was also diagnosed with severe biotoxin poisoning from toxic mold exposure from living in a water damaged building. (Asprey also suffered both of these, can I say, ‘inconveniences’, so he had instant rapport with me) Add adrenal fatigue, no detectable levels of testosterone among a bunch other things and living my life, SUCKED. Although I had suffered much, (as had my family) I was eternally grateful for all my diagnosis’ in June 2016.
My ND armed me with the know-how to implement a version of an anti-inflammation diet, which had to be tweaked to include a small amount of animal protein 3x a day after comprehensive stool test showed I had a lot of plant protein in my poop. This after nearly a month of being vegan and many more months of barely any animal protein. My body currently doesn’t assimilate plant protein efficiently. (Hoping this will change as my body heals. Who knew this could be a problem?!!!) I was also prescribed the toxin binding drug, Cholestyramine, and a shelf full of supplements to help restore hormonal balance and other imbalances. Apart from the Lyme diagnosis, this all happened a week after Tony Robbins' gift through his UPW event, of helping me to find my own fire-walking, ass-kicking, healing attitude, of which I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be here today without.
I was grateful to learn how I could start to turn my health and consequently, my life, around. However, it wasn't long before I fell off the bandwagon as life got in the way and I didn’t really understand the why and what of being so ill. I was a single mum with major mold remediation going on in my home and I just didn't feel like I could do both, my brain and my body were so physically taxed and I was uninspired. I felt like I was dying a slow death and I was too overwhelmed to take care of my body and my house at the same time. Roll on the next few months and my health took a dive down a steep decline. The tremors and muscle spasm's began to return. Fatigue, insomnia, mood swings and the overwhelm crept back in. Depressing quite frankly. Then this past Sunday, while at another Robbins UPW event in LA, this time as volunteer crew, I heard first hand, Asprey, speak. I feel like I just got the Move to ‘Go’ and collect $200, card in Monopoly! Follow below for my personal findings. Questions welcome!
MARCH 29th, 2017
I weigh 139lbs and my scales say 33%fat. FYI, a dual energy x-ray I had last March had me at 38% fat. I was morbidly obese at size 8. How so? No testosterone, inability to assimilate protein in my gut and my muscles simply wasted away. I call it skinny/fat person syndrome. Anyhooo, moving along. I ordered from Bulletproof: Original, mold free Bulletproof Coffee, Brain Octane Oil, ghee, glutathione, collagen and a metal coffee filter. (Discounted when purchased in bulk and discounted again another 5% if you subscribe to regular delivery. You choose how often).
Ordered from Amazon: Bluetooth heart rate (HR) monitor to use with the Bulletproof apps to track stress and food intolerances. (Yep, icing covered donuts trip my HR, as does red wine… BIG time. Yeah, Asprey could say I told you so!) Also ordered a cheap vibration plate (Had to draw the line on doling out $1,500 for the Bulletproof ‘Vibe’, but I did do 3 hours of research, the Vibe IS the cheapest of NASA’s researched needs for, strength and HIGH quality vibration plates by about half. If you can afford it, buy it. Add to that an Earthing mat, LED covers (for my Prius car console and other green LED lights around the house.) Still trying to work out phone and computer covers…
Switched night lights from blue to red. Now to deal with all 53 LED lights in my little 900sqft miners cabin. Still coming to grips with that. :(
Binged on milk chocolate, pasta, chocolate milk, German jelly candies and 2 glasses red wine before bed. In that order. Feel like crap. Slept like crap. Blamed it on the 3 year old in the bed. (It wasn’t the 3 year old)
I ate chocolate for breakfast… I am batshit crazy. :/ My excuse was not having all the ‘stuff’ to start the Head Strong Protocol. Watched 10 minutes of Tony Robbins on You Tube, and threw the rest of the milk chocolate out along with all the other crap food and beverages in my house. Started taking (again) all the supplements prescribed by my ND, except Cholestyramine, even though I started tracking facial tics today (Stopped after 32 in the first 4 hours because it was so depressing to realize how bad they had gotten) and muscle cramps (5 in 4 hours) :/ I’m LOADED with biotoxins, but know it’s better to wait a week+ after starting a clean diet. I want to review further, Asprey’s hacks to support detox. I ended up in hospital within 12 hours of starting Cholestyramine last time with a severe herx reaction.
Last day eating junk, and no food after 6pm. Intermittent fast is on!
APRIL 1st (No joke!)
Broke my intermittent fast at 10am. First whole day NO candy, milk chocolate, milk, cheese, legumes, grains or nightshades (Tomatoes, peppers, potatoes) Past blood work told me to not eat legumes or nightshades. Holy shite, I can type faster with less mistakes. Very noticeable! Pretty tired toward end of the day, but caring for a woman with Alzheimer’s today kept me on the straight and narrow. No food, only water after 6pm.
Woke up with water retention in my face and extremities and crazy thirsty… didn’t drink half enough water yesterday. Will improve on that today. Again, continued intermittent fasting until 10am. Surprised how good I feel. Wild salmon baked at 325° F (To not damage to fat/oil) with mixed greens, cucumbers, celery, small beet, & half an avocado. SO yummy mixed together, pouring in all the salmon oil from the baking dish with salt and pepper. Yummo! water retention gone by noon. At 3pm, bacon baked again at 325°F and added to 2 soft boiled eggs with runny yolks (cant remember what gets destroyed in the yolks when you overcook them. But don’t overcook them!) poured the liquid bacon fat over my salad (same a this mornings)when it had cooled enough… can’t believe I did that!!! My Papa would turn in his grave knowing I was eating fat dart after fat dart. Holy Hannah, though, tastes freakin’ AWESOME! Didn’t feel hungry at all at 6pm. Forced myself to eat half and avocado. Slept good, no problems going back to sleep after rolling over or listening to a damn annoying mouse chewing on something at my Alzheimer’s patients house. Oh, and only 3 muscle cramps all day today, less facial tics, but didn’t count. Still a lot of those.
Same food as yesterday. Appetite is average, sugar cravings waaay down, energy is increasing. (Yesterday I wanted to nap all afternoon. None of that crap today.) It’s after midnight and just starting to get tired…and I clearly failed at getting off my ‘junk light’ addiction that is married to my internet addiction. It’s after midnight. Winner today: Facial tics: only 4 ALL DAY! From about every 10 minutes to every 4 hours. Asprey’s onto something and I like it! Earthing mat arriving tomorrow…
The book covers many 'hacks' to ensure mitochondria are performing to their peak levels. Like many, I do experience brain fog quite a bit, and do feel tired longer than I used to. My hopes for the book was to change either my lifestyle or eating habits enough to get this energy back.
Many of the hacks in the book have proven merits. Avoid blue light when going to sleep, ensure you're eating enough good fats. Use MCT oil instead of regular coconut oil. Eat grass-fed beef, instead of grain-fed or hormones. Somewhat common knowledge, but still good info.
The near excessive push of 'upgraded' products. While the author clearly admits this book promotes his own ingredients, it is nearly impossible to follow the prescribed plan without at least purchasing some of these rather expensive products.
Is there any evidence that any of these 'upgraded' products, sold at a premium, are that much better than anything else? Let's look at Bulletproof Coffee, a key topic of the book, and one that is mentioned 29 different times in various areas of the book. Bulletproof Coffee claims to absent of certain mold, which creates mycotoxins. This mold is apparently responsible for not just the bitter properties of coffee, but seriously damaging your mitochondria causing significant depletion of energy levels.
The coffee industry has solved the mold problem decades ago through the process of wet processing coffee. Throughout the book, the author attempts to discredit the process, indicating it's not enough and still leaves traces of mould. However, studies comparing BulletProof coffee to a random selection of 3 other bags indicated no significant toxic mold amount was present. Digging a bit further, I ran into Joe Rogan's follow up questions after his original interview with the author, which still remain unanswered:
- Why is Bulletproof Coffee's process a secret, when the coffee industry publishes a well known technique to prevent mold?
- Why is there no 'packaged on date' on the coffee? This is a big red flag when it comes to food, especially coffee
- Since coffee is given an industry rating out of 100 for quality that factors in mytotoxin levels, why does up to 70% of coffee claimed to be full of mytotoxins, end up get a high grade?
Don't take my word for it, I'm not a toxicologist and I don't even drink coffee every day. I'd encourage you to look up pubmed and published articles by researchers with doctorates who do this daily for a living and have debunked this myth of mould levels in coffee causing a drop in energy levels. There is quite a good thorough debunking of the concepts in Gizmodo (yes, the tech magazine), that does a good job of summarizing the studies in one location. These far outweigh the claims of one entrepreneur of ideas who have no medical or scientific background to validate this significant claim.
Since the questions were unanswered, I took the liberty to research the author a bit more to find out if he had any response, and found some interesting facts. What is not revealed in this particular book (but in his blog) is Asprey's secret source for the amazing energy he gets - Adrafinil and/or Modafinil (wakefulness drug and schedule IV controlled substance), and Testosterone injections (essentially a beginner dose of steroids). I'd guess these two methods could temporarily override anything draining you of energy, possibly even drinking coffee with beans with visible mold growing on them. While Asprey may indeed have superhuman energy levels, this should be disclosed in this book as well. The author claims that the diet claimed in the book is so effective that it replaced the need for a Modafinil, a drug I can tell you from experience is quite potent, and certainly cannot be replicated by diet alone.
In summary, this particular book boils down to selling products at a very high markup, sprinkled with established truths to make the entire regime more believable. Despite several valid ideas, the proposed lifestyle is not only extremely hard to follow and expensive, but can be outright detrimental. Bulletproof coffee itself has 460 calories. That's not bad for breakfast, but if you're hungry at lunch, you're meant to eat as much healthy fats as you need to feel full. This is a fasttrack route to obesity, as your body cannot possibly expend all of that energy at that rate, and will store it as fat. Other ideas such as ensuring you carry a bottle of activated charcoal tablets handy any time you think you're eating mitochondria-toxic food is not only unpractical, it leaves the question if this is yet another common product to be sold at a premium price with the Bulletproof label.