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Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work Hardcover – February 21, 2017
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“A mind-blowing tour along the path from sex and drugs to R&D.” (Financial Times)
“Stealing Fire is a beautifully written, must-read for anyone interested in living up to their full potential. Kotler and Wheal have produced a user-manual for your hacking your brain to drive high performance.” (Peter Diamandis, founder of the X Prize, co-chairman of Singularity University, bestselling author)
“Stealing Fire cracks the secret code of peak performance so that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary results.” (Cdr. Mark Divine (USN Ret.), New York Times best selling author, founder SEALFIT and Unbeatable Mind)
“Meticulously researched and innovatively conceptualized, Stealing Fire is not just a bible for the second psychedelic revolution (drugs not required), but a manual to getting more: out of your body, your mind, and your happiness.” (Neil Strauss, New York Times best-selling author of The Game)
“An electrifying, fast-paced journey into the deep potential of the human brain.” (David Eagleman, Stanford University neuroscientist, bestselling author, presenter of PBS's The Brain)
“Our linear lives and brains need to be thrown a curve on occasion and this is a masterpiece literary curveball.” (Chip Conley, bestselling author of Peak and Emotional Equations and former Head of Strategy for AirBnB)
“Captures the unspoken essence of what men and women on the frontier of human experience, think and do to excel in creativity and performance.” (Michael Gervais, High Performance Psychologist to Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks)
“Stealing Fire lays out exactly how to hack the brain...Kotler and Wheal have taken a major bite out of the unknown. If you’re at all interested in knowing how your mind works, this is imperative reading!” (Salim Ismail, founding executive director of Singularity University and bestselling author of Exponential Organizations)
“Stealing Fire is a fantastic book about the future of humanity and everything that we can become. Based on incredible stories and cutting edge data, it reveals how our brain and body can be optimized to its greatest potential.” (Andrew Newberg, MD., director of research Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine and author of How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain)
“The North Star we’ve been waiting for--finally a distillation of the upper reaches of the human experience unveiled! I am so excited for this book to reach the world!” (Jason Silva, artist, futurist, host of National Geographic's Brain Games)
“[Stealing Fire is] well-written, well-documented, and significant work.” (Library Journal)
From the Back Cover
It’s the biggest revolution you’ve never heard of, and it’s hiding in plain sight. Over the past decade, Silicon Valley executives like Eric Schmidt and Elon Musk, special operators like the Navy SEALs and the Green Berets, and maverick scientists like Sasha Shulgin and Amy Cuddy have turned everything we thought we knew about high performance upside down. Instead of grit, better habits, or 10,000 hours, these trailblazers have found a surprising shortcut. They’re harnessing rare and controversial states of consciousness to solve critical challenges and outperform the competition.
New York Times bestselling author Steven Kotler and high-performance expert Jamie Wheal spent four years investigating the leading edges of this revolution—from the home of SEAL Team Six to the Googleplex, the Burning Man festival, Richard Branson’s Necker Island, Red Bull’s training center, Nike’s innovation team, and the United Nations headquarters. And what they learned was stunning: In their own ways, with differing languages, techniques, and applications, every one of these groups has been quietly seeking the same thing: the boost in information and inspiration that altered states provide.
Today, this revolution is spreading to the mainstream, fueling a trillion-dollar underground economy and forcing us to rethink how we can all lead richer, more productive, more satisfying lives. Driven by four accelerating forces—psychology, neurobiology, technology, and pharmacology—we are gaining access to and insights about some of the most contested and misunderstood terrain in history. Stealing Fire is a provocative examination of what’s actually possible; a guidebook for anyone who wants to radically upgrade their life.
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Top Customer Reviews
Many of the things they talk about are not on the market or not easily accessible to most of us (flow dojo, illicit drugs, TMS, virtual reality). Some of the methods they mention felt commercial, and it’s no coincidence that some names mentioned in the book are involved in the for-profit Flow Genome project the authors have founded. So in some ways, this book is a 300 page commercial for Flow Genome. But it’s a fun commercial so I can forgive. I was concerned about the factual nature of some of their anecdotes and evidence. They included a caveat in the back of the book which most people will not read. But readers should know that many facts in the book are controversial. Not all experts agree. Most notable is the controversy over fMRI which much of the neuroscience in this book is based upon.
I’m having a hard time choosing one snippet from the book because I highlighted hundreds – the book was that interesting. So I’ll include one that attempts to summarize what the book is about.
“…harnessing altered states toward practical ends would have seemed crazy. But we now know they can heal trauma, amplify creativity and accelerate personal development.”
What did I learn? The best part of Stealing Fire was the constant pings of dopamine my brain received every time I learned a new and interesting fact. I can’t pick a favorite chapter because the book was filled with revelations that I found valuable.
Who would like this book? Anybody who is interested in neuroscience, popular culture or altered states of consciousness. Or anybody who wants a fun read through nonfiction because Kotler & Wheal are an enjoyable read
Sadly, it was hard to find this passion in the book itself.
"Stealing Fire" repeats the same ideas that were in "Rise of Superman" but replaces the human element with science that has mostly been around for decades.
This book is still a must read for anyone seriously excited about making flow a central part of their life, along with "Flow" by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi.
But if you're just trying to get a basic understanding of flow, you're much better off reading "The Rise of Superman."
As an indie author, musician, daily meditator, and adventure racer, I have spent much of my life in pursuit of these states, seeking the experiences, performance, and insights detailed in this book -- I have long recognize the value of these states, and this book does a fantastic job of exploring why I have found them so valuable, and why they're worth continuing to pursue.
Stealing Fire is an inspired glimpse into a revolution--one that can not only shape our future and heighten our performance, but improve the quality of our lives in the process.
The pursuit of ecstasis is not without its risks, and the authors present a compelling case for balance and discretion. For those on the quest, the insights provided here can help us make informed decisions as we weigh the risks and rewards involved in the diverse methods of achieving this state.
Stealing Fire is not the first word on the subject, and it won't be the last -- but this well-researched, big picture look at the phenomenon of ecstasis and the cultural and technological forces driving the current revolution is well worth the read. If you're even remotely curious, I highly recommend this book.