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Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work
     

Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work

by Steven Kotler
 

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The author of the bestselling Bold and The Rise of Superman explores altered states of consciousness and how they can ignite passion, fuel creativity, and accelerate problem solving, in this groundbreaking book in the vein of Daniel Pink’s Drive and Charles Duhigg’s Smarter Faster Better.

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Overview

The author of the bestselling Bold and The Rise of Superman explores altered states of consciousness and how they can ignite passion, fuel creativity, and accelerate problem solving, in this groundbreaking book in the vein of Daniel Pink’s Drive and Charles Duhigg’s Smarter Faster Better.

Why has generating "flow" and getting "into the zone" become the goal of the world’s most elite organizations? Why are business moguls attending Burning Man? Why has meditation become a billion-dollar industry? Why are technology gurus turning to psychedelic drugs to unlock creativity?

All of these people are seeking to shift their state of mind as a way of unlocking their true potential. Altered states, the authors reveal, sharpen our decision making capabilities, unleash creativity, fuel cooperation, and let us tap into levels of inspiration and innovation unavailable at all other times. Stealing Fire combines cutting-edge research and first-hand reporting to explore a revolution in human performance — a movement millions of people strong to harness and utilize some of the most misunderstood and controversial experiences in history.

Building a bridge between the extreme and the mainstream, this groundbreaking and provocative book examines how the world’s top performers—the Navy SEALS, Googlers, Fortune 100 CEOs—are using altered states to radically accelerate performance and massively improve their lives, and how we can too.

Ultimately, Stealing Fire is a book about profound possibility—about what is actually possible for ourselves and our species when we unlock the full potential of the human mind.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
02/15/2017
Kotler (cofounder & director of research, Flow Genome Project; The Rise of Superman) and Wheal, an expert on peak performance and leadership, have written a book on altered mental states and the effects thereof. Their introductory premise comes from a party organized by Alcibiades, an ancient Greek general and politician who provided his guests a mind-altering drink that terrified them at first then altered their consciousness. The authors relate to the uses of controlled substances, such as alcohol, marijuana, LSD, and legal practices such as meditation, yoga, or sexual activity to obtain these states of mind. Activities that provide highs, such as mountain climbing, Navy SEAL achievements, and some Silicon Valley practices, are used as examples of behaviors that can substantially add to our lives and productivity. The state of "ecstasis," the abilities of the brain to extend consciousness to new areas, is the goal here, and several methods are explored to achieve or sustain it. The authors provide a great deal of substantive documentation to support their premises. VERDICT This well-written, well-documented, and significant work is also controversial. Yet, all readers can find value in its contents. [See Prepub Alert, 8/26/16.]—Littleton Maxwell, Robins Sch. of Business, Univ. of Richmond
Kirkus Reviews
2017-01-10
Two researchers survey the various ways that human beings alter their consciousness to improve performance.Kotler (The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance, 2014, etc.) and Wheal are co-founders of an organization called the Flow Genome Project, which studies how people get into the peak performance mindset most people know as "the zone." Here, they present case studies from their day jobs, and the patchwork nature of the construction fails to lend it much weight. They also muddy the concept by comparing the attainment of "non-ordinary" states to the Eleusinian Mysteries, a 2,000-year-old ritual that found men communing with gods. The term they use for this mindset is the Greek word ecstasis, defined here as "stepping beyond oneself." After tabulating the $3 trillion to $4 trillion circulating in the "Altered States Economy," they turn to the "communal vocational ecstasy" at Google. In subsequent chapters the authors turn up interesting characters ranging from Navy SEALs to mad scientists like Alexander Shulgin and John Lilly as well as the occasional extreme athlete. Unfortunately, a great deal of the book is couched in Silicon Valley's self-propelling mass delusions. We find the authors encouraging readers to explore "repurposing our egos from our operating system (OS) to a user interface (UI)." Elsewhere, a venture capitalist in the Valley drops wisdom like, "we've noticed that learning to kitesurf has a lot of parallels with the challenges of entrepreneurship," and Elon Musk sings the praises of Burning Man. Unsurprisingly, the book ends with the story of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's America's Cup victory in 2013. Ultimately, the book is fine as a sampler for people interested in tuning up their consciousness, but readers will find a deeper dive into biohacking in Kara Platoni's We Have the Technology (2015) and a more authentic story in Ayelet Waldman's microdosing memoir A Really Good Day (2017). A jargon-heavy, superficial primer on altered states tuned to a specific audience.
Neil Strauss
“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.”
Peter Diamandis
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.”
David Eagleman
“An electrifying, fast-paced journey into the deep potential of the human brain.”
Cdr. Mark Divine (USN Ret.)
Stealing Fire cracks the secret code of peak performance so that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary results.”
Chip Conley
“Our linear lives and brains need to be thrown a curve on occasion and this is a masterpiece literary curveball.”
Michael Gervais
“Captures the unspoken essence of what men and women on the frontier of human experience, think and do to excel in creativity and performance.”
Salim Ismail
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!”
Andrew Newberg
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.”
Jason Silva
“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!”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062429650
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/21/2017
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
504
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

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Meet the Author

Jamie Wheal is a world leading expert on peak performance and leadership, specializing in the neuroscience and application of Flow states.  He has advised everyone from the U.S. Naval War College and Special Operations Command, to the athletes of RedBull, to the executives of Google, Deloitte and Young Presidents' Organization to the owners of the top professional sports teams in the US and Europe.  Jamie is a sought after speaker and adviser to top performers across disciplines, who's work has appeared in anthologies and peer-reviewed academic journals.

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