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, Jamie Wheal

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CNBC and Strategy + Business Best Business Book of 2017

"Steven and Jamie have done a wonderful job of balancing the promises, perils, and how-to prescriptions of engineering peak states such as 'flow.'" Tim Ferriss, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek

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 short cut. 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062429674
Publisher: Dey Street Books
Publication date: 02/21/2017
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 227,688
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

STEVEN KOTLER is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning journalist, and the cofounder and director of research for the Flow Genome Project. His books include Tomorrowland, Bold, The Rise of Superman, Abundance, A Small Furry Prayer, West of Jesus, and The Angle Quickest for Flight. His work has been translated into forty languages and his articles have appeared in more than eighty publications, including the New York Times Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, Wired, Forbes, and Time. Steven is an in-demand speaker and advisor on technology, innovation and peak performance. You can find him online at

Table of Contents


The Never-Ending Story 1

Accidental Prometheans 4

Part 3 The Case for Ecstasis

Chapter 3 What Is This Fire?

The Switch 9

The High Cost of Ninja Assassins 12

Google Goes Fishing 18

Hacking Ecstasis 22

The Mind Gym 25

The Altered States Economy 28

Chapter 2 Why It Matters

The Ambassador of Ecstasis 33

Selflessness 37

Timelessness 39

Effortlessness 41

Richness 44

Wicked Solutions to Wicked Problems 46

Chapter 3 Why We Missed It Beyond the Pale 51

The Pale of the Church 52

The Pale of the Body 56

The Pale of the State 60

Pipers, Cults, and Commies 65

Part 2 The Four Forces of Ecstasis

Chapter 4 Psychology

Translating Transformation 73

The Bell Tolles for Thee 75

Mad Men 77

Taking the Kink Out of Kinky 81

Good for What Ails You 86

Altered States to Altered Traits 90

Chapter 5 Neurobiology

Outside the jar 95

I Can't Feel My Face 96

The Al Shrink 100

Precognition Is Here (But You Knew That Already) 103

The Birth of Neurotheology 106

OS to UI 111

Chapter 6 Pharmacology

Everybody Must Get Stoned 115

The Johnny Appleseed of Psychedelics 119

This Is Your Brain on Drugs 124

The Hyperspace Lexicon 126

The Molecules of Desire 132

Chapter 7 Technology

Dean's Dark Secret 135

Things That Go Boom in the Night 139

The Digital Shaman 142

Enlightenment Engineering 146

The Flow Dojo 148

Part 3 The Road to Eleusis

Chapter 8 Catch a Fire

The Sandbox of the Future 157

When the Levee Breaks 163

Disrupting the Brahmins 168

High Times on Main Street 174

Nothing New Under the Sun 178

Chapter 9 Burning Down the House

The Atomic Donkey 182

He Who Controls the Switch 185

Spooks to Kooks 187

Soma, Delicious Soma! 193

Ecstasy Wants to Be Free 199

Chapter 10 Hedonic Engineering

"Known Issues" of STER 201

Selflessness: It's Not About You 202

Timelessness: It's Not About Now 203

Effortlessness: Don't Be a Bliss Junkie 205

Richness: Don't Dive Too Deep 206

The Ecstasis Equation 209

Hedonic Calendaring 212

There is a Crack in Everything 216


Row Your Boat or Fly Your Boat? 219

An Afterthought 221

Acknowledgments 225

A Quick Note on Inside Baseball 227

Notes 233

Index 277

About the Authors 294

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