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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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781470856076
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/21/2017
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.50(h) x (d)

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

Jamie Wheal is an expert on peak performance and leadership, specializing in the neuroscience and application of Flow states. He has advised everyone from the US Naval War College and Special Operations Command, the athletes of Red Bull, and the owners of NFL, NBA, MLB, and Premier League teams, to the executives of Google, Deloitte Cisco, and Young Presidents' Organization. He studied historical anthropology under MacArthur Fellow Patricia Nelson Limerick, specializing in utopian social movements and his work has appeared in anthologies and peer-reviewed academic journals.

Fred Sanders, an actor and Earphones Award-winning narrator, has received critics' praise for his audio narrations that range from nonfiction, memoir, and fiction to mystery and suspense. He been seen on Broadway in The Buddy Holly Story, in national tours for Driving Miss Daisy and Big River, and on such television shows as Seinfeld, The West Wing, Will and Grace, Numb3rs,Titus, and Malcolm in the Middle. His films include Sea of Love, The Shadow, and the Oscar-nominated short Culture. He is a native New Yorker and Yale graduate.

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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Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This well researched and beautifully written book makes expanding our minds to help unlock our full potential seem accessable and entirely doable.