Stealing Fire: how to harness flow states for performance

June 7, 2022     ·      1 min read     · 

The consensus has been that extreme performance requires the vaunted 10,000 hours of deliberate practice which require tremendous grit and determination. Authors Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal take us on a globe spanning adventure meeting with tech founders, Seal Team Six, Red Bull athletes and many more in search of a short cut for peak performance.

The various groups they speak with use different approaches and techniques, but all come to the realization that such a shortcut exists: altered states of consciousness. These states are within our reach and the book covers many paths for entering them: transcendental meditation, flow dojo, psychedelics, Tantric sex, extreme sports, and others. They are all different modalities for achieving the same state.

This book is a must read for anyone interested in neuroscience, self-improvement, or altered states of consciousness. My one nitpick would be that this book is written from a very masculine perspective in Tantric terms: it’s all about achieving a state of ecstasy for the purpose of performance. As I detail in Why? flow states and altered states of consciousness are worth pursuing for their own sake.