Written by Steven Kotler & Jamie Wheal
The more you know who you are, the more you know what you want, and care less what other people think. A good friend once told me that when I was younger and it really stuck with me. Everyone at some point in their life has an existential quandary or dilemma. “What does it mean to be me?” I’m sure exact experiences may vary but I have always found that statement to hold true. The more I knew about myself, the more clear it became what I wanted in life and consequently I cared less what people thought. What I found and I think what a lot of people realize is that what we want out of life is “more”. Stealing Fire written by Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal is just that. It’s a formula or at least an enlightening step in the right direction to achieving our maximum potential.
I initially was drawn to this book because it had an enticing cover and promised to help unlock our ability to accomplish seemingly superhuman abilities, utilizing cutting edge techniques that have been proven successful by performers at the highest levels like Silicon Valley magnates or the fabled “Seal Team Six”. So I guess I imagined this book would be full of clandestine government funded labs hooking super soldiers (or sailors rather) to mysterious and complicated machines. What I discovered instead wasn’t a revolution spitting the face of every paradigm known to man, but what I think to be the culmination of thousands of years of research. We already know that techniques like meditation, adrenaline inducing action sports, or massive music festival worship can unlock things within us that feels supernatural. The question I’ve always had is “Why? What is it about these activities that produce these experiences?” Stealing Fire brought to my attention the “neuro-biology” that fuels these experiences, in hope of creating a formula to recreate them more efficiently and how to harness it for our benefit. It outlines how our brains are flooded with a massive cocktail of natural feel good chemicals and “alpha” brain waves when we enter a “flow” state. I am neither smart enough or an articulate enough writer to fully describe how and why this works, but if it interests you I highly recommend reading the book or listening to it on audible.
What I found really interesting is that maybe the underlying reason we do many of these crazy activities whether it be Yoga in a sweltering hot room or meditating for forty hours in the Himalayan, is that we are seeking this feeling of “oneness” with our surroundings and universe. Maybe that is a little bit too “woo woo” for you or maybe it takes the magic out of religion or Eastern Mysticism for you but I think it’s good to understand the processes that occur in our brain and possibly what our baser motivations are when we seek these activities. So does this mean that I’m going to try and “hack” my brain into constantly feeding me a cocktail of chemicals. Definitely not, but it gives me a level of self awareness that I’ve never before experienced and maybe that’s one more step to helping get what I want out of this life.
I was immediately hooked on this book. I didn’t exactly get the blueprints to perform at a level of a secret squirrel DEVGRU specialsoc operator but I was entertained and learned enough to causally finish the book over a couple of days. Get it at this link, read it on a kindle, or if reading isn’t your speed get it free on audible with a trial and blaze right through it while you’re driving or something.
I read a physical copy of this book but I read way more books through Audible while I’m at the gym, driving, cooking, or running. You can sign up for a free trial and get two books free. If you don’t like it cancel it. Check it out: Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks