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Publisher's Summary

The authors of the best-selling Bold and The Rise of Superman explore 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 in to levels of inspiration and innovation unavailable at all other times. Stealing Fire combines cutting-edge research and firsthand 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.

©2017 Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Very disappointing. Not what it promises to be.

Would you try another book from Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal and/or Fred Sanders?

No. After purchasing Stealing Fire, I feel like I got "burned."
The book promises to be, "a guidebook for anyone who wants to radically upgrade their life." Unfortunately, it's just a guidebook to entice you into joining their training which costs $700 annually.

Has Stealing Fire turned you off from other books in this genre?

No. Just the author and his team of people who clearly wrote this book as nothing more than a means to sell their $700 "training."

Have you listened to any of Fred Sanders’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes. It's on par with his other work.

What did you take away from Stealing Fire that you can apply to your work?

I learned that an entire "guidebook" can be written without giving any truly actionable guidance other than, "you should pay me $700 to get the REAL advice you were seeking when you bought my audiobook."
I also learned that an entire audiobook lasting 8 hours, 24 minutes can be nothing more than marketing. If I wanted to be an asshole, maybe I'd apply these lessons to my own endeavors but my ethics won't let me.

Any additional comments?

If you feel a need to satisfy your curiosity about this book, be prepared to take advantage of Audible's generous return policy; I certainly did.

83 of 93 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Authors pester people who buy the book

To review, to buy more copies, so that they can rank higher (expressly said). Getting back to the book, it describes a lot of what, but nothing practical for how -- except, presumably if you join their $497 program.

52 of 64 people found this review helpful

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  • SF Dev
  • San Francisco, California United States
  • 03-29-17

An overview of the stupid hobbies of rich people

This review title should not strike anyone as controversial because in chapter 8 he literally uses the term "trickle down ecstasis" and it is only at this point that he talks about anything that is remotely useful to the average reader. Even at that point, he dwells upon the same boring themes that dominate the rest of his book, most chiefly, designer drug use. I picked up this book under the impression that this would describe the practices that have helped people and organizations innovate and succeed. However the author appears to have gotten the causal relationship reversed and he was too stoned to realize it; all he talks about is the stuff people with a lot of spare time and money end up doing with their excess resources. Perhaps the only exception to this is his description of Seal Team Six, which he puts at the beginning of the book likely because it's the only part of the book with any merit whatsoever. It's all utterly inane pseudo transcendence that I am completely bored of as someone who was raised in California. Nothing new at all. All of the studies are flimsy. This book sounds like a multi-hour long rant of a Burning Man attendee trying to explain why acting like a self-indulgent kiddult in the desert is somehow an admirable experience. It's actually harmful to imply that such "vehicles of ecstasis" can help people succeed to the extent the author does. I met several people who have already been fooled by this argument in the tech industry and I have achieved more promotions and more success than any of them without having to take a single "dab" of any chemical garbage. Dropping acid like Steve Jobs doesn't turn you into Steve Jobs; unfortunately, this book touches upon none of the characteristics that will actually make you a good engineer or business leader and skips straight to the dropping acid part and which is frankly demeaning and stupid. Great book for people who want to pat themselves on the back for their bad habits, not a great book for people who like well researched and balanced arguments that will stand the test of time.

38 of 48 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Compelling, Validating and Enlightening


I liked this book because the topic is something everybody craves on some level or another. Everyone wants to lift their game and up level their happiness feel more flow. Seeking the consistent flow, grow and collaboration for a rich life, rich in essence not necessarily material gain. This book takes you there and connects so many dots, it's brilliant.
There wasn't much I disliked about the story, the way it was written or read. It's all good.
I'd recommend it to anyone open minded, interested in consistent high performance for life and work, creatives and empaths will love it, the same as CEOs and other driven professionals and athletes and adrenaline junkies. If you are really religious it may not be your thing, I still encourage everyone to be open minded to this valid and worthy read.
I rated it high because it brought together so many of my interests in one place. Thanks

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Use the Fire Wisely

What did you love best about Stealing Fire?

I enjoyed the deep research the authors did on this topic. Their scholarship shows.

What other book might you compare Stealing Fire to and why?

I think Stealing Fire begins where Rise of Superman ends.

Which character – as performed by Fred Sanders – was your favorite?

Fred was a brilliant narrator.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It was deep. If you rush it, you'll miss some of the mojo.

Any additional comments?

Loving the audio version. It released this morning and I'm deep into the content. (I caught several of their podcasts on this topic earlier in the month.)

The research is thorough. The implications are provocative. Although I'm not swallowing every expression of altered states—literally or figuratively—I've been a student of Steven's since Rise of Superman. Just like in that book, he masterfully weaves a multi-disciplinary approach to the topic at hand.

I love the fact they chose to co-author this one. Jamie's passion is infectious and he brings a deep wealth of expertise to the conversation.

I believe this book will be a seminal resource toward shifting our understanding of what's possible. My advice? Enter Stealing Fire with an openness to learn and grow. And use discernment when deciding which practices to integrate into your own life. Clearly, there is a buffet of options. Just like with fire, some uses will be beneficial. Others might get you burned. Wisdom knows the difference between the two.

Great job Steven and Jamie.

20 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Shawnee
  • WELLSVILLE, NY, United States
  • 06-23-17

Interesting at times, yet boring and uninspiring.

The stories were too long to make a simple point. Though it was an interesting concept, I felt that the ideas were not as groundbreaking as everyone is told... these concepts have been around a very long time, and because of this, I didn't think it was very inspiring or useful.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Flow is the new enlightenment

A new way of viewing humanities journey to heal and enlighten our consciousness. Amazing book!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wow!

Usually, a very well thought out review with intriguing perspectives is what I provide. But just wow. So deal with that. (Read this book.)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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it's a journey

what a great culmination of research into introspection, finding flow and extasis.

I'll be checking out the courses.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing information

This book talks about everything I'm interested in. Amazing information and written in a way that keeps you on the edge of your seat

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-26-17

Gamechanger....

Ridiculously good and for me it is exactly what I needed... Gamechanger...gratitude...what a gift for humanity!

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Ciprian
  • 03-26-17

The first book that I really reasonate with

This book answered to some of my existential questions. Once you start reading the first chapter you can't stop

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-01-17

Wow!

I've never get the urge to write a review before, but this is one of the best books I've ever read/heard. A very insightful and interesting look into altered states, which it turns out comes from all sorts of activities and is growing. Fast.

If you're interested in learning about the minds potential and ways you can think outside the box, I would highly recommend this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Em
  • 07-23-17

What a treat !! 1st Review ever

Where does Stealing Fire rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best. I loved this book so much I am finally writing a review. Mind bending, I'm heavily in to the Brain, Neuro plasticity, epigenetics, quantum physics mindfulness etc. I usually get a book and its the same old research presented slightly differently. This book was so refreshingly new, I had no idea these things were going on.
I love books that are thought provoking and leave me somewhat confused and wanting to know more. This is one of those books, I'm off to listen to it again with a pen and paper.

Excellent.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • R-the Relentless
  • 02-18-18

A revolution of consciousness

This is an extraordinary book to bring us a revelation to what's possible in us. Looking forward to putting it to practice!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • JohnJenner
  • 04-24-17

thought provoking

definitely a different prospective on performance and flow than I held before.
an interesting weave of history, present and future

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan Griffith-Jones
  • 05-05-18

Brilliant and stimulating

Pure excellence... an interesting interpreatation of what drives the human being to strive for brilliance.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • M. Lee
  • 03-20-18

Starts and ends well

Was captivated in the beginning after the middle lost the flow and couldn’t really get back into it. Last few chapters were good.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • ShopMyStyle
  • 01-09-18

Struggling to understand what is so great here!

What would have made Stealing Fire better?

Poorly researched book. The writer seems to have no depth. It felt like reading a Silicon Valley spin on spiritual practices that have literally been around forever but has suddenly been discovered by this writer when people have been quietly doing these things since the beginning of time.

It also felt like an excuse for people who need permission to dope or take drugs.

The idea that you can skip all the spiritual practices and use technology to hack into consciousness, a.k.a the flow, sends me into a fits of giggle. Its the equivalent of Facebook back in 2007 when all you needed to be popular was to sign up and have thousands of friends. Years later, people realised they were more lonely than they ever were before FB. This book is going to give its followers the same effect later.

What was most disappointing about Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal ’s story?

A clue was in the name - comparing the Navy Seals (who commit murder no matter how we see it) with consciousness shows how non-conscious the writer is deep down. This book was an excuse for the writer(s) to name drop and build their influencer status in Silicon Valley. PS: Elon Musk and all the other rich tech guys mentioned in this book are the worse part; why name drop or at the very worse, make it seem that just because they are doing something it must be the right thing to do? They are not gods or demigods!

Would you listen to another book narrated by Fred Sanders?

Yes

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Stealing Fire?

All of it? Un-listen to the book as it was a waste of my time.

Any additional comments?

The writer should enjoy his influencer status for now and for as long as he can but he should know that his message is very misleading and makes one worry for the future generations of those without their own inner sense of reasoning who will be influenced by this dribble.

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  • Simon Moores
  • 12-26-17

Inspiring & Interesting

Reminiscent of works such as "The Unfettered Mind" by Zen monks Takuan Soho but extremely interesting from the modern context as this in part was exactly what I was trying to stimulate with world class tennis players through hypnosis, once upon a time.

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  • Mr. G. Trabakoulas
  • 10-12-17

The whole book could fit in a chapter

the whole book would fit in the chapter I'm sure the rest was a lot of filler material.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tom
  • 08-05-17

hoping for more

book was insightful but didn't have enough specifics within to action, just retold stories. it was good, though.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Bachir El Khoury
  • 05-23-18

Not my thing

was a bit mislead and downloaded. interesting to know about Burning man and ecstasy pursuits, but not my thing personally And it could be N addictive self destructive behaviour. I had friend lost for this and it's sad to see it being promoted.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew
  • 02-26-18

Absolutely mind blowing (literally).

I've had so many insights into my own 'flow states' during this book. The content is not overly complicated but it needs to be absorbed peace meal to get it all into an Un-altered brain... Well at least in my case! Well done on a great book. Definitely worth reading twice!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-27-18

value

absolutely love this book. not just another self help book. something to truly expanded your mind.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Beau
  • 12-27-17

Absolutely Brilliant. A Must Read

Absolutely Brilliant. A Must Read for any entrepreneur or consciously awake person looking for the next step or quantum leap

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeff Northam
  • 12-14-17

this is a really good book

this is a really good book in articulate and put into words many things that many of us already know in the back of our mind and help to bring that to the front of our mind and inspire

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-12-17

Interesting read

Very interesting read supported by a lot of case studies and science.

Interesting take on the benefits of Positive psychology, flow states and how to perform better and lead a better lifestyle.

There’s a lot of information that’s useful within this book. I almost feel like I need to read it again to fully absorb all the information, or take notes next time.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-24-17

Amazing

Amazing insights into tapping greater potential outside of the norm. Highly recommended for those seeking greater selves.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-01-17

A tonne of interesting facts

Not a step by step guide on how to find flow but a lot of facts on how others have found it.