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Publisher's Summary

In this groundbreaking audiobook, New York Times best-selling author Steven Kotler decodes the mystery of ultimate human performance. Drawing on over a decade of research and first-hand reporting with dozens of top action and adventure sports athletes like big wave legend Laird Hamilton, big mountain snowboarder Jeremy Jones, and skateboarding pioneer Danny Way, Kotler explores the frontier science of “flow”, an optimal state of consciousness in which we perform and feel our best.

Building a bridge between the extreme and the mainstream, The Rise of Superman explains how these athletes are using flow to do the impossible and how we can use this information to radically accelerate performance in our own lives.

At its core, this is an audiobook about profound possibility; about what is actually possible for our species; about where - if anywhere - our limits lie.

©2014 Steven Kotler (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Still unclear

Still not clear how to get into flow with out being on the edge of death

42 of 45 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

There is no way some of these reviews are real

If there was any sort of narrative whatsoever, or if it wasn't so formulaic.

Extreme sport story > FLOW!!!! > Repeat

Admittedly I couldn't finish it. It was grueling.

50 of 54 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

It's hard to take a book seriously that

Says things such as, "that was like painting the Mona Lisa upside down and blind folded". Actual quote to describe doing a skateboard jump over the Great Wall of china.

35 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Less Hyperbole, Please

I'll admit up front, I didn't finish this book. I had high hopes after hearing an interview with the author, but... well, I can't claim to be the best athlete, but speaking as someone with a footing in the world of art, when somebody makes the claim that a certain move in a given sport is "the equivalent of Leonardo da Vinci painting the Mona Lisa with a steak knife shoved through his eye"... all bets are off. That statement is beyond meaningless, and there are so many more like this that it renders the discussion just as meaningless. I'd put down a fiction book if it were written like that. From nonfiction, there's no excuse. I skipped ahead in the book from there hoping for more meat and potatoes. I didn't find much beyond more anecdotes, hyperbole, and very little practical application. I'll go again at a later date now that I know what to expect, but as of this review, I'm just disappointed. Hyperbole may be the name of the game when dealing with extreme sports, but I was looking for something else.

64 of 72 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not a very good practical guide

This book was an interesting introduction to the idea of flow. But the majority of the book is essentially stories of the multitude of impressive feats accomplished by extreme athletes. It's less so a practical guide (as much as a practical guide to reaching this state might be possible) to achieve flow - which really is more of what I was hoping for.

Nevertheless I will likely go over this book again and listen to select chapters.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Book of Pseudoscience and Cargo Cult Science

ESP, shared consciousness, precognition? This is the biggest book of pseudoscience, cargo cult science I've ever read. A real gallery of new age science illiteracy that I'm afraid the average reader of this book may not be equip to deal with.

Full of tremendous exaggerations and little to no critical thinking. If you are someone like myself you'll be vexed by the fallacious lines of reasoning (look at all of these anecdotes man, this my value research data!) and the, "all these people can't be wrong" mindset of the author. If I knew this was the kind of book I was getting I have never have gotten it.

If you goal is to hear a collection of 'cool' anecdotal stories of a few extreme athletes then be my guest listen away and ignore all the scientific claims he makes just be safe. Otherwise you will not find anything of value there.

PS: The title of this book should be changed.

Please note, I only read 66% of the book so far wishing it would get to talking about the things mentioned in his big think video, but it did not.

54 of 64 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

GREAT title, mediocre execution.

Kotler cites the work of better scientists and better writers. If you're interested in FLOW, read Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. If you're interested in Flourishing, read the book by Martin Seligman. There are better places to get better info from the people who did the work, not just compiled stories.

Come on Kotler, you're a superstar, don't give us the cliff notes from the other guys!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Rise of the super car salesman

I made it exactly 5 minutes into this book before Jeff Cummings, infomercial-used car salesman delivery, had me thinking it might be better to dive head first off my balcony, than continue to listen.

20 of 26 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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Should have a different title

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Listening was fine I had no problems with the narration of the title book.

Would you ever listen to anything by Steven Kotler again?

Not if the book is anything like this one.

Would you be willing to try another one of Jeff Cummings’s performances?

Yeah he's awesome.

What character would you cut from The Rise of Superman?

The book is mainly a bunch of stories compiled by surfers, skateboarders and mountain climbers. No real "science" at all. Just a bunch of pseudo science nonsense about these people who have entered the flow state. So I would cut out the nonsense and put more actual research into the book.

Any additional comments?

Extremely disappointed in this "book." I had the hopes after the first hour they would stop talking about the "extreme athletes" that have reached the flow state but it ended up just being story after story of the same thing. This was my first attempt at an audiobook and I have been let down. I listened to only about half of it. Terrible experience.

43 of 57 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Trying to swallow the empirical

I think this idea needs more work and the conclusions are 'half baked'. I am not convinced that this 'flow' state is anything more than body hormones, or mild case of temporary brain malfunction or possibly temporary brain enhancement. I had trouble getting through this book as the descriptions of the 'extreme sports' was a little too 'California' for my liking and the science seemed a little light on. I am not convinced that anyone can experience these mind altering episodes and not sure if it is a good idea that anybody should. I did not enjoy this book and am sorry I devoted the hours I listen to it. Glad I didn't buy a hard copy as I would have never finished it and I would have a reminder of the waste of money. Sorry Mr Kotler, your book isn't quite that good. Keep at it and I am sure you'll strike the right note.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Unclepigg
  • Unclepigg
  • 04-11-16

90% boring drivel

I found the title misleading- there is very little to here to learn about achieving flow in your own life. What useful knowledge there is could have been summarised in 20 minutes of audio. Seriously, I counted 5 1/2 hours into the book and there was absolutely nothing of interest, other than repetitive, over elaborate stories of skateboarders, skiers snd skydivers performing crazy stunts. The chapters seem pointless as every chapter sounds the same. I kept listening and had my hopes lifted I the chapter that promised to show you how to achieve flow. Yet again it revealed nothing but more repetitive stunt stories. A few helpful hints, but these are merely bullet point summaries of revelations in the much more useful book "Flow".
Overall, a complete waste of time. If not for Jeff Cummings captivating voice, I'd have turned off in the first hour.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • ACB
  • 02-05-16

Average pop Psychology

Annoyingly 'over-narrated'. The author leaps to some pretty questionable implications based on a lot of the time what seems to be purely subjective opinion while referencing peer reviewed studies.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Y. Syed
  • Y. Syed
  • 08-07-14

Excellent: Motivation and Education

I've now listened to this multiple times and feel I learn something new with each listening!
The best and easiest way to a natural high and accelerated learning!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mahsa
  • Mahsa
  • 05-25-16

Awesomely done!

The work inspires you to wake up every day and embody your full human potential; literally! A toolbox created by all sorts of scientific and technological breakthroughs for the "Insatiables"!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Van Dieu
  • Van Dieu
  • 04-01-15

Rubbish, nothing practical or actionable

What would have made The Rise of Superman better?

This was just a long rambling geared towards "dudes" who do snowboarding, BMXing, Extreme Skiing, or anything else that classifies as an adrenalin shot. There is nothing practical in it for regular sportsmen who run, bike, or do anything more mainstream.

Would you ever listen to anything by Steven Kotler again?

No. This book is pretty much a complete waste of 8-9hrs for most people.

What aspect of Jeff Cummings’s performance might you have changed?

He did a decent job, but you can't polish a turd.

What character would you cut from The Rise of Superman?

All of them. Seriously.

Any additional comments?

Get Lore Of Running instead.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for MR
  • MR
  • 03-22-18

Interesting, even if flawed

A very interesting book, but more from the point of view of a history of extreme sports performance than a proof that 'flow' is the key to that performance

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Peter Lawless
  • Peter Lawless
  • 11-02-17

Beyond what we might have believed possible

Rare, insightful and a deep guide to what is humanly possible and helping us stretch our imagination to abilities that lie beneath our consciousness.

I truly envy you your first encounter with this amazing tale.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brian D
  • 01-26-16

Superb insight

Superb insight into what the human body is capable of. Time to start experimenting. This gives a very revealing Insider view of some of the world's most outstanding physical and mental performers.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • u:p
  • 09-22-15

An important move forward for human potential

Loved the message and the science behind flow. The explanation of action and adventure scenarios can get a bit long winded. I found myself often skipping 30 seconds to bypass long explanations of different twists and turns of a skateboard/bungee/ski jumps etc. However ultimately the science of flow is an important move forward in the understanding human potential, so definitely worth the listen.

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  • Andrew M
  • 11-03-15

Great for pro extreme sports people

Disappointing. Overemphasis on extreme sports. A great topic, but with an almost exclusive emphasis on extreme sports it just isn't practical.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joshua
  • 02-03-16

Rise of superman

This was really interesting and insightful, definitely worth the time to listen, I recommend not multitasking though as some parts are fairly complex

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • brendan
  • 01-31-18

Mind Blowing!

An amazing listen. Truly interesting and informative. It made me recall once or twice I'd experienced flow myself. Now to get back there again!

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Reingoat
  • Reingoat
  • 12-20-17

Very disappointed

A really disappointing book. I think this book has a very tenuous link to the topic of flow and I would go so far as to say that the title is misleading. It is more a biopic of extreme athletes with cursory references to flow. Profoundly unimpressed.