The Rise of Superman

Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance
Narrated by: Jeff Cummings
Length: 9 hrs and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,418 ratings)

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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.

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Average Customer Ratings

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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

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.

18 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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!

14 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Still unclear

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

66 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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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.

72 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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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.

44 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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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.

74 people found this helpful

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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.

60 people found this helpful

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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.

26 people found this helpful

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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.

50 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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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.

15 people found this helpful

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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.

8 people found this helpful

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  • 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.

11 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Phillip
  • 04-29-19

Very repetitive!!!

The author talks about flow but does not really tell you how to get into the flow, other than jumping off a bridge and being scared to death and that gets you in the flow, I was expecting so much more:( I got a refund with 2 hours to go :(

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • 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.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • 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 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-15-18

very interesting

like the topic - liked the book .... bit of thinking outside the box and you can bring this into your day to day

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Hayley
  • 03-08-20

Moving Beyond Stress Into Flow

Society today is fixated on stress, mental health and how to manage our nervous systems for peak performance. This book takes a look at what it means to move beyond the stress state, into the realm of flow and how that ultimately impacts resilience and performance. A must read for seekers wanting to shift their focus into the role of stress as a gateway into flow states.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • G-Man
  • 02-13-20

Repeat, repeat, repeat

Some great stuff I’m in here but the stories just go on and on and on and on...... I love extreme sports but it gets tiring after about the first 6 hours ;)

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel Murray
  • 01-25-20

heavy on anecdotes

If you are looking for lots of detailed anecdotes about surfing, rock climbing and scate boarding, this is for you. There is little else in it and I was looking for something that explores flow states in a bit of depth, illustrated with some anecdotes , so this was quite tedious for me.

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  • Vladimir M.
  • 01-13-20

Incredible!

A phenomenal book that is useful for anyone! Really passionately written, a pleasure to listen to. The narrator is the best one I heard! 10/5 stars for me!

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  • Kirsten Hatch
  • 06-03-19

All About Extreme Sports

A collection of stories about extreme sports but not much helpful information on flow. I couldn't finish it, I couldn't stand one more story!

2 people found this helpful

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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

2 people found this helpful

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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.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-19-20

not much on how to actually get into flow

wanted a book about how to actually consistently get into a state of flow, the book didn't have as much as I expected

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-24-19

Great flow introduction and a sales pitch

Overall a great read into flow and it’s application in extreme sports. After a while it began to feel like it was going to try and sell you the “how” of flow in other programs etc, which not surprisingly it did at the end.

1 person found this helpful

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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!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-27-19

Fantastic

I loved this book. To understand flow and the lives of extreme sports was something I have not gotten from any other book. I can see why this was a New York best seller and I would recommend it to any sports minded person.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-25-19

Great book

Great book, story was gripping and informative and narrator sounded like the author was reading

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  • Ant
  • 07-30-18

A fantastic read

An unexpectedly great and easy read covering some pretty unique and special human performances and experiences. The story telling is simple to understand cutting through a lot of the jargon specific to the various action sport disciplines.

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  • Alina
  • 05-25-18

Up, up and away

Loved the totally easy to understand elements of how peak performance is and, can be achieved. I get it!