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Stealing Fire

How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work
Written by: Steven Kotler, Jamie Wheal
Narrated by: Fred Sanders
Length: 8 hrs and 24 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (99 ratings)
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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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epic

a must read book that will shed light and prospective on what society has always kept as a tabu

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This is by far the best non-fiction book I have read to date

This book is extremely eye-opening and very well rounded. It touched on a lot of subjects I have been curious about lately And explored some taboo topics that should be spread to the masses. All-around amazing book

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Worth it!

The writing is great, the narration is great, and those who are interested in the psychology of optimal, rich experience should thoroughly enjoy this! #Audible1

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Absolutely incredible!

I felt that I could really relate to the desire to access states of flow. This book has changed the way that I think about my meditation practice and other daily activities.

#Audible1

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Enlightening book

Everything is excellent in this book even though I personnally don't admire Navy SEALs, which are well-trained payed criminals.
I wish they took "acid" and realize they are mere expensive pawns.

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Ecstatic technologies for the modern world

A fascinating look at the contemporary world of csratic technologies from art and religion to extreme sports and psychodelics. With advice and cautions.

The most interesting elements are the questions of how to use communitas to tackle the world's most complex problems.

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mind blowing information

the narrator could have brought more life to story. But in the end he was just a means to get this information. we are in for a hell of a ride as the people that master these skills lead us to any where they want.

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mind bloom

let me start by saying this is definitely not the type of book I would normally read on paper, but being able to listen to it kept me engaged.
this book is the history of the eternal struggle to escape ourselves and break mental boundaries in order to push further.
This book is not so much of a how to, but more of a here is what has been done up to now and what people are doing to push it further.

very interesting book. I recommend giving it a shot.

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It’s just a glimpse into the future

The concepts and examples in this book as fascinating. I enjoyed how we are just starting to move into this new area of understanding neuroscience and our experiences that shape our lives. The last chapter on tools and recommendations rounds out the book quite powerfully. I will surely listen to it again.

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Fantastical

Outstanding tips to opening up your true potential. Listen to this, please. You won't regret this purchase.

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  • R8r
  • 2017-03-18

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.

107 of 117 people found this review helpful

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  • alaskacie
  • 2017-02-25

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.

67 of 79 people found this review helpful

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  • SF Dev
  • San Francisco, California United States
  • 2017-03-29

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.

48 of 59 people found this review helpful

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  • Shawnee
  • WELLSVILLE, NY, United States
  • 2017-06-23

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Manish Bhatt
  • 2017-03-13

Amazing narrative about the "other" world.

I loved this book. Gives very clean perspective on many things that I always thought were socially irresponsible and awful. I didn't know that there's so much research happening in this area of altered states. A must read if you ever wandered about the limitlessness of human consciousness. I wish there was little more content about flow and ways to achieve flow states in daily activities.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • @K_Speckmann
  • 2017-03-11

One Needs an Open Mind for Inspiration and Flow...

A fascinating, yet controversial read.
This book may inspire or offend you. If you are more on the conservative or deeply spiritual side, parts of this most interesting book you might not like. I personally also wouldn't opt for doing the riskier things.
However, the collection of studies around "flow" or heightened mental states is fascinating. Group flow and meditation practice has been done for millennia, so there most probably is something to it. I will look further into these for myself and at work. Towards further success :-)

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • HippieFairie
  • 2017-02-26

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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  • Kary Oberbrunner
  • Columbus, OH
  • 2017-02-21

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.

21 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • Expedition Outreach
  • 2017-04-27

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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  • Nomad-Dave
  • 2017-04-05

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