THE RISE OF SUPERMAN unlocks the code of ultimate human performance—bridging the gap between the extreme and the mainstream.
Drawing on over 15 years of research, including first-hand reporting with dozens of top action and adventure athletes (Laird Hamilton, Travis Rice, Ian Walsh, Danny Way, Dean Potter, among many others), RISE explores the frontier science of “flow,” an optimal state of consciousness in which we perform and feel our best.
By using “impossible” athletic feats as case studies, RISE deciphers what these athletes are doing to harness flow so successfully and shows us how to apply this knowledge across all domains in society.
In other words, despite the unusual “them” at the center of this book, this story is really about “us.” You and me. Who doesn’t want to know how to be their best when it matters most? To be more creative, more contented, more consumed? To soar and not to sink? As the deeds of these athletes prove, if we can master flow, there are no limits to what we can accomplish.
"Welcome to the future of human potential! THE RISE OF
SUPERMAN is a page-turning, game-changing account of the
secrets of ultimate human performance—a must read for
anyone interested in seriously raising the level of their game."
Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering at Google, author of How to Create a Mind and The Singularity is Near
"An electrifying book about a potent state of mind. If you
aren't inspired to brainhack your way up to the next level,
start again at page one."
David Eagleman, Neuroscientist, New York Times bestselling author of Incognito.
"THE RISE OF SUPERMAN is a tour de force. Rare the
book that is learned, clever, fascinating, and useful. This
book is all four. Inspiring, impeccably researched, and
supremely practical, Kotler's book is a must-read for
everyone who wants in on the secrets on how to surpass
their personal best."
Ned Hallowell, New York Times best-selling author and
Harvard Medical School psychiatrist.
"In THE RISE OF SUPERMAN, Steven Kotler breaks
down the elusive and ecstatic 'flow state' that so many high
performance athletes, musicians, and artists refer to as
indispensable to their creativity and virtuosity – and in doing so,
offers us a map to achieve massive upgrades in our capacities
Jason Silva, futurist, host of National Geographic Brain Games
"In RISE OF SUPERMAN, Steven Kotler takes us on a rocketship ride to the
outer edges of human performance. We learn not just what makes today's
top athletes great, but what can make the rest of us great too. In Kotler’s
riveting and beautifully written book, he explains the neuroscience behind the mystery of the flow state, and provides the key to unlock innovation, creativity and ultimate achievement for leaders, entrepreneurs and
anyone interested in the big and bold."
Peter Diamandis, New York Times bestselling author,
founder of the X Prize, co-founder of Singularity University.
“When I’m really deep in flow, I get to a place where I disappear completely, where time slows down, my senses are unbelievably heightened, and I feel that oneness, that full body psychic connection to the universe. It takes risking my life to get there, but that’s why I climb. I crave these experiences. I certainly don’t climb to get on top of rocks.”
—Dean Potter, climbing legend
“Flow naturally catapults you to a level you’re not naturally in. Flow naturally transforms a weakling into a muscleman, a sketcher into an artist, a dancer into a ballerina, a plodder into a sprinter, an ordinary person into someone extraordinary. Everything you do, you do better in flow. Flow is the doorway to the ‘more’ that most of us seek. Rather than telling ourselves to get used to it, that’s all there is, instead learn how to enter into flow. There you will find, in manageable doses, all the ‘more’ you need.”
—Ned Hallowell, New York Times bestselling author and Harvard Medical School psychiatrist
“Every good athlete can find the flow, but it’s what you do with it that makes you great. If you consistently use that state to do the impossible, you get confident in your ability to do the impossible. You begin to expect it. That’s why we’re seeing so much progression in action sports today. It’s the natural result of a whole lot of people starting to expect the impossible.”
—Travis Pastrana, motocross legend
“When we watch a live concert or a sports event, we’re essentially paying to watch people in a flow state. Whether it’s Kobe Bryant, Roger Federer, Jay Z or a jazz crooner, they’ve all put in endless hours of practice so that when performance time comes, they are fully present and in flow. An actor with ‘screen presence’ is in flow. A great poet can deliver flow to the reader just through the power of words. We pay to watch, read, or be in the presence of a flow experience. If quantified, you’d find it’s a major chunk of GDP.”
—Salim Ismail, Singularity University global ambassador and former head of innovation at Yahoo.
“Everybody who has ever spent any time in flow knows it’s a deeply creative place. You’re just tapped into that creative force on such a larger scale. But there’s a difference between when this happens in an artist’s studio or on the tennis court versus inside the barrel of a fifty-foot wave. When you tap into that much force while pushing the absolute limits of human performance, that’s more than just an imaginative breakthrough—that’s bending reality to your will.”
— Chris Miller, NBC action sports commentator and professional skateboarder
“All of the basic activities that led to today’s high-tech revolution—circuit design, software design, network design—require laser-focused attention and produce flow, and doing any of these tasks well is just not possible without the state. So if you’re looking for a non-athletic example of the kind of revolution that occurs when a group of people begins harnessing flow on a regular basis, Silicon Valley is not a bad place to start.”
—Reese Jones, Venture Capitalist, one of the inventors of the internet
“At the world-class level, we estimate that 90 percent of success for elite performers is mental—yet we still don’t know how to measure thought. What is thought? Where does it begin? Where does it go? Can we track it? Can we track its effects? What’s an accurate picture of its total impact on biology? Until we know these things, psychology remains a fuzzy science. But that’s what’s next. That’s where this revolution is leading. That’s why predicting limits is so difficult—because we’re about to take control of the one aspect of performance that trumps all others.”
—Michael Gervais, high-performance psychologist
“The opportunity cost…is enormous…. Most report that they and their employees are in the zone at work less than 10 percent of the time. [But] if employees…are five times more productive in flow than they are on average, consider what even a relatively modest 20-percentage-point increase in flow time would yield in overall workplace productivity—it would almost double.”
—The McKinsey Quarterly
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Steven Kotler is a bestselling author and award-winning journalist. His last book, Abundance, debuted at #1 on Amazon, and spent 10 weeks on the New York Times bestseller’s list. Steven’s work has been translated into 27 languages and featured in over 60 publications, including The New York Times, Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Wired and Forbes.
He is also the cofounder of the Flow Genome Project, an organization dedicated to decoding ultimate human performance.
*Photo: Steven taking part in Baylor neuroscientist David Eagleman’s attempt to find out if time really does slow down in life threatening experience.