Recommended Reading

Review of the book ‘Stealing Fire’ by Steven Kotler

04 December 2018
Caroline Sumners

I listen to audio books on the drive into work, it’s an excellent way to spend 45 mins learning.

My audible account recommended ‘Stealing Fire’. It’s based on the original story of Prometheus’s stealing fire from the gods and modern cutting-edge experimentation with flow states or being in the ‘zone’.

Steven Kotler is a journalist and writer, he’s the founder of the Flow Genome project and an expert in high performance. In ‘Stealing Fire’ he explores how human beings can achieve ‘Flow states’ which is when your mind gets so absorbed in what it is doing in the present moment that ‘everything else falls away’. Flow states create a fluidity when you are lost in the moment and you reach a higher level of consciousness. It is achieved by athletes, meditators, extreme sports people, navy seals and business leaders.

CEOs of Silicon Valley are experimenting with how to replicate flow states and how to use altered states to solve problems or ‘think big’.

Kotler takes the reader on a journey from how they now use flow states to teach navy seals new languages in six weeks instead of 6 months, the flow states achieved at Burning Man Festival. He takes you through the history of scientists and the military experimenting with hallucinogenics to achieve altered states. He discusses modern treatments for PTSD such as surfing, MDMA and meditation.

The book left me wanting to know more, to visit a Flow Dojo, a wonderful place where you can replicate the experience of extreme sports to achieve flow and free your mind. It also gave me an appetite to visit Burning Man Festival where many of silicon valley’s CEO’s study communitas, an unstructured community where everyone is equal, and the group achieve pleasure but also problem solving through a shared experience.

Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler costs around £10.99 on Amazon.