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The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance [Format Kindle]

Steven Kotler

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

Praise for ABUNDANCE:

"At a moment when our world faces multiple crises and is awash in pessimism, Abundance redirects the conversation, spotlighting scientific innovators working to improve people's lives around the world. The result is more than a portrait of brilliant minds - it's a reminder of the infinite possibilities for doing good when we tap into our own empathy and wisdom."—Arianna Huffington, CEO, Huffington Post


"This brilliant must-read book provides the key to the coming era of abundance replacing eons of scarcity, a powerful antidote to today’s malaise and pessimism."—Ray Kurzweil, inventor, author and futurist, author of The Singularity is Near


"Abundance provides proof that the proper combination of technology, people and capital can meet any grand challenge."—Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of the Virgin Group





"This gritty journey into ‘a world made of dog’ is unlike any dog story you’ve ever read."—Christian Science Monitor


"Kotler’s tale—part obsession, part inquiry, part adventure—serves up a well-rounded meal of soul-searching and psychology."—Psychology Today


Présentation de l'éditeur

Right now, more people are risking their lives for their sports then ever before in history. As Thomas Pynchon once put it in Gravity's Rainbow, 'it is not often that Death is told so clearly to f@%* off'.

Over the past three decades, the bounds of the possible in action and adventure sports - from sky-diving to motocross to surfing and beyond - have been pushed farther and faster. A generation's worth of iconoclastic misfits have rewritten the rules of the feasible; not just raising the bar, but obliterating it altogether. Along the way, they have become a force pushing evolution relentlessly onward. 

In a thrilling narrative that draws on biology, psychology, and philosophy, Steven Kotler asks why, at the tail end of the 20th century and the early portion of the 21st, are we seeing such a multi-sport assault on reality? Did we somehow slip through a wormhole to another universe where gravity is optional and common sense obsolete? And where - if anywhere - do our actual limits lie?

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1133 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 256 pages
  • Editeur : Quercus (4 mars 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00ELIF0W0
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°80.018 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.2 étoiles sur 5  219 commentaires
158 internautes sur 170 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 rethinking the cause of innovation 16 février 2014
Par Todd B. Kashdan - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
This was a tough book to review. One reason is that I have read Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's 1990 perennial bestselling book Flow - The Psychology of Optimal Experience, his 1993 book The Evolving Self: A Psychology for the Third Millennium, and his 1996 book Creativity, Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. Flow, the psychological research behind it, the relevance to sports, business, and life, have been around for decades. Jimmy Johnson, the once coach of the Dallas Cowboys gave some credit for his superbowl wins in the 1990's to reading Csikszentmihalyi's book Flow. With this background, I opened this book on the relevance of flow to action adventure sports with trepidation.

The strengths in this book are also some of the weaknesses. You will gain a new appreciation of action sports heroes that deserve greater recognition. Discover the accomplishments of legendary surfer Laird Hamilton, skateboarding sensation Danny Way (although you will gain more from watching the documentary "waiting for lightning" which is available on Netflix), rock climbing fanatics Alex Honnold and Dean Potter, among others. I knew many of the stories but Steven Kotler is a journalist and knows how to trigger intrigue. The concept, science, and applications of entering into the deep psychological state of flow plays second to Steven's attempts to draw you into the death defying feats in sports. Let me be absolutely clear - if you are uninterested in adventure sports, you will not enjoy this book.

I'll give you a few examples of what I mean. Kotler describes amazing physical feats that only someone familiar with the sport can visualize:

In describing a skateboarding move by Danny Way, he writes, "Moments later, he kicks off the contest with a seventy-foot, 360 mute grab over the gap and a McTwist - an inverted backside 540 with another mute grab - out of the quarterpipe."

In describing another skateboarding move, he writes., "In 2011, Bobby Brown threw the world's first Triple Cork 1440 - which is four spins and three flips, and all off-axis."

Or there is Alex Honnold's climb up Half Dome where he writes, "Up a zesty finger crack, then a few easier pitches, then one of the route's trickier sections - a nasty boulder problem above a small ledge."

It is tough to describe a kayaking, surfing, skateboarding, mountaineering, or skydiving journey and many times, I had to re-read sections over and over to get a visual image. It was because of this that I ended up putting this book down several times. And when I returned to reading, I usually received ample reward. Perhaps the best chapter in the book is Chapter 2 with the focus on revolutionary accomplishments on two separate occasions by Laird Hamilton on a surfboard. Completely immersed in huge waves, Laird instinctively attempted moves that no surfer had ever talked about or seen before. These moves changed the landscape of surfing and you can envision every detail. In this particular chapter, you could understand how Laird in the state of flow transformed his skill set, himself, and then everyone who heard about the events. (years of training leading to moments of deep concentration, a loss of self-consciousness, a sense of control in a task that slightly exceeded his skills)

In other sections of the book, I wasn't fully convinced that flow could be given credit for innovation. More accurately, I felt as if flow was being oversold as the panacea for reaching our potential.

So why did I give the book four stars? Because this book is one of the best on the topic of flow. The description of the conditions that increase the likelihood of flow states ("flow triggers") are clear and distinguished from the actual experience itself. The neuroscience research and discussions of the quantified self offer a new window into what it feels like to be in flow. You won't learn much about how to apply the knowledge about brave action sport characters to your own life, but then again Steven Kotler doesn't make this promise. This is an interesting read, the author is an excellent writer (despite the caveats listed above), and I walked away thinking more deeply about the importance of entering into this state of flow when I write, work out, and spend time with other people. For this, I am grateful for the time spent.
78 internautes sur 90 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Extreme sports = flow. What else is new? 16 mars 2014
Par Alberto Vargas - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
If you are interested in flow, as defined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, this book is absolutely worth the five bucks (Kindle edition).

However, Csikszentmihalyi's groundbreaking book, Flow, is a better introduction to this topic, and a better one-stop shop on this topic. Dr. Cs was the scientist behind this concept, while Mr. Kotler is a journalist providing mostly human-interest stories about extreme athletes.

The overall thesis of this book is that flow puts the brain in a state where pattern recognition and learning happen at much faster rate, giving rise to superhuman achievements over relatively short periods of time. So consistent flow is a shortcut to mastery, esp. compared to the popular 10,000 hours of conscious practice.

Unfortunately, the author focuses entirely on extreme sports enthusiasts: big-wall rock climbers (free soloists), white-water kayakers, giant-wave surfers, BASE and bungee jumpers, freedivers, X-games-winning skaters, acrobatic skiers, etc. I say unfortunately because (a) I could not identify with people who dedicate their life to these pursuits and many of whom die as a result and (b) it is fairly obvious that these pursuits produce flow, while trying to achieve flow in a more productive daily-life activity is difficult and not addressed here.

The author mentions a McKinsey study that executives who experienced flow were five times more productive. I would have loved to read more about that, rather than about how a ski bum tore his rectal muscles while trying to stop himself from terminal velocity by grabbing a rope with superhuman strength.

Things I learned:
- Montessori schools tend to engender flow in students, more so than other educational methods
- Skill to difficulty ratio should be 96% to 104% for flow (assuming you can actually measure this)
- Group flow, like in a jazz band, group of rock climbers, engrossing conversation, is a phenomenon separate from but similar to individual flow

Overall: Recommended, only as a sequel to Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
109 internautes sur 134 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 A marketing tract clearly aimed at flattering corporate head-honchos 16 mars 2014
Par Piaw Na - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
The Rise of Superman is ostensibly Steven Kotler's book about Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, as experienced through extreme athletes. In reality, it seems to be Kotler's attempt to break into the corporate consultancy/sponsorship world, using pseudo-scientific words (such as his organization's name: The Flow Genome Project) to try to get corporations to buy into his brand of "mindfulness extreme" as the next big competitive advantage.

The way you can tell Kotler's a poseur is that he uses terms like "source code" inappropriately through the book, as though trying to show that he has some deep insight that he is uniquely qualified to tell. No engineer or computer scientist worth his salt would use the words "source code" the way he does, and on closer inspection, it appears that Kotler did a "search-and-replace" for "source" with "source code" throughout the text.

I'm not dismissing Flow or Mindfulness in any way. Nearly every unimpoverished human has experienced flow at one point or another in his life. I've threaded harrowing descents down Italian mountains with inches to spare between my handlebars and a pick up truck coming up on a narrow winding road, and piloted boats out of ports with sidewinds where mistakes would mean disaster, but I don't claim to have any deep insight to flow that are inaccessible to others. More prosaically, nearly every video gamer that has played a perfect level of Tetris or say, Naughty Dog's sublime UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves - Game of The Year Edition - Playstation 3 has experienced flow, since of all the genres of media, video games are the best at eliciting and enabling flow.

Kotler, however, is after the multi-billion dollar corporate contract, so writing about how video game companies engineer flow into their games wouldn't be interesting. Instead, what he has to do is to flatter corporate head-honchos into thinking that they can be compared with such luminaries as Shane McConkey, who pioneered extreme skiing. The reality is, most corporate VPs or CEOs (Richard Branson and Gary EricksonRaising the Bar: Integrity and Passion in Life and Business: The Story of Clif Bar Inc. excepted) couldn't do an independent cycle tour in the alps without a supporting entourage, let alone do any of the death defying stunts described in this book. Even the late Galen Rowell would have been happy to tell you that a National Geographic expedition is anything but flow-inducing, with 300 porters toting huge amounts of camera equipment and film.

Now the stories in this book are interesting, and are the saving grace of the book. Since I'm not a big fan of Surfing, snow sports, or BASE jumping, this was my introduction to athletes such as Laird Hamilton, Shane McConkey or J. T. Holmes. Of course, note that McConkey died trying to do one of those death-defying stunts, as did several of the athletes described in this book. Any sane person would say, "Yeah, this shows that no amount of flow-hacking can eliminate the laws of physics and probablity", but of course, Kostler merely claims that McConkey's survival for so long doing so many insane stunts shows that Flow enables you to be a superman.

Kotler's attempts, then, to link the extreme athlete's in-the-moment flow to the businessman's startup, or investment, or management of a meeting, is laughable in the face of all this. Certainly, nobody's life is at risk when attempting a corporate takeover (though several livelihoods are, the members of the 1% who do this aren't risking anything except next year's bonus, if that), or investing in a startup, or doing the next performance review.

All in all, the book is worth reading for the stories of the extreme athletes in it. That's the only reason to read it. All the other business mumbo jumbo needs to be ignored. And for heavens sake don't give Kotler any business if you can help it. Check the book out from the library or borrow it if you're an Amazon prime member. Do not buy!
15 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Disappointing 1 avril 2014
Par Todd - Publié sur
The author attempts to paste together a bunch of individual stories about sky divers, skate boarders, surfers, and other extreme sports athletes and then implies that we are all capable of achieving the high states of performance he calls "flow". Human beings have always been capable of amazing feats...the only difference is that today we have technology that enables different ways of expressing extremes. The book was disappointing and I frequently found myself skipping ahead in hopes of finding something to hold on to.
18 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Your huckster detector should be ringing loudly 25 mars 2014
Par russ - Publié sur
The Superman idea does not apply to some of the most popular and frequently performed and measured athletic endeavors in the world: running. Over the past 49 years (marathon), 45 years (one mile), and 73 years (100 meters) world record times for these events have been lowered by 6.8%, 6.6% and 5.8%, respectively, to the times presently recognized as world record performances.
This is about what you would expect from improvements in health, nutrition and training techniques. What is remarkable is how similar the improvements are and the rate of improvement. It takes decades to lower a record by only one or two percent.
Looking at running is useful since it is a simple sport - train, then put on your shoes and run. Equipment modifications are relatively modest.
Since all of the athletes setting these records (and the ones setting records in between the time periods I've arbitrarily selected, from 1936 to 2013) were elite and enormously talented, wouldn't you have expected at least one of them to have discovered the "flow" and done something really out of the ordinary?
Instead, what you see is slow and gradual improvement. So ask the question: Did the flow really escape Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt (100 meters); Roger Bannister and El Guerrouj, (one mile), Abebe Bikila and Wilson Kipsang (marathon)? It simply sounds like the flow is that happy circumstance when all your systems, mental and physical, are in pretty good working order. Probably all of us in reasonably good health will experience it sometimes.
As one reviewer noted, this book sounds like a pitch to garner business - for lectures, for consulting fees, for guru status.
Caveat emptor.
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