172 internautes sur 184 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Todd B. Kashdan
- Publié sur Amazon.com
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.
125 internautes sur 156 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
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!