Episode 58 – Steven Kotler – The Rise of Superman


STEVEN KOTLER is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning journalist, and co-founder and director of research for the Flow Genome Project.  The Flow Genome Project, is an international organization devoted to putting flow state research on a hard science. He has a BA in English/Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and an MA from the John Hopkins University in Creative Writing. His work has been translated into more than 30 languages. His articles have appeared in over 80 publications, including The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Wired, GQ, Outside, Popular Science, Discover and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes “Far Frontiers,” a blog about technology and innovation for Forbes.com and is cofounder of the Rancho de Chihuahua dog sanctuary in Northern New Mexico.

Kotler’s books and articles often deal with the intersection of science and culture, and make frequent and extended use of academic work, particularly in the areas of neuroscience, evolutionary theory, ethology,psychopharmacology and psychology. He has written a total of 4 non-fiction books Abundance, A Small Furry Prayer, West of Jesus, and The Rise of Superman, and 1 novel The Angle Quickest for Flight.

A Small Furry Prayer was a Wall Street Journal and SF Chronicle Bestseller. Angle Quickest for Flight was a SF Chronicle Bestseller and won the William L. Crawford IAFA Fantasy Award.

He also writes “Far Frontiers,” a blog about technology and innovation for Forbes and “The Playing Field,” a blog about the science of sport and culture for Psychology Today.

StevenKotler-cropFrom Psychology Today:  Technically, flow is defined as an “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.” It’s also a strange state of consciousness. In flow, concentrationbecomes so laser-focused that everything else falls away. Action and awareness merge. Our sense of self and our sense of self consciousness completely disappear. Time dilates—meaning it slows down (like the freeze frame of a car crash) or speeds up (and five hours pass by in five minutes). And throughout, all aspects of performance are incredibly heightened—and that includes creative performance.

How this all works comes down to neurobiology. Flow is the product of profound changes in standard brain function. In the state, our brainwaves move from the fast-moving beta wave of normal waking consciousness down to the far slower borderline between alpha and theta waves. Alpha is associated with day-dreaming mode—when we can slip from thought to thought without much internal resistance. Theta, meanwhile, only shows up during REM or just before we fall asleep, in that hypnogogic gap where ideas combine in truly radical ways. Since creativity is always recombinatory—the product of novel information bumping into old thoughts to create something startling new—being able to slip between thoughts quickly and combine them wildly enhances creativity at a very fundamental level.

Lastly, during flow, the brain releases an enormous cascade of neurochemistry. Large quantities of norepinephrine, dopamine, endorphins, anandamide, and serotonin flood our system. All are pleasure-inducing, performance-enhancing chemicals with considerable impacts on creativity. Both norepinephrine and dopamine amp up focus,  boosting imaginative possibilities by helping us gather more information. They also lower signal-to-noise ratios, increasing pattern recognition or our ability to link ideas together in new ways. Anandamide, meanwhile, increases lateral thinking—meaning it expands the size of the database searched by the pattern recognition system.

Abundance

riseofsuperman

click this image to purchase the book

In 2012 Kotler published Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think with Peter H. Diamandis. The book revolves around the idea that the world is getting better and in the future most people of the world will have access to clean water, food, energy, health care, education, and everything else that is necessary for a first world standard of living, thanks to technological innovation.[1] The authors argue progress in artificial intelligence, robotics, infinite computing, ubiquitous broadband networks, digital manufacturing, nanomaterials, synthetic biology, and many other growing technologies will enable the human race to make greater gains in the following two decades than in the previous two hundred years. By doing so, the authors suggest humans will have the ability to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman, and child on t
he planet.[10]


Abundance
debuted at #1 on both Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble‘s bestseller lists, and at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list.[2][13] It remained on the NYT bestseller list for nine weeks, gathering reviews and profiles from outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, TIME, BusinessWeek, Wired, Slate, and others.[14][15][16][17][18] Abundance was voted one of the “Top 5 Must Read Business Books of the Year” by Fortune Magazine.[19]

The Rise of Superman

In 2014, Kotler announced his next book, The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance. The book explores the state of consciousness known as “flow”, an optimal state in which humans perform and feel their best.[20] The book includes examples from adventure athletes including big wave surfer Laird Hamilton, skater Danny Way, and big mountain snowboarders Travis Rice and Jeremy Jones.[21] The Rise of Superman explains how extreme athletes are accelerating their flow states to perform better and how people can use the same tactics to accelerate performance in everyday tasks.

Bold

In February 2015, Kotler published Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth, and Impact the World, his second book with Peter Diamandis. The book discusses the exponential advancement of technology and teaches entrepreneurs how to thrive in such an environment by being nimble and resilient.[23] Bold debuted on the New York Times bestseller list and remained on the list for six weeks, reaching #6 overall. Since its release,Bold has been reviewed by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Financial Times, and others. It was named one of the top 25 books read by corporate America in 2015.

Tomorrowland

tomorrowland

click this image to purchase the book

In Tommorrowland Steven gathers the best of his best, updated and expanded upon, to guide readers on a mind-bending tour of the far frontier, and how these advances are radically transforming our lives. From the ways science and technology are fundamentally altering our bodies and our world (the world’s first bionic soldier, the future of evolution) to those explosive collisions between science and culture (life extension and bioweapons), we’re crossing moral and ethical lines we’ve never faced before.

As Kotler writes, “Life is tricky sport—and that’s the emotional core of this story, the real reason we can’t put Pandora back in the box. When you strip everything else away, technology is nothing more than the promise of an easier tomorrow. It’s the promise of hope. And how do you stop hope?”

 

 Find Steven here:  www.flowgenomeproject.com

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My most humble regards to Steven for being on the show   
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