Summary of The Rise of Superman

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  • Innovative


This thrill-a-minute book offers tales of impossible feats, otherworldly achievements, white-knuckle drama and agonizing tragedy. Writing in adventure-novel style, journalist and entrepreneur Steven Kotler opens a window into the world of extreme sports, where athletes surf 100-foot waves, free-fall from the stratosphere and fly through narrow canyons in flimsy wing suits. Kotler’s scientifically based examination of extreme athletic performance offers insight into achieving better performance at work. Though Kotler doesn’t always draw completely convincing parallels between extreme athletics and improved work performance, getAbstract recommends his chronicle to adventure lovers, the ambitious and anyone interested in cognitive science.

About the Author

Steven Kotler is the co-founder and director of research for the Flow Genome Project. He is a best-selling author whose other books include:West of Jesus, A Small Furry Prayer, Tomorrowland, Bold and Abundance.



Faster, Higher, Stronger

Elite athletes achieve remarkable feats in traditional sports. In 1996, for example, Kerri Strug secured Olympic gold for the US women’s gymnastics team under intense pressure in the final event of the competition. She won by performing a difficult vault ending in a perfect, “stuck” landing on an ankle she had sprained on her previous attempt.

Unlike Strug, skateboarder Danny Way is an “action-adventure sports athlete.” He became the first person to jump the Great Wall of China on a skateboard and placed second at the 2004 X games. He did both on a twice-broken ankle under conditions that make most contact sports look like games of checkers. Such extreme athletes push the envelope in action-adventure sports. Athletes who engage in “BASE jumping” and or wing-suit flying know they are risking death. People involved in these sports enter “the zone,” a mental and emotional state where time slows and a sense of serenity obscures danger.

Getting in the Zone

In the zone, you achieve a different form of consciousness. If you’ve been in a life-threatening situation, perhaps you’ve experienced this consciousness. Time slows down. The things...

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