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089 Jamie Wheal, Steven Kotler: Stealing Fire

Exploring the pursuit of altered states of consciousness to enhance performance, creativity, and well-being.

Jamie Wheal, Steven Kotler: Stealing Fire


Stealing Fire is a book that delves into the world of altered states of consciousness and the ways in which they can be used to enhance various aspects of life, from athletic performance to creativity to well-being. The authors explore various techniques and technologies used to induce these altered states, including meditation, psychedelics, and neurofeedback. They also discuss the potential risks and benefits of these practices and how they are being utilized in various fields.


Title: Stealing Fire

Author: Jamie Wheal, Steven Kotler

Publishing Year: 2017

Publisher: Dey Street Books

Length in hours: 8 hours and 24 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. Altered states of consciousness can be induced through a variety of techniques and technologies.
  2. These altered states can lead to enhanced performance, creativity, and well-being.
  3. The pursuit of altered states is not a new phenomenon and has been used by various cultures throughout history.
  4. There are potential risks and benefits associated with the use of altered states of consciousness.
  5. Altered states of consciousness are being used in various fields, including athletics, military training, and business.
Jamie Wheal, Steven Kotler: Stealing Fire

5 funny quotes

  1. "Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!"
  2. "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales."
  3. "Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. And it helps develop a sense of humor, which is awfully important in this day and age."
  4. "I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful one-hundred percent!"
  5. "You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower drives my green age."
  2. "Revolutionary insights always arise first as crimes or blasphemies against the accepted order."
  3. "We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
  4. "Our real problem, then, is not our strength today; it is rather the vital necessity of action today to ensure our strength tomorrow."
  5. "The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself."

5 dilemmas

  1. Should we embrace and explore altered states of consciousness, even if they are not fully understood or accepted by society?
  2. Can flow states be achieved through practices other than meditation and mindfulness, such as sports or music?
  3. Is the scientific method the best way to understand altered states of consciousness, or do we need to incorporate other approaches, such as shamanism or spirituality?
  4. Should psychedelic drugs be legalized and used in a clinical setting to treat mental health issues?
  5. Can altered states of consciousness be dangerous if not properly understood and monitored?

5 examples

  1. Tim Ferriss, a self-help author and podcaster who has explored various ways to enhance his own performance and well-being.
  2. Rick Doblin, the founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which advocates for the medical and therapeutic use of psychedelics.
  3. Joe Rogan, a comedian and podcast host who has discussed altered states of consciousness with various guests on his show.
  4. Stephen Kotler, one of the authors of Stealing Fire, who has written extensively on flow states and the intersection of science and spirituality.
  5. Jim Clark, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who has explored various ways to enhance creativity and productivity in his companies.

Referenced books

  1. "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  2. "The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World" by Iain McGilchrist
  3. "The Doors of Perception" by Aldous Huxley
  4. "The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom" by Jonathan Haidt
  5. "The Way of the Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire" by David Deida

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"Revolutionary insights always arise first as crimes or blasphemies against the accepted order."

Jamie Wheal, Steven Kotler: Stealing Fire
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