What’s On My Bedside Table: Steven Kotler
The peak performance expert and bestselling author on what he’s reading now
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The award-winning author of eight books, Steven Kotler is considered one of the world’s leading experts on human performance. His latest book, Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy Seals, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work, was published last February and has become a national bestseller. He’s also the co-founder and director of research for the Flow Genome Project, which aims to take flow state—that trance-like state of peak performance—mainstream. We asked Kotler what he keeps near him for inspiration and to help him get into his own flow state.
“The links between hydration and performance are critical, so my water bottle, a Liberty Bottleworks aluminum water bottle, goes everywhere with me. Plus, it prevents more plastic from going into the waste stream and it ends up saving me a ton of money when I travel.”
Scientific Adventure Story
“If you’re interested in the unseen connections between everything in the world, Santa Fe Institute physicist and complexity scientist Geoffrey West is one of the very smartest thinkers around. Scale is the culmination of a near lifetime’s worth of research and it’s staggering in both scope and implication.”
“The relationship between brain and behavior is one of the most interesting and underexplored mysteries around. Robert Sapolsky has been working on this problem for most of his life, both as a primatologist and as a neuroscientist. He brings it all together in Behave and he does it in his brilliant, laugh-out-loud funny style.”
“The Society of the Mind by Marvin Minsky has been on my shelf forever. It’s truly one of the most insightful looks at how the brain organizes information and how those organizational structures determine much of our reality. It’s also written in bite-sized one- to two-page articles so you can pop in, have your mind blown, and pop back out again.”
“Music is pretty important, so I tend to carry around earbuds everywhere, just because you never know. I need an earbud durable enough to survive skiing and mountain biking and lots of time being jostled in backpacks. Most can’t survive. But the House of Marley’s Smile Jamaica in-ear headphones have some secret coating on their wires and they can take a pounding and keep on going. Plus, style-wise, I like the old-school wood—it’s a nice touch.”
“I’m always freezing, so I live in my beanie. Coal’s Frena Solid Beanie is the warmest and most durable one I’ve found.”