Posts Tagged 'Kotler'

Outside the Box High Performance Reads

It’s Christmas time and books are always a great gift. I’ve commented on books that I felt were good reads for anyone trying to learn more about high performance (see 5ish Good Reads and No Secrets, No Shortcuts), but this time around I want to get a bit outside of clear cut sports or clear cut psychology books. The following three books were terrific and explored high performance experiences in some interesting ways:

Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson (2005)

The story of deep sea scuba divers discovering a German U-Boat off the coast of New Jersey. In the life or death sport of wreck diving, it’s made clear how thirst for adventure, a quest to be the first to discoveries, and the thoughtfulness of preparation come together.  Diver John Chatterton’s “indisputable truth” list on page 81 can translate well to most endeavors. It begins with, “If an undertaking was easy, someone else already would have done it.” Get the book, read the rest, and read it all.

The Soul of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman (2001)

From the smothering pressure of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) master chef exam to Michael Symon’s creative kitchen of Lola (Cleveland) to Thoms Keller’s care, treatment, and precision that elevates dining to heavenly levels, this book paints clear pictures of high performance. The CIA is all about performance under pressure. Symon typifies creative excellence. Keller’s kitchen combine the two. Throughout the pages one gets a sense of the athleticism of culinary pursuits.

West of Jesus by Steven Kotler (2006)

“Surfing, science, and the origins of belief,” a sub-title that really says it all. Written with a voice that is witty, self-aggrandizing, and insightful, the pages fly by. This is well beyond a, “Dude, surfing is a spiritual experience,” book. Kotler artfully blends neuroscience and a world wide pursuit of a theological understanding of flow. Whether it is the brooding about “the weatherman” or thoughts on the brain science of dropping in on a big wave, it’s worth a read.

Enjoy them all. Give them as a gift… or get them for yourself. Happy holidays.


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