A Guide for Radically Upgrading Your Career

Over the ten years that Eric Schmidt served as Google's CEO, the company's revenues grew from about $100 million to nearly $40 billion. But he was hired as CEO only after a year-long process during which the company's two co-founders "managed to alienate fifty of the top executives in Silicon Valley," according to Sergey Brin.

So what tipped the job to Schmidt? Brin says "Eric was... the only (candidate) who went to Burning Man," which the new book Stealing Fire describes as a "teeming, temporary carnival of tens of thousands... a modern-day Eleusis, a Bacchanalian blowout, the Party at the End of Time".

Not exactly a typical CEO prerequisite, eh? But at Burning Man, Page and Brin - Google's co-founders - discovered "an altered state of consciousness that suggested a better way of working together, and a feeling that anyone who presumed to lead them simply had to know firsthand".

Fasten your seatbelts. This is just a taste of the rocket ride that is Stealing Fire, the brand new book by Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal. It doesn't just challenge conventional expectations of what it takes to excel in your career, it punches them in the face.

This is a book about non-ordinary states of consciousness (NOSC) that can be induced in four different ways: psychology, neurobiology, technology, and pharmacology.

Yep, drugs is option #4.

After reading the book, am I ready to run out and drop some LSD? Nope. But I am intrigued by the possibility that being stuck in my own calm, rational mind may not be the best strategy to fully realize my potential.

Minor example: I once attended a Max Strom workshop on breathing, and spent an hour practicing breathing techniques in a room filled with about 75 people. Near the end of the session, a powerful yellow light emanated from a person or people to the left of me. It was like a car's headlights swept over me when I was lying by the side of a dark road. Yes, that bright.

What was that? I have no idea, but it felt incredible. Wouldn't it be great to be able to summon such calm and focus when you really need it the most?

Steven is one of the most interesting people I know. To announce his book, he sent his network an email that started like this:

If you’re getting this email, there’s a pretty good chance we’ve been:

a)    Drunk together. Possibly just tipsy, though, you know, it’s a fine line.

b)   Done something dumb, probably at high speeds, together.

c)    Discussed in depth consciousness, neuroscience, technology, psychology, philosophy, religion, obscure cyberpunk, the songs of Social Distortion, old episodes of West Wing, aka: “The Information.”

d)   We could be related to each other or—and these are not mutually exclusive–we could have nearly gotten arrested in a foreign country.

e)    Something to do with dogs.

In my case, it was C and E.

Nearly every business and career book you will ever read is NOTHING like this book, and that's precisely why you should read Stealing Fire.

But then - and this is the important part - experiment a little. Don't just read the book and go back to watching TV.

(Image Courtesy: Pixabay.com)


Categories: Management

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Bruce Kasanoff

Bruce Kasanoff helps companies empower and inspire their employees. He brings relentlessly positive messages of personal empowerment, flexibility and clarity. ...

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