“I’m going to be one of the first in line for this book.” Dave Epstein, Author of The Sports Gene, talking about Peak Performance.
I’m thrilled to officially announce my next big book project with my phenomenal co-author Brad Stulberg: Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success
Its official release date is June 6, 2017.
Before diving into what this book is about, I want to relay how this project came about. After getting over the book writing hangover–where I never wanted to write another 500 words, let alone a book– with my first book, The Science of Running, I began to notice patterns in the research and books I was reading and the people I was talking to. A few constant themes kept popping up, regardless of the domain or reading. I was astonished at how these few key concepts showed up whether I was reading about running or marketing or business. The ideas began to take hold.
One day, out of the blue, came an e-mail from a new friend, Brad Stulberg, that said “Hey, I’m thinking about writing a book on the following topics. What do you think?” As I scanned through the topics, it was if someone was reading my mind. They were the exact same concepts that I was thinking about at the time. I wrote Brad back, attaching 40+ pages of notes I’d collected and a partnership was born.
Over the past two years, Brad and I have taken the ideas that were percolating in both our heads and performed a deep dive, with one question in mind: What makes great?
Not just great runners or great athletes, but great artists, entrepreneurs, chefs, musicians, and every other endeavor. We couldn’t help but notice the commonalities between performers in each field, and more importantly, how much we could learn from crossing domains and applying the lessons back in our own.
That’s what this book is all about. Taking lessons from diverse fields and bringing them back to your own so that you can simply become better at what it is you do.
We scoured the latest science, talked to some of the best runners, sculptors, musicians, venture capitalist, researchers, and just all around “doers” on the planet. We came away with several key messages that resonate across all fields. Below, you will find a preview of the book to give you a brief tease of what it is all about.
As loyal readers of my blog, we are looking for those who have a blog, podcast, social media presence, or are interested in hosting an event. No matter how big or small, we will try to do our best to provide content or interviews surrounding the book. If you have any interest, we’d greatly appreciate the help. Projects like these are what allow me to give away so much free content on this blog. Please fill out the form below (or click here to open in a seperate tab) and we will be in touch.
For those who are simply fans, stay tuned, as we are going to have some really cool offers and exclusive content surrounding the book as we get closer to launch. The best way to stay up to date is by joining our Newsletter here.
What’s the Book About?
Mastering the art and science of performance requires breaking down walls that separate traditionally disparate domains. It is through these often overlooked connections that powerful performance insights and untapped possibilities emerge. Peak Performance uncovers what artists can learn from athletes, what intellectuals can learn from artists, and what athletes can learn from intellectuals.
Peak Performance shows you how strengthening your ability to solve complex cognitive problems is similar to strengthening your ability to lift weights – that the world’s best thinkers and the world’s best power lifters follow the same process to elicit growth. It investigates the influence of routine and environment, and explains how and why the pre-game warmups of all-star athletes, artists, and public speakers are so alike and so effective. It even discusses fashion, and through science, explains why the geniuses of yesterday, like Albert Einstein, and the geniuses of today, like Mark Zuckerberg, don’t care much about it. Peak Performance explores why after they achieve breakthroughs – be it painting a masterpiece, penning an award-winning novel, or setting a world record in sport – so many great performers often thank and attribute their success to forces beyond themselves: be it their family, their religion, or some other transcendent power.
By merging cutting-edge science with captivating real-life stories, Peak Performance reveals the key practices that drive great performance and teaches you how you can apply them in your own life. These practices include:
Alternating between periods of intense work and rest. The process of progress in any endeavor is optimized when a stressor challenges the body or mind and is then followed by adequate recovery. This pattern of effort yields physical, cognitive, and emotional breakthroughs. The hard part is striking the right balance. But when we hit the sweet spot, this ebb-and-flow is far superior to more common approaches to work in which we get stuck either in an “in-between” zone of moderate intensity (leading to under-performance) or working non-stop at the utmost intensity (leading to fatigue and burnout).
Developing and harnessing purpose. Science now confirms what has been discussed anecdotally for decades: Having a higher calling promotes personal breakthroughs. New research shows that when we focus on something beyond ourselves, activity lessens in the part of the brain associated with the ego. When the ego is minimized, so, too, are constraining emotions like fear and worry. No longer in a guarded state trying to protect our literal “self” from failure, we are more likely to take constructive risks and venture beyond our perceived limits. In a paradoxical twist, thinking less about ourselves is one of the best ways to improve ourselves.
Priming the body and mind for enhanced productivity. It’s no coincidence that the best athletes perform the same rituals before every competition, or that the best thinkers and artists often work in the same settings, with the same beverage, and at the same time of day. A growing body of research suggests that, far beyond simple superstitions, these routines have a profound impact on the internal workings of the body and brain, “priming” us for our personal best.
Taken together, Peak Performance is an entertaining and actionable guide to optimizing your own performance. Above all, this book shows you how to get the most out of yourself. In explaining the science of great performance and sharing the stories of great performers across a wide range of capabilities, Peak Performance uncovers the secrets of success and coaches you on how to use them. If you want to take your game to the next level, whatever “your game” may be, this book will teach you how.
What People Are Saying About The Book:
“Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness are one-percenters when it comes to skill in translating high-performance science for the public. It’s long past time for someone to distil principles of high-performance – in all disciplines, as diverse as running and painting – and present a coherent picture to everyone who wants to be better at absolutely whatever it is they do. I’m going to be one of the first in line for this book.”
David Epstein, New York Times bestselling author of The Sports Gene
“Specialization is a hallmark of the modern economy, but it can blind us to insights from fields outside of our own. It’s about time a book was written that looks across disciplines, domains, and capabilities to uncover powerful pearls of wisdom applicable across all walks of life. Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness are a strong team to uncover the principles of Peak Performance—they’re immersed in the science of success, and they draw upon their own experiences working with the best.”
“Brad Stulberg is one of the most gifted science writers of our times, a master at translating fascinating findings into concrete strategies. Peak Performance provides actionable insights from the cutting-edge research on how people excel. This book will be a must-read for anyone who wants to up their game, transcend their boundaries, and get out of their comfort zone.”
“What do top performers actually do to make themselves great? Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness are here with some powerful answers. From rethinking stress to transcending your “self,” the ideas in Peak Performance will help you become better than you ever imagined.”
Daniel H. Pink, New York Times bestselling author of Drive
“So much in this book resonates with me. With practical advice for performance in the workplace or on the playing field, Brad and Steve meticulously deliver a comprehensive understanding of peak performance and how to achieve it.”
Dick Costolo, CEO of Chorus, formerly CEO of Twitter
“What do great artists, champion athletes, and brilliant researchers have in common? More than you’d expect, as Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness reveal in this magnificent silo-breaking synthesis of the hidden patterns that enable great performance across disciplines.”
Alex Hutchinson, Runner’s World “Sweat Science” columnist and bestselling author of What Comes First: Cardio of Weights?
“Full of information and inspiration, Peak Performance is a must-read for anyone dedicated to self-optimization. I will be reading and re-reading this book for years to come.”
Matt Billingslea, Drummer for Taylor Swift’s Band
“There’s some serious sacred-cow toppling here. Among the received wisdom laid to rest: ‘Moderation in all things,’ ‘It’s all about me,’ and ‘The muse comes when she comes.’ This book just might make you a better performer, and a better person.”
Bruce Grierson, bestselling author of What Makes Olga Run?
“Brad and Steve uncover secrets of the world’s best performers to help us all become more effective in our own pursuits. Peak Performance is a must read for everyone: from athletes to artists, and certainly entrepreneurs. Basically, this book is for anyone looking to take their skills to the next level.”
Dr. Bob Kocher, Partner at Venrock Capital, Consulting Professor at Stanford School of Medicine, Formerly Special Assistant to the President of the United States on Health Care