Friday, June 28, 2019

6 Books with Steve Kotler

Photo: Ryan Hefferman

Steven Kotler is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning journalist, and Founder and Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective. His books include Stealing Fire, The Rise of Superman, West of Jesus, and A Small Furry Prayer. His work has been translated into over 40 languages and appeared in over 100 publications, including the New York Times Magazine, Wall Street Journal, TIME, Wired, Atlantic Monthly, and Forbes.

Today he shares his 6 books with us... 

1. What book are you currently reading?

I typically read three books at once. Usually a novel, nonfiction book and textbook. Right now, The Overstory by Richard Powers is the novel. The Nature of Emotion, edited by Paul Ekman is the textbook. The Developing Mind by Dan Siegel is the non-fiction book.

2. What upcoming book are you really excited about?

Agency, the next William Gibson novel.

 3. Is there a book you’re currently itching to re-read?

The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler, Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

 4. How about a book you’ve changed your mind about – either positively or negatively?

Tough question. Maybe John Sandford, especially his Virgil Flower’s novels. I started out thinking he was a thriller writer who helped make long plane flights disappear and have come to believe he’s just an awesome novelist. One of the best writers of great characters around. Then again, he’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

5. What’s one book, which you read as a child or a young adult, that has had a lasting influence on your writing?

The Lorax, The Pushcart War, The Complete Poems and Plays of of T.S. Eliot, The Complete Poems, 1904-1962 of e.e. cummings. The Lorax impacted my environmental stance, the Pushcart War impacted my fierce devotion to the underdog, both poetry collections shaped my love of language.

6. And speaking of that, what’s your latest book, and why is it awesome?

My latest book is Last Tango in Cyberspace. It’s a novel that follows a protagonist named Lion Zorn. He’s an empathy tracker or em-tracker, a new kind of human with a much deeper ability to feel empathy than most. His talent lets him track cultural trends into the future, a form of empathetic prognostication, and a useful skill to certain kind of company. But when Arctic Pharmaceuticals hires him to em-track rumors of a new and extremely potent psychedelic—with potential medical uses—he ends up enmeshed in a world of startup religions, environmental terrorists and overlapping global conspiracies. It’s a thriller about the ramifications of accelerating technology, the evolution of empathy, and the hidden costs of consciousness-expansion. And it’s awesome because, well, it’s just a ton of mind-blowing fun.