Book club in our engineering team – Stealing Fire


In this short post I’ll tell you:

  • how we implemented our fourth book club idea in our engineering team
  • what book we read
  • how we liked it,
  • and share a few key takeaways

You can read all about our other book clubs here:

⚠️ If you're thinking that there's no time to read the books, check this post on the math behind reading 30 books per year. If you think that this book club thing is cool, and you'd want to be a part of the group that's 'allowed' to read 'on the job', shoot me an email 👍


This time we read the Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work.

Here are the Amazon and Goodreads ratings:


  • avg(time to read) = 10 hours
  • avg(liked the book) = 6.1 / 10
  • avg(liked the book club) = 8.7 / 10

In general, we didn't quite like the book, and there was even a vote to stop and switch to another one. In the end, we persevered and thus such a high score for the book club itself.


  • We find the book interesting, but also really scary as it left us wondering what the 1% of 1% are doing to achieve the flow state
  • A good part of what we’re habitually doing online is more to forget ourselves for a moment than inform ourselves for the long haul
  • Time (and how to make the most of it) appears to be about five times more important to us than making love or money
  • These days, we’re drowning in information, but starving for motivation.
  • When a Harvard Medical School study confronted patients with lifestyle-related diseases that would kill them if they didn’t alter their behavior (type 2 diabetes, smoking, atherosclerosis, etc.), 87 percent couldn’t avoid this sentence. Turns out, we’d rather die than change.
  • Eric Schmidt became Google’s CEO because he attended Burning Man
  • We process more information when unconscious
  • Surfing can get you in the flow state
  • This book is like a commercial for drugs
  • Eight weeks of meditation training measurably sharpened focus and cognition
  • If coffee isn’t considered cheating, what makes smart drugs any different?
  • Animals seek out drugs
  • Slack prevents us from reaching (and staying in) the flow state
  • It costs $25,000 to turn an average Joe into a combat-ready U.S. Marine.
  • In 2014, EDM represented almost half of all concert sales, attracting a quarter of a million concertgoers at a time and drawing the attention of Wall Street investors and major private equity firms.
  • Eight weeks of meditation training measurably sharpened focus and cognition
  • Absolutely terrified knowing the final outcome of the Pied Piper story
  • Stimulating the front part of the lobe causes visions of God
Written by Nikola Brežnjak