It’s more “history of extreme sports” but I’m ok with that.

“The fight-or-flight response—a.k.a. the adrenaline rush—cocktails adrenaline, cortisol (the stress hormone), and norepinephrine. It’s an extreme stress response. The brain switches to reactive survival autopilot. Options are limited to three: fight, flee, or freeze. Flow is the opposite: a creative problem-solving state, options wide open.”

“Studies have found that in professions with less direct feedback loops—stock analysis, psychiatry, and medicine—even the best get worse over time. Surgeons, by contrast, are the only class of physician that improve the longer they’re out of medical school. Why? Mess up on the table and someone dies. That’s immediate feedback.”

“I hope you talk a little about how utterly fucked we can become when we get too old or broken or smart to keep it up. Not all of us experience a happy life after doing this shit for a couple of decades. I bet there are some PTSD similarities. It’s funny, I read Sebastian Jungers’s War and I learned something: The guys coming home are all screwed up, not because they saw people die as much as they missed the rush. I would never put myself in the same category as those fighting men, but it can be hard to get excited again. Ever. And that feeling sucks.”

Cover image for The Rise of Superman