If you want a detailed and practical overview of the science of optimizing your mental and physical performance, then you’re going to like this book.

It explores three primary topics–how to use stress and recovery to stimulate progress and growth, how to prime and prepare yourself for optimal performance, and how to tap into the power of purpose–and is packed full of insights and practical takeaways.

I’ve read quite a bit in this space already and so didn’t find much in Peak Performance that I hadn’t come across elsewhere, but I did enjoy it nonetheless. It’s a well-organized and well-presented review of the performance literature, and is written in a breezy, conversational style that makes for effortless reading.

I particularly liked the procedure for finding and formulating a purpose, whether for an individual project or your entire life. It emphasizes transcending yourself and identifying core values and fundamental beliefs, which I believe is spot on, because while they may be worshipped in today’s culture, self-interest and acquisitiveness are, in the end, incredibly unfulfilling and demotivating. You can only spend so much living for yourself and accumulating money and things before your soul yearns for something deeper and more meaningful. And you can only ignore this for so long before it hollows you out.

The right path, the authors argue, is in the opposite direction–the dedication of yourself to a course greater than you, and in focusing on becoming the person that you want to be as opposed to having the things that you want to have.

This isn’t news, of course–high-achievers and thinkers of all stripes have been saying it for millennia–but it will always bear repeating because sometimes you have to hear something multiple times or at the right time before you really take it to heart.

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